Last weekend, I got an opportunity to participate alongwith my family in the Mumbai -Alibaug drive
, organised by Škoda India
as a Women's Special Edition of FansOfŠkoda
Accordingly, I've posted my story on Social media & would like to post this Special revised version of it here for fellow BHPians. • The FansOfŠkoda Badge-
It's been a year that ŠkodaAutoIndia
had organised the DriveWithSLAVIA
event for our FansOfŠkoda
group. The memories of the grand World Premiere of the all new ŠkodaSlavia
& the drive in the picturesque terrain of South Goa are still fresh in our minds.
has gained a quite comprehensive ground in Indian car market with the introduction of Slavia & Kushaq, also with substantial increase in the number of touch points across India.
Here, one should not ever forget all the positive efforts taken by Zac Hollis
, Ex-Brand Director, ŠkodaIndia
to transform the brand image with the revised customer-centric approach before his reallocation to Škoda Head Office at Prague. • FansOfŠkoda members with Zac Hollis ahead of his flight-
Our interaction with Zac Hollis
in Goa & later at his Mumbai residence just before his departure would always be remembered by us. Interestingly Zac also shared the above pic on his FB page later in appreciation of Indian customers. Great !
In fact, I personally was looking for an opportunity to relive the fond memories of the DriveWithSLAVIA
event with fellow members of FansOfŠkoda
group and also to meet Petr Šolc
, new Brand Director, ŠkodaIndia
And then the long awaited opportunity came our way unexpectedly. • FansOfŠkoda event- Women's Special Edition, Mumbai
So one fine morning, I received a call from TeamŠkoda
inviting us for the Women's Special Edition of FansOfŠkoda
event at Mumbai. • Itinerary of the Drive event-
When I got to know about the itinerary of the entire event, to be frank, I was thrilled to see the Mumbai-Alibaug Drive part as it was to cover the roads where I learnt my 'ABC' of Driving skills in late nineties, during my practice in & around Panvel.
So nostalgic feeling it was!!
Actually, the invitation was meant only for the couples but with the due permission from organizers, I got my niece also included as a stand by driver for me.
Fellow BHPian sawnilrules
who owns an Octavia Style TSI, was also among the participants, called me and asked me to get my Škoda Octavia
for this Drive event over my 4x4 Škoda Yeti. In fact, being a part of the previous chapter of FansOfŠkoda
event at Goa, we already know each other. So, considering the DSG box in my Octavia would be a boon while dealing with the heavy traffic in Mumbai, I decided to follow his advice and indeed, that helped me a lot throughout the entire journey of 900 kms back home. • Finally Octavia overtook Yeti for the Drive-
According to the program schedule, we were supposed to check-in at Courtyard By Marriott
, Andheri at 16.00 hrs on 18th March, the venue for the event. Ever since we left our residence for the 370 kms journey in my Škoda Octavia 1.8 TSI, L & K, it was just 'tap & GO' for us till Panvel on NH4, but then onwards with the 'STOP & go' kinda Mumbai traffic it took 2 hrs for the last 40 kms and we somehow managed to check-in by 17.00 hrs to join the tribe. • Lobby area of Courtyard by Marriott-
Needless to mention, the ambience & hospitality at Marriott was unmatched & so was the event, professionally managed by TeamŠkoda
, carefully & cordially as well !
I'm sure, interaction with some old friends and introduction to newbies, never let you feel out of place at any such event.. • Stage ready at 'Pearl' Banquet hall-
No wonder, the evening was full of excitement, fun activities and asking for involvement of all the delegates irrespective of the age groups they belong to, with a Magic show followed by Music, Dance & Dinner !!
I would rather say, it was nothing less than a family get together comprising of 'mini' India out there !! • Sandeep, Head ŠkodaMediaPR introducing the TEAM behind the event-
As per schedule, the flag-off for Alibaug Drive was planned early in the morning, preceded by check-out & breakfast at Coffee shop. And I guess, this Sunday morning could have been an exceptional one for many, to be ready on dot so early.. • Porch at Marriott getting ready for Flag-Off- • The Convoy being Flagged Off-
Our convoy of about 20 Škodas consisted mostly of Kushaqs, a Rapid, 2 Octavias & few Slavias with few support vehicles and an ambulance as well for the drive. • BHPian sawnilrules with his Octavia-
Finally, we left the Lobby of Marriott by 07.15 hrs to get merged in a disciplined manner into the already sparse traffic of Sunday morning. • Let's Go-
It was a slow and steady but eventless drive upto Panvel. And then we took right turn on to the Mumbai-Goa highway for Alibaug where we could be able to shift gears for some spirited drive.
The first & only pitstop was planned at the Highway King Restaurant
, near Karnala at 58 kms en-route of the entire 102 kms drive. • Fleet basking in the morning sunshine- • Women Power with the Fleet cars- • Centre place for the Octavias-
The shiny morning tempted fellow participants for clicking some random pics and obviously the ŠkodaMediaTeam
as well utilised the break for proper photo shoot with their professional gears and drones. • Random photo shoot in progress-
During that an hr break, I could meet & interact with a fellow BHPian from Pune, drive.click
. Thanks to the Black & Red TeamBHP
sticker strikingly noticeable on the rear of my RaceBlue Octavia ! • Click with New buddies-
The convoy then headed towards the final destination of the drive- Radisson Blu Resort and Spa
Alibaug, staying on the highway itself upto Vadkhal naaka
Then on the last 22 kms of countryside 2 lane road including a short ghat section, we were again forced to follow some sedate drive. • At the Entrance of Radisson Blu Resort-
As we entered the open parking lot of Radisson Blu, it was quite hot outside with the Sun shining brightly. • Octavia in the Open Parking area- • Way towards lobby at Radisson Blu-
And soon as we were about to settle in the banquet hall for the interactive session with Petr Šolc
, Brand Director, ŠkodaIndia
, we saw him entering the hall. He is almost 6.5' tall person, full of energy & enthusiasm !
Just few hand-shakes then and the entire gathering came alive. As the saying goes, well beginning is half done. • Interaction with Petr Šolc, Brand Director, ŠkodaIndia-
Then without no more formalities, he just introduced himself to the audience & commenced the interaction session greeting all members for their participating. Meanwhile a 10 minutes task asking to 'Draw your Dream Car' was given to all the participants. I personally tried my drawing skills to portray a Škoda Yeti particularly with the simple logic that Yeti's unique split headlight could be identified easily & further I know, Yeti is quite popular among the Russians. • My raw attempt to 'Draw'-
No wonder, Petr identified my attempt spot on as the Škoda Yeti
He then asked everyone to display their entries to him so as to assess the 'Winner'. • Petr appreciating the young participants -
He personally went on observing all the sketches showing keen interest, also further encouraging the kids especially with his warm remarks and then finally declared the result..
With a brief pause, he exclaimed, "My winner of this activity is not any one person, but you ALL. You all are my winners !"
So humble & simply outstanding gesture!!
That's how a true leader has to behave, winning hearts of all, showing eagerness to encourage the team to deliver the best results..
It was something unexpected to all but well appreciated by the audience with a big shoutout. Then complementary gifts were distributed to all the attendees at the hands of Petr. • Thanks Petr for the Gifts-
Next part was to get the group photo clicked and accordingly all of us were asked to gather onto the lawns of Radisson Blu Resort. • FansOfŠkoda and TeamŠkodaIndia families together-
After the photo shoot, it was lunch time and everyone was invited to relish the variety of sumptuous multi-cuisine food to be followed by delicious deserts tempting our taste buds to get fully satisfied. Sorry guys for not clicking any pics at the buffet as we were already running behind the time.
The clock which was ticking all the way along never bothered us anytime before but then it was time to catch the M2M RO-RO ferry
back to Mumbai. So we had to pack up finally for the return journey and had to make hurry to the RO-PaxTerminal
, Mandwa jetty. • It's Boarding time finally onto the Ferry-
Special arrangement for our convoy was already made at the terminal, felicitating an easy boarding access for us on to the ferry. The parking lot out there on board easily gulped all our cars and also giving way to many other commuters. • Spot my Octavia in the right corner-
It was nice seeing the on board seating options for passengers are named after the Skoda cars namely,
• Skoda Octavia Deck
• Skoda Superb Lounge
• Skoda Kushaq Zone
All the above 3 options offer some unique, marvellous experience to the passengers during the ferry ride. Variety of Food, beverages are served to passengers as per their requirement.
For our FansOfŠkoda
group members, seats were reserved in the AC Škoda Kushaq Zone
where Mr.Petr Šolc was busy meeting our delegates in person, energetically and enthusiastically. • Interaction with Petr in Škoda Kushaq Zone-
Through out the journey, he was seen leniently replying all the queries thrown at him on various topics. His involvement in all the discussions and also in listening everyone carefully was just commendable !! • With Petr during ferry ride-
Whereat on the open deck area out, the ŠkodaMediaTeam
was busy interviewing the family members of our group during the journey. It was an amazing experience for many to face the camera, sharing thoughts with the team while the other passengers keep following your activities. The results of the shooting of the entire event are still awaited and it would be interesting to watch the compilation to relive the memories.
By the time, the ferry made its way up to the shore of Mazgaon dockyard. Finally, it was time to depart, everyone with heavy hearts and lots of unforgettable memories had to get into their Škodas, bidding adieu after the "Simply Awesome' Women Special Edition of the FansOfŠkoda
Thanks a ton, TeamŠkodaIndia
for your great hospitality and the well organised Special event dedicated to Women Power and making it a huge success. • The Organizers- TeamŠkodaIndia- Bid adieu Folks, till the next time !!
As a latest update, Petr has shared a post on LinkedIn and Twitter regarding the successful organisation of the event. And to our surprise, one of his photos with my family and me is showcased alongwith that post.
That's something awesome !!
Please find the relevant post shared by Petr Šolc here
Members of FansOfŠkoda