I just had to write that title, what with Zuri rhyming with Sury!
Last week, when I least expected to take a break, Goa beckoned. Harish of BlogAdda messaged me to ask what I was doing on the 26th and 27th July and I, being my skeptical self, asked him “why?” He said a big surprise awaited and promised to send more details soon.
And he did. He informed me that I would be one of 50 privileged bloggers from across India to be invited to an exclusive event sponsored by Tata Motors in Goa to experience their dynamic and beautiful new car, the Tata Zest. I told my folks and was enthusiastically encouraged to go Zest Up My Life. Yes.
And I did.
The excitement built up. Shailaja and I coordinated, planned and anticipated our trip. As the day drew near, we got our tickets. We were slightly weirded out by the roundabout route – but you know what they say – everything happens for a reason – and this time was no different. It meant we all got more time to spend together and we absolutely enjoyed it!
The opportunity to meet fellow bloggers we interacted with and admired online was something I keenly looked forward to.
What a weekend it was!
But let me begin at the beginning.
The BlogAdda – Tata Motors – Zuri Goa Experience
Saturday, July 26, 2014 dawned bright and clear. Shailaja booked a cab and picked me up from my place en route to the Bangalore airport.
We reached early and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the cafe. An hour later, we decided to have coffee and settled down to wait for our boarding call when Nandita and Neha joined us, followed by the rest of the Bangalore invitees headed to Goa via Chennai. Lots of laughter, joking, introductions and fun in random order ensued when we spotted celebrity Kalki Koechlin. Oh yes, we got a pic with her.
We got our flight to Chennai and from there, to Goa. We arrived smiling.
Yes, we were all set to rock!
We were whisked off to the five-star resort in a cool a/c coach and were received at The Zuri White Sands, Goa by the hospitable Tata Motors Team and BlogAdda folks.
After all these years of interaction, it was great to meet BlogAdda’s Harish and Ankita! A warm reception indeed!
We were then directed to the registration counter to log in our presence and got our “kits” with a tshirt to wear during the Tata Zest test drive, name tag, personalized badge and the agenda and instructions for our trip. We were looking forward to it!
Shailaja and I were sharing a room and we checked in so we could go have lunch. It was a lovely room. Our beds had a BlogAdda bag with another tshirt, this time white and a sticker proclaiming we were “Top Bloggers”. Yes, we liked it!
Room had tea and coffee of course! Bliss!
Now I won’t talk about lunch in detail, but suffice it to say that every meal we had at Zuri White Sands was a complete treat! The variety of dishes was mind-boggling, as was the range of desserts. Superlative in choice and taste and believe me when I say that every meal was just great. The staff was courteous and attentive and the ambiance, gorgeous. During lunch, we met some of our fellow-bloggers.
Post lunch, we returned to our rooms and freshened up and changed for the evening. The evening session began with networking and high tea followed by the masterclass by the Tata Motors Team where they briefed us about the Tata Zest car we were going to experience the next day. Can you see the social media themed cakes in the picture below? Preethi and Anand of BlogAdda were circulating amongst us and got some sound bytes from some of the bloggers there, including me.
The masterclass was very interesting with all of us taking notes and getting to watch some very well-done video snippets. India’s speedguru Narain Karthikeyan was there to talk about the car, too. What I loved about the presentation from Tata Motors was the engineer-involvement. They had the people who had passionately worked on the Tata Zest present to interact with us. Very nice touch indeed!
Ms.Malini was our host for the entire event and did a great job of it.
After the masterclass, as appetizers did the rounds, it was time to interact with the “makers” of the Tata Zest. Eventually, we moved to the dining area to enjoy yet another sumptuous meal and lots of conversations.
As we wound up for the day, we were instructed to have our breakfast by 7.45 am and return for the briefing session before we took the Tata Zest for a drive. Now, I do not have a driving license but I know a thing or two about cars and was very much looking forward to it. Here is my review of the Tata Zest here.
We awoke at 5.30 and got ready for the day, donning our Tata Zest Tshirts. There’s something about everyone teaming up together that’s so much fun. The anticipation in the air, the positive vibes and the laughter are so infectious! I did get a few moments to step out after breakfast to see the waterfall and play with the kittens in the yard and a pleasant time with Seema Rao. I am looking forward to seeing her photos – she’s an ace photographer!
We regrouped at the conference hall where we were assigned into teams to take off on our drive.
I could have walked the entire route! It was so beautiful and the weather gods had conspired to give us a fabulous day, too! Oh yes, there were contests to win…but it was the whole experience that captured our hearts. My team and I set off first with the diesel version of the Tata Zest, then the petrol version. Both ways, we simply enjoyed the drive, the scenic beauty and yes, wished we lived in one of the quaint houses we saw along our route.
Happy, yet sad the day would soon come to an end, we returned to the conference room to write our blog posts – live. We did.
Then it was time for a quick lunch and our departure from Zuri White Sands.
I couldn’t resist the coffee flavored dessert after I finished lunch. Sigh. Oh yes, I’ll walk more to atone for my indulgence!
After lunch, we bid goodbye to our friends and took the shuttle back to the airport, where we checked in and soon, were en route to our homes.
What I loved best about my trip was this:
- Face to face time, warm hugs and laughter with bloggers I am friends with
- A lovely unexpected break, that too in Goa – with the works – fiver-star treatment
- A fabulous experience – attending a blogger event. Bloggers are powerful people!
- The arrangements were perfect and thoughtful
- The people behind the event – BlogAdda – what a responsive and efficient team!
- The promise of new friendships – it is what makes life worth living
- My resolution to enroll for driving classes- that’s a big positive
- The honor of being one of a chosen few
- My growing network of wonderful people
- The love in the air – there was such a positive atmosphere, all thanks to the teams that organized it
When I got home, my folks were eagerly waiting to hear about my trip and I spent the better part of two hours regaling them with the details. I was pleasantly surprised to see dinner was ready to be served.
I am grateful for the love of my peers and my family.
Tonight, I sleep with happy memories of my trip.
Tomorrow – is a promising day!
And? Life is good!
Do check out my Facebook timeline for lots of pictures.
Hats off to the BlogAdda team for their warmth, patience, affection and the efficiency with which they orchestrated our experience.
Special thanks to Harish Krishnan, Ankita V and the rest of the amazing BlogAdda Team and the team from Tata Motors for an unforgettable weekend in Goa.
My gratitude goes out to you, my dear readers, for your support. You are, therefore I am!
Signing off in happiness,
Vidya Sury from Zuri Resorts, Goa courtesy BlogAdda.