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Dusseldorf. Drupa 2008. June 18, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....

Back at home (?) in Poole, after spending a week in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s a really lovely place, with quaint little trams and trains running across the city, filled with trees and greenery. I think I saw more cyclists and roller bladders in Dusseldorf than I saw cars! But more on that later.

Was in Dusseldorf to attend the ‘mecca’ of the printing industry that takes place every four years there. Drupa 2008. The company I used to work with back in India was participating, and had a whole bunch of people coming to Germany for the show. In fact, over just over four and a half years back, I remember, soon after I joined the company as a Marketing Communications Executive, we had started work on the 2004 edition of this exhibition. It was kind of the first big project I worked on. Since I was a newbie, I was in charge of nothing, but just the foot soldier to organize everything that the senior wanted done. Logistics, shipping, crating, speaking to vendors, hunting down old poster designs for references, making sure everybody had their international SIM cards, keeping a track of who was staying at which B&B in dusseldorf, etc. In short, I had my sleeves and jeans rolled up, and I was working right in the thick of things. And I remembered around that time, when my 6 monthly appraisal came up, DC (my ex-boss / more friend) said to me, ‘I know you probably are wondering why you aren’t going to Germany, with the rest of the team. But, your time will come. Soon, you’ll travel out of Bombay, the rest of the country. And maybe next drupa, Germany. You will be there, right in the thick of things, don’t worry! Once you get the hang of handling events, you will fly.’ And internally, I was like, “Yeah right. Like I’m gonna wait four years for that! If it happens, it will happen who knows.”

That was end 2003 – early 2004. After that the team left for drupa 2004, had a good drupa, and came back to India. I moved on to other events. Local first, and then national. Delhi was my first big event outside Bombay for the company. Disaster is the only word that comes to mind. I remember DC telling me at the end, when I was looking at the dismantled stall, not knowing, what goes where, and what happens next : “You look like a babe lost in the woods”. But we came off okay. After that, it had been a roller coaster ride. One event after the other. A lot of things going good, some not so good. But no disasters. It became a pattern, whenever an exhibition came up, working late into the hours. Discussing stall designs. Identifying messages. Looking at poster designs. Making adverts, invites, press releases, hotel reservations, the works. Then the events would start. For 3 days before the show and 2 days after, I was the first person on the site, to oversee the fabrication, and the last person to leave. All over the country. Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi again, Bombay. Hyderabad once more. Even Birmingham, UK, for IPEX 2006, although once again, in spite of doing all the leg work, I didn’t get to go. Things were going good. And in the back of the mind, Dusseldorf was the target. As time passed by, 2008 started coming closer and closer. Preparation talks for Drupa 2008 were in the air. Tentative lists were being made up. Names were being suggested for those who would travel. DC offered me a deal : lost 15 kgs in 5 months, and you can go to drupa. I knew it was a joke, my intuition told me, he needed me in Germany anyways, so I was sure to go. And in the midst of all this, we did an event in Chennai in August 2007. And that’s where I walked away from an event for the last time. Before it got over. I wasn’t there to close that event. For the first time, I wasn’t the last person from my company to leave the exhibition grounds. And I remember, I cried the whole way from the exhibition site to the airport, for leaving a job half done. And for leaving friends behind. While they would be headed for Germany the following year (2008), I had other plans. 15 days later, I was on a flight to the UK.

So, when DC (aforementioned boss / friend) suggested I come along to Dusseldorf from the UK, I jumped at it. Meet up with old friends and colleagues, and help out with some of DC’s work. And more importantly, close the event. I was there for 7 days, and for some time, it felt strange. I saw somebody else do my job. I know him well, and he was good. He did all the rookie mistakes that I had done the first time around. And I had to remind myself not to be too hard on him. But still, he was in my place. It felt strange when people came up to me and told me things, then realised that I’m no longer in charge and I had to tell them, I’m sorry I can’t help you on that. It was kinda bitter sweet. A couple of times, that some of them came to me, it meant that I was accepted once again, it felt great but it felt wrong to redirect them to somebody else. Knowing that I could have done it myself, but it was no longer my responsibility, and that I would be stepping onto somebody else’s shoes. This was supposed to be my show. And all I was, was a bystander. The last 2 days, I teamed up with him, the guy who had taken my place as DC’s right hand man, like I had been for so many years. Right hand man, it sounds so filmi. Like a spineless lackey. Watching them interact together, made me see myself 2 years back. Was I the same way? Did I want to remain the same way? Now, that was a question.

The last two days, while the both of us, packed stuff up, and made it ready to be shipped back to India, 2 Germans brought the whole stand down. And once again, I was the last person to leave the site after an event. That felt good. Other things didn’t feel so good, but that’s just life. You can’t have everything. I told DC that this was a closure, for leaving him stranded in Chennai last year. He laughed. And offered me my old job once again. With newer challenges.

I still haven’t made up my mind. It’s something I would like. But details need to be sorted out yet. Decisions need to be made soon. Let’s see how it goes.



1. Meena - June 19, 2008

Hi EspritNoir : I read your last piece wth rapt attention. You 2nd last one ended like one of those suspense thriller serials… could not wait for the next week for the next capsule.. leaving me wondering what the hell you were talking about, what pain?, why pain?…. Are you saying that you are thinking about returning to TN????? What’s up????? MA

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