The Dust, the Strain and the Sania Mania!

The last 6 days of April 2013 were horribly chaotic, physically exhausting and yet, strangely pleasing!

April 29th was our deadline to finish branding the Country Club Fitness & Vacations store at the Phoenix Market City in Bangalore. The massive project included branding 2500 sq ft of interiors, fixing 2 huge LED signboards, standees, 2 sets of audio system, a ceiling-mount projector and a BMI machine. And very next day on 30th April, the hot tennis belle Sania Mirza was all set to inaugurate the place – cut the ribbon, smile at the cameras, answer few questions for the Press and walk-out, all in less than 10 minutes.


Sania, busy in her new PR role!

On 23rd April, when I first walked-in, the scenes inside the store looked like a battlefield – nervous, noisy and dusty. Standing on a pile of filthy rubble and trying hard to breathe in the grimy air, I glanced around in disbelief. In the gloomy darkness, I saw carpenters cutting loads of plywood, people precariously balancing on a crumbling ladder to paint the ceiling, a young lad plastering a piece of wall, electricians cutting wires and in midst of such frenzy, a lady sweeping the floor. In a far-off dusty corner, sitting on a cheap plastic chair and covered in dirt, Srinivas Naidu, the site engineer looked helpless.


A small part of a much bigger venue, before the cleanup!

Looking at the chaos, I realized that the hapless site engineer had a long list of pending works to supervise and unfortunately, he only had 6 days to finish the mammoth task.

Tottering in the muddle and speaking with people, I realized the following:

  • Alam, the interior furnishing contractor wanted 2 more weeks to finish the project.
  • Varun, the COO, demanded 2 huge 15 ft x 20 ft windows to be built on the 2nd floor facade. To finish such ambitious work, it required minimum 5 days. And apparently, Mall authorities were yet to give permission to break the wall.
  • The tiles were yet to be fixed.
  • The air-conditioners were yet to be unpacked.
  • The plumbing works needed urgent attention.
  • The basic electrical fixtures, the lights and the fans were nowhere to be seen.
  • The audio system, projector and the BMI machines were yet to be ordered.
  • The gym equipment was yet to reach the venue.

This was scary. We were supposed to get a completely furnished store for branding. Now, if our team had to wait for every work to be finished before commencing our job, there was a sure danger of skipping the deadline. But, this was Varun’s pet project and no one liked missing his deadlines. At least, not our team!


The gym, the office and the LED signboard, after the branding.

So, a dusty afternoon on 23rd April 2013, without the flooring, false-ceiling, painting, furnishing, electrical fixtures, plumbing, mirrors, windows and nothing else, we started branding the Country Club Fitness & Vacations store at the Phoenix Market City in Bangalore.

This is how we accomplished the impossible:

  • To skip unfinished interiors and furnishings, only bare walls were selected for initial branding. But this came at the cost of height – the store has a very high ceiling (16 feet) and most of the walls were left empty only above 7 feet!
  • To fast track the work, the massive 2500 sq ft branding was printed at a newly opened printing press in Hyderabad.
  • 3 skilled workers from a friend’s ad agency in Nellore were hired to mount the branding. They guaranteed to finish the project within the set time-frame and in return, asked only half the payment what Bangalore workers demanded.
  • To extract maximum work from all 3 workers, their boss, Bharat Reddy was asked to join our team in Bangalore.
  • Every day, we worked from 8 AM to late into the night and on the final schedule, the 3 hired workers toiled for 40 nonstop hours – from 28th morning to 29th evening!
  • To get the best quality at the lowest rates, the BMI  machine and the LED signboards were sourced from Mumbai.
  • To save time, every meal was ordered to the dusty venue. Consequently, every spread was served with an ample blend of sawdust, cement and fresh paint!

And after 6 days of frenzy, when the branding was actually finished on 29th April night, it turned out to be the toughest and the most satisfying assignment of our team.


A new role, a unlike sport & a unique avatar!