It is not everyday that I get a Facebook message inviting me to Goa. But that day was different. I was chatting with my colleagues over tea break and we were contemplating on a team outing. I was suggesting Goa, as I have not been there before and it was as though Harish was standing behind the curtains and listening to our conversation. He pinged me on Facebook and asked me if I was ready for the Goa Ride, which we had chatted about a few weeks ago. Well, though I was excited, it was not that simple a decision for me. I asked him to hang on and called up my parents and asked them if they can come over and take care of my kids while am at Goa. The minute they agreed, I asked Harish to include me in the plan. So the plan was set and I was more than excited to go to Goa.
The event at Goa was all about Renault (pronounced Renau) Lodgy, the newly launched MPV. I started following the hashtag of the event and I found a few other guys who were also about to be part of the #LiveLodgycal drive. Before I could reach home that day, my tickets were sent. Also I was teamed up with 3 other bloggers. We named our team, The Light Riders. Vamsi a.k.a. Tiger is a popular blogger, Neha Mathur and Hina Gujral are food bloggers and I am a tech blogger. We all had photography as our common interest and hence we named our team as the Light Riders. Soon a whatsapp group was formed with all bloggers from Bangalore and this group spread to accommodate bloggers from other parts of the country as well. There were totally 40 bloggers who were invited for the drive and they were divided intp 10 teams.
On Friday, I started from the Bangalore airport where I met up with the Bangalore bloggers gang and we all headed to Goa. At Goa we were welcomed by Leela Palace Hotel staff, who arranged for a luxury bus to pick us up from the Airport. It was starting to rain and as the rainfall picked up pace as we neared the Leela, at Cavelossim. But as we entered the hotel, the skies cleared and there was a welcome party waiting for us. We checked in the hotel and were offered high tea. The rooms were very spacious and luxurious. We relaxed a bit and then started to explore the property. The Leela was spread across 75 acres of land and it had a private beach adjoining the property. There were over 220 room and 800 staff, which makes it approximately 4 staff per room.
At around 7 PM, we assembled together and we were to be briefed about the #LiveLodgycal drive. Our emcee for the evening was Archana Pania and I must say she was very entertaining and engaging. The team from Renault India gave us a brief introduction to the Renault Lodgy and explained the various highlights of the country’s first MPV. After dinner we retired to our rooms with thoughts running high and excited about the next day’s events. All through the event, Blogadda had one or the other activity lined up for us and kept us informed via whatsapp or twitter. The following day we were asked to click the sunrise picture and tweet it. But the rain Gods were not in a mood. It poured cats and dogs and yet I was determined to venture near the beach. It was early in the morning and the weather men informed that the sun would rise at 6 AM. Till about 6:30, I could see nothing but darkness and there was no signs of the rains retreating.
I braved the rain and picked up an umbrella and started walking towards the beach. Though I had a rain cheater on, I managed to get wet thoroughly. The rain was pouring from all directions due the gusty winds. Finally I managed to click and tweet a few pictures of the beautiful Leela hotel while the Sun was struggling to get a peep at it through the dark and thick rain clouds. After a sumptuous breakfast, we were all set for the main event, The #LiveLodgycal drive. 10 Renault Lodgy was lined up and were waiting for 40 smart bloggers from all over the country, ready to test it and talk about it to the world. After a quick briefing about the route, rules and guidelines, the event was flagged off.
I must say, I was really impressed with the Renault Lodgy. It is a Multi purpose vehicle (MPV). It is wedged in a spot between a sedan and a SUV. It has a wonderfully crafted monoqoque body and skilfully crafted exterior. The first thing I noticed about the Lodgy is the ample usage of chrome on its exteriors. That gave the Lodgy the premium and stylish feel. The rear end looked a little boxy, but that is to give ample space for the 3rd row. The Renault Lodgy comes in 7 and 8 seater variant and it is a family carier. So safety and comfort is really important and Lodgy claims to have taken care of it. The interiors were not luxurious and at the same time it didn’t feel vanila like in the Toyoto Innova. Here is my complete analysis of the Renault Lodgy.
I have never driven anything beyond a sedan before and the moment I started driving the Renault Lodgy, I didn’t feel different. It had a car like feel to it. The pick up was good and acceleration and control was not a problem in all the windy twisty road I drove it. All along the route there were interesting activities set up. We were to click pictures of fish, mangoes, pink umbrella and much more. All I can say is that we had tremendous fun. Our team, the Light Riders were completely pumped up with energy and enthusiasm. Humor was not a scarcity that day and we were a laughter riot. We had many pit stops along the way, for photoshoots and video shoots. The trail ended at another luxury hotel in Goa, the Lalit. As we were having fun at the beach in Lalit, the clouds opened up and we rushed into the hotel. After lunch, Blogadda and Renault had arranged for video bytes, where they had quick interviews with each and every blogger, getting their opinion on the #LiveLodgycal drive and the Renault Lodgy.
The day was long and physically tiresome. But the weather and the company, I had at the #LiveLodgycal drive kept me mentally fresh even at the end of the day. My camera shutter was continuously engaged and I had one the best blogger meetups ever. After dawn, the party started in a typical Goan way. A bunch of bloggers were on the dias, sharing their experience with us, but all eyes were on the bar. Finally when the bar was officially open, we had one of Goa’s best live bands to entertain us. The dance was was set on fire by the bloggers and the fire was burning brightly all through the night.
Sunday morning, we were determined to venture into the beach, no matter how the weather was. It was not raining heavily, but the wind was rough. Santhosh, Prasanth, Vamsi and myself planned to have fun at the beach and we shot a funny short movie called the Beach buggies. I must say that, this is one of the most funniest videos I have ever been in. The video went viral and everytime I watched it, I split my sides with laughter. Our flight back home was delayed by a few hours, but I was just happy about it as my company with the gang got a bonus extention.
I landed in Bangalore, collected my baggage and started home in a cab. All through the ride, the events from the past two days kept playing in my mind and occasionally I was smiling to myself. The cab driver would have thought of me as a crazy guy, but I must say that the crazy fun I had in Goa at the #LiveLodgycal drive was thoroughly refreshing. I must thank Blogadda and Renault for giving me the opportunity and introducing me to over 40 new friends.
The event was a total success and all credits goes to the Blogadda team. Believe me when I say, it is very difficult to manage a bunch of bloggers. It is like having a bus filled with hungry kids and angry aunties. They managed to keep their professional courteousness all the while and also making sure that we were having fun. Right from travel arrangement to every little detail of the #LiveLodgycal drive, the Blogadda team were in control. They kept the bloggers engaged at all times. It was like playing musical chair, but on twitter and other social media for us, while participating in the event. Three cheers to Team Blogadda!