Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Client Visit - Nothing routine about this one!

It was a client visit. It was also a one in a million kind of experience... something that is not likely to happen to the same person twice. It was also murphy at his glorious best. So, without much further ado, I am going to launch into a chronological description of what turned out to be an extremely eventful site visit.

The place: the Bandra-Worli Sea Link - one of mumbai's largest infrastructure projects and something that many thousands of mumbaikars are looking forward to.

It began like any other client visit - with a drive from office... not to Nariman Point (which is usually the end point of many a client visit) but to the Bandra Reclamation area. Across the bay is being built the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The builders, HCC, generously consented to having a whole lot of us from the agency over and showing us the sea link (which is nearing completion). Reaching the Bandra end of the construction site, we headed straight to the exhibition center, where after much tom foolery on our part, we were taken through the entire construction process as well as a corporate film (to help "understand" the brand better) . We then headed for the part that most of us had toodled along to the site for in the first place - the ride to the actual sea link and if possible a climb to the top of the tower of the cable stayed portion of the bridge.

Well we got to the bridge alright. And here began the awesome part. The view from the sea link is just amazing - the sea stretches out to the horizon on one side and on the other side, across the bay is the coastline of Mumbai with its fishing villages nestling between posh, high-rise buildings. The view got even better as five of us got into a lift and began the slow, 100 meter journey up to the towers from which 600 meters of the 4.7 km long sea link is suspended.

As we rose up, we saw more and more of Mumbai... all the way up to Malabar Hills on the southern side and the Andheri coastline on the northern side. We then alighted on the walkway between the two towers that hold the bridge up. If the view from the sealink was amazing, this was simply breathtaking. Looking down, the waves made it seem as though the bridge was swinging gently on its 140 taut steel cables. Our excitement reached its peak when we realised that helicopters and aircrafts were flying beneath us and not above us!

And then Murphy struck!!! Having dropped us off at the walkway, the lift was on its way back down to bring up the rest of our colleagues so that we could have an inspiring brainstorming session right up there on the top. However, the lift obviously had other ideas as it chose its descent as the appropriate time to get stuck, robbing those standing below of the amazing view from the top and leaving us on top with a mind blowing view but not much else.

Many frantic calls later, we decided to make our way down a construction stairway with only fishing nets and ricketty railings to aid our 100 meter descent. Suffice to say that we reached the bridge again. Suffice also to say that this was product testing and brand experience at its very best - terms that have come to mean our living for those of us who work in an ad agency.

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