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Echoes of Resilience: Conquering Challenges, Forging Memories in the UAE

Portrait of Deveshwar
Deveshwar Bhardwaj
Echoes of Resilience: Conquering Challenges, Forging Memories in the UAE
Echoes of Resilience: Conquering Challenges, Forging Memories in the UAE

It was early in October when we were heading back for Delhi from Kochi after delivering 6 presentations for an event. I was 6 months old in INK PPT and was already a project manager from being a marketing coordinator, and well several other things. I was barely able to even sit straight due to the viral I had caught a couple of days ago and our founder, Aayush Jain, told me mid-flight that me and my team will be traveling to the UAE for an event.

While that conversation was left at that juncture, we reached Delhi and life went as usual for a week. We then got onto a call with the client for which we were going to travel to the UAE and that’s when it hit me. It’s real. We’re going. And we are doing this event. It all started with a simple logo animation and home look for the event, and after several iterations, we cracked the theme for the entire event.

There were several creatives to be delivered and of course, October and November. Well, these two words in themselves are enough to convey what mood one is in during these two months, especially here in India. While the time and tasks were both not complementing each other, the team pulled up their socks and got ready to become the very first biggest team to travel abroad for an event. Moreover, four out of the 6 of us were traveling abroad for the first time.

The Travel Fiascos

As we gathered at the airport to catch the flight to Dubai in mid-november, we thought there would not be too many people at the check-in counters. I know what you are thinking and I will not be making the same mistake again. After a brief wait of almost an hour, we finally got our boarding passes, however, the real wait was yet to come.

The youngest member of our team had to see the immigration officer personally. For what good reason? We are still trying to figure it out as well. Another one of our team members got stuck even before the immigration and security check thanks to another team from another agency who were carrying their design rigs with them. Since one of those rigs was checked-in under his name, he had to stay back with the other team till they got cleared.

While the rest of us dearly missed our two teammates at the Delhi Duty Free, we thought it best to do some window shopping to relieve ourselves. Selfish, I know. But it is what it is. Both of them finally joined us after half an hour and Abhijeet was really happy with the fact that the immigration officer called him by mistake. He was more curious about the fact that the officer placed the immigration stamp on a random page in his passport. Cute, right? Well, after a small snack we embarked on the unforgettable odyssey which was to last for 16 days.

The Travel Fiascos

At the Dubai airport, the first thought was how are we going to reach our destination. However, my first thought was “Where’s the Burj Khalifa?”. Ok, that’s a lie as I did spot the highest building as soon as we got off. My first thought was “Well, that’s indeed the giant of the skies.”. It was an Emirates Airbus A380 taking off, and man it was big. As my team made fun of me for noticing inconsequential things, we finally reached the immigration queue at Dubai. Well, it was a haat to be honest so let’s leave it at that.

While we were struggling in the queue, one of our teammates who had been to the UAE before remembered something. Smart visa. But then he had to wait for the rest of us for the next 30 mins so we were cool with it. There’s another reason we were cool with it but bear with me please, I’m doing this for the first time. After getting immigrated, we finally left for where we were supposed to stay and the driver was playing some really heavy Hindi songs… Heartbreaking Hindi songs, but it was all cool. Was it though?

The (Palatial) Accommodation at Dubai’s JBR

Once we reached the location, we got lost in the parking for quite some time and when we finally found the way in, it was the wrong entrance. We then got up to the pavilion and finally reached our accommodation which was on the 37th floor, a penthouse nonetheless. The entire team was flabbergasted while entering the penthouse which seemed endless. While it was like any other penthouse we had seen in the movies, it was an entirely different feeling being actually in one.

Everyone had their phones out and we recorded the entire ordeal for at least a good 10 minutes. There were two floors with the living room, dining space, kitchen, and the maintenance area on the lower level, and 4 rooms on the upper deck. We settled down in the master bedroom and one of the kids’ rooms, but the master bedroom was where all the action was about to happen.

The (Palatial) Accommodation at Dubai’s JBR

As we woke up in the morning, little did we know what the client had in store for us. After a brief introduction and cooling off period, all of us got to work and from there started our 6 day ordeal in Dubai. The penthouse was our headquarters for work and we spent most the day, well more than most of the day, at the penthouse itself working. The nights, however, were a different matter altogether.

During the nights, the entire team would go out for long walks on Dubai’s coveted JBR. Checking out supercars, rental electric scooters, and whatnot. After the night’s meal, we would continue our quest, visit the beach, make fun of each other and the situation, and hope that one day we would get to go to Atlantis, do skydiving and jet skiing, and whatnot, which we saw so much during the 6 days from the penthouse balcony that we almost started dreading it all.

Long strolls while singing bollywood songs, fun on the rental electric scooters, and ample laughter pulled us through and 6 days went by like it was all a dream. We finally were leaving Dubai for what we actually came for.

Off to Abu Dhabi

After a nearly 2 hour drive from Dubai, we reached Abu Dhabi and boy it was… Well, empty. As we were entering Abu Dhabi, we realized that we were crossing Masdar, the city that runs on renewable energy. While the UAE government did spend a lot on the city, they really didn’t think all the way through as the cost of living there is insane, even for the rich people there. After entering Abu Dhabi, we were trying to get a glimpse of all the structures we had seen only virtually and were trying our best to relate to them. It was tough, honestly.

When we finally reached our destination and accommodation we saw the Middle East’s largest exhibition center, ADNEC. We were accommodated right in front of it, but still just thinking about walking over to it for work felt like a lot of work. As we settled in our hotel room and started working, the team realized that they had been missing one of the key equipment for working. The mousepad.

As usual, came in our food and equipment sourcing angel who got things sorted for the team with a couple of mousepads, and some tea and coffee. We finally settled in and started the final leg of our journey. Our founder and CEO, Aayush Jain, joined us later that same night as 3 of us were awake, waiting for him. After filling him in with all that transpired over the last few days, we settled down to catch some sleep. Well, more than some.

Off to Abu Dhabi

We reached ADNEC the following day, as early as we could, and it was not early at all. The client had a few things to say to keep our spirits lifted and we settled in one of the organizer rooms to start our work. For the most part, the team remained charged, but still in a lighter mood for we all knew what we came to do. However, there were times when the tension of delivering on time took over and things almost got out of hand. Nevertheless, all of us kept calm and handled all that came our way with a smile on our faces, even though a tired one at times.

A similar schedule followed as we used to work during the better part of the day and relax at night. One of the team mates started the Planet of the Apes movie series that got all of us hooked to the screen at nights, well most of us as I used to always fall asleep while watching. Then came Jawan and The Railway Men after that. These guys wrapped all of it in 6 days. The last one was a 5 episode series which was binged in a couple of nights. Disappointing, I know, but we were there to work, come on.

D-Day(s)

In between work, relaxing, and staying connected to our loved ones, the days went by and the event finally started. After finally seeing what we had created on the big screen, we were finally relieved. The opening ceremony of the event had creatives like logo animation, UAE’s National Anthem animation, citation slides for the speakers, background video for the head speaker, and a flag parade presentation with over 20 flag animations of the guest and participating countries.

On the other hand, there were videos and animations for an entrance arch which led to the competition area, the event stand screen, and the fascia that played throughout the event for over 4 days. Finally, it was time for the closing ceremony of the event which had most of the creatives from the opening ceremony, but a presentation for awards. That’s where the entire team came together and helped the client in running the awards deck in sync with the announcements.

Finally, the job was done, or rather well done, and we all celebrated later that night. All of us revisited the 14 days we had spent together, had laughs, some retrospection, and a little bit of menace at Al Raha Creek and ADNEC Marina. How we got there is a story in itself, so let’s just leave it at that. And just like that, we left for Dubai for the final leg of our journey.

Desert Safari Debacle, Mall Tales, and Farewell

While we were still tired from the event and particularly the night before, for obvious reasons, we decided to head straight to a desert safari. Little did we know that a mishap was waiting for us there. As we hopped onto our ATVs and took them out on a swing in the desert, we let go of all our worries, maybe a little too much. Me and Aayush were riding together and we decided to take a look at how the rest of the teammates were doing with theirs. That’s when we found out that one of the teammates had a little too much fun with their ATV.

Remember the guy who had to meet the immigration officer in person at Delhi Airport earlier? He and the guy incharge of organizing food and other supplies for the team were riding together, and had met with an accident. The immigration fiasco guy had gotten a little too excited and decided to go full throttle on the ATV, as the food ordering guy sat pillion and would not do anything to avert the disaster.

They were trying to flash by another approaching ATV that rammed them from the side because they couldn’t stop at the speed they were going, at least not in time anyway. Both of them got hurt, but luckily the rider who rammed them escaped unscathed. After a brief exchange of words between them, things went back to normal fairly quickly and we continued onto our desert safari. The ATV rides were followed by dune bashing and a brief camping halt in the middle of the desert where we watched the coveted belly tanoura dance, belly dance, and the fireshow.

After making fun of our youngest team member for hurting his arm “due to reasons unknown” (He was the one who fell from the ATV along with the food guy), we headed back to our hotel. We relaxed at the hotel for some time and after some deliberation at almost midnight, decided to go see the fireworks show at Burj Khalifa for it was the UAE National Day. Little did we know that the fireworks were not only over, we were right next to the Burj Khalifa minutes before the show started. We literally missed one of the most breathtaking views in the world by minutes, if not seconds.

Finally, we decided to call it a night because we had to leave early the next day, which was also when we had our flight back to India. We decided to explore The Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall the next day, the entire day. While The Mall of the Emirates was big, it still brought us some disappointment because we didn’t get to check out the VR experience we were all hoping for. After that, we headed to the Dubai Mall where we saw the great aquarium, did some shopping, witnessed the fountain show, and after spending most of the day there, headed right to the airport to bid farewell to the UAE.

A Journey That’s To Stay With Us Forever

It has been quite some time now since all this happened. A lot has happened since then in all of our lives, both personally as well as professionally. Speaking for myself, I’ve had quite some ups and downs. One of them being me nearly breaking my leg on another event. However, all that is for some other time. Nevertheless, the aforementioned odyssey has taught us a lot and has brought all of us closer to each other. We still look at all of it like it all happened only yesterday.

A Journey That’s To Stay With Us Forever

While the team is now gearing up for another adventure in the UAE, I won’t be able to join them this time. However, I’m confident that the team will capture more such memories and make new ones along the way. Me or someone else will be back to share more such adventures as, when, and how they occur. Till then… Hold your breath.

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Portrait of Deveshwar

About the Author

Deveshwar Bhardwaj - Embracing Creativity and Innovation

In one realm, I dive into marketing activities, while in another, I oversee project management. Beyond my roles, I'm a content writer, marketing professional, engineer, tech enthusiast, and artist, finding my passion at the crossroads of creativity and innovation. Join me on this journey, where we explore endless business possibilities one story at a time.

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