Tuesday, February 3, 2009


As the Raven flies…

You bet! You read the heading right. Raven is the name of helicopter flown by Captain Mody, around Mumbai with the winners of Hindustan Times’s,‘India’s Super60’-contest.

January 26, being Monday-holiday was an extension of lazy-Sunday. As usual I picked up Hindustan Times from the stack of newspapers and extracted HT-Café. ‘Super60’, whopper response to the ‘INDIA COOL CONTEST’ printed next to HT-Café’s masthead caught my eyeballs.

But of course, I had emailed an article describing the sixty things and personalities, which make India cool. Now over to HT-Café’s Super60 list from A to Z. I started comparing my selection list with the published icons…

‘Abhinav Bindra, A R Rahman, Aravind Adiga, APJ Abdul Kalam, Ayurveda, Azim Premji, Backwaters of Kerala…. The list went on. I was like… oh yes! It’s all mine. I scanned the center spread. The Red-stripe at the end declared ‘FIVE WINNING ENTRIES’. Five? How’s that? On 21st January, Hindustan Times had advertised the ‘Super60’ contest as ‘Two lucky winners will be treated to a chopper-ride around the city and have their articles featured in HT-Café.

Guess what? My name was there on that Red-stripe at 3rd position. Naturally I was excited to be the one among five winners but the chopper-ride was promised only for two lucky winners.

Imagine, winning the contest but not getting ‘the prize’. I mean HT won’t be giving the chopper-ride to the 3rd winner, when they had already declared it for two winners. The chopper-ride around the city costs Rs. 20,000/- per person. Even though I was feeling on ‘Cloud 9’ already, I couldn’t break the news to my friends. What could I have told them? “Look! I have won the contest but I won’t be getting the prize”. How hyper is that?

I spent the whole day checking emails. Next day, I received the congratulatory call from Hindustan Times about the chopper-ride. On Saturday, Captain Mody warmly welcomed the winners at Juhu aerodrome.

Captain Mody acquainted us with the route, we would fly and the swanky helicopter named ‘Raven’. Raven was so ritzy that all of us went photo-frenzy. We clicked close-ups, blow-ups, and group-photos with Raven as the poster-stud in the background.

Finally at 10.30 am, Raven, the black beauty took off to give us the ‘Out of blue’ experience. The ride was splendiferous to say the least.