In the past few days, I have received hundreds of messages seeking thousands of passes for one of Asia’s biggest motor show, the Auto Expo 2016. Being a biennial event, the excitement and hype associated with the show naturally remains high. And when people get high, they steer out of track.
This year, I got the chance to experience the show from the other side. I attended two media preview days of the Auto Expo, and observed a few nuances that I might have otherwise missed/ignored. The expo is an international platform where almost all the big global automobile manufacturer display their new launches, tease concept models and reveal their plans for the year ahead.
After all the launches, there’s usually a small press interaction, and then there’s a dedicated counter which distributes ‘media-kit’ to the attendees. There are always enough of them to fit the need, but not the greed.
From the very first launch, I observed a few people who were seen only at those counters. They weren’t interested in the launch. They gave a damn about the press interaction. They flashed their ‘Media’ cards and placed themselves right in front of the distribution counters, and their numbers often swelled from a few people to a full-fledged mob. They justified their ‘right’ to have those kits, and possess them first, lest the kits run out.
So what’s inside those kits?
A goodie-bag roughly has pen drives, key-chains, organizer, pen, badges, press release (with information about the launches), brochures. Goodie bags from luxury automobile manufacturers often have gifts running into a few thousands. So that’s the deal.
But the gang of ‘freedom fighters’ don’t stop there. After carefully fishing out all the ‘valuables’, the brochure, the paper-bags, and the press releases are dumped – sometimes right on their counters.
To their credit, the mob of free hoarders earn this. They fight, struggle, overstep and go overboard, shout/scream/abuse to reach the coveted bag. The hoarders almost brought down a section of Suzuki Motorcycle’s stall, broke through the security cover at the Jaguar stall, pushed and shoved at the Tata Motor’s stall and a similar story everywhere.
I overheard the crew of an international luxury car-maker saying, “We’ve been to motor shows across the world, but nowhere is it as bad as it’s here in India”. I felt a strong pinch in my heart. I felt embarrassed.
This post is to say sorry, on behalf of all those ‘media-persons’ who raided your stalls, and made the experience lesser than what it should’ve been. And fellow members of the press, as an organizer shouted at one such crowd, ‘You’re educated, so-called learned members of the society, please act like that. Kindly behave’ And I would just like to say those three beautiful words for you – stop being shit.