This travelogue is a confused attempt at recalling some of the interesting highlights of the picnic. If you missed the trip and find it hard to understand, DO NOT WORRY ---those who DID come will feel the same. All names of persons mentioned have been changed to protect their identity (except B Joshi). The main intention of this article is to make you laugh like you all did during the trip (except B).
THE TRAIN JOURNEY TO CHENNAI:
This is how it all started:
We slept well in the train for the journey began at around 12 in the night or something. But that is not the whole story, for about a dozen guys were awake singing and ‘gappe maar rahe the’ until about 4am in the morning. While some of them played a serious game of cards till about the same time!
Finally, the morning came well before many of them had barely said ‘goodnight’! After quickly wolfing down our breakfasts it was time for….. SNACKS! Chitale Bandhu, sukhi raho! Then it was time to burn all those extra calories that we had just piled up. So we played Treasure Hunt!
Whatever calories our grey cells could not burn were used up in running up and down the compartment to pester P to provide the next clue. If we ran in only one direction some of us could have covered half the distance to Chennai.
The winners got chocolates while the losers had to simply look forward to having lunch. Now very few people know that the runners up got more chocolates…. How??? They simply raided the winner’s compartment and ‘shared’ their spoils.
Finally after a journey full of laughter, songs and teasing, we reached Chennai. Here the teasing was never meant to embarrass anyone… well, except maybe, B Joshi.
AFTER REACHING THE RESORT:
The bus left Chennai Central with a bus-load (isn’t THAT obvious?) of tired and hungry souls and reached the resort at around 11pm. Unlike last time the reception DID NOT look like anyone’s marriage – there were only men waiting to garland us (I believe they had some tip-off that our company has a lot of bachelors!).
The next day we all went to Pondicherry. At Pondicherry we found out a very important thing ---that the resort was much better. Oh, it was not that bad! We got nice words from our guide about smuggling liquor from Pondicherry while in the bus (Of course she told us much more than that but this was easy to remember!).
Then at Mahabalipuram the mischievous guys photographed themselves posing as if they were holding up those giant boulders. The way our police is going by photographic evidence these days, they may soon arrest these guys for sinking two other temples into the sea…
Then came the evening party which had some very special performance by (name changed anyway). The dance consisted of some amazing feats like drinking water from a bottle (PLEASE DO NOT LAUGH! He was balancing a lot of unidentified objects on his head while doing that!). The most unbelievable performance was by a certain employee who came with a shirt worn front-side-back! (We do not want to reveal that it was B). The dance performance ended with a dangerous stunt involving juggling objects which were –-literally—burning! Since almost no one had attended the fire safety seminar atour company, none tried to put off the fire and they allowed the man to perform peacefully.
The next day everyone was eager to get a boat ride to the underwater temples (which were allegedly sunken by some miscreants posing for photographs) was simply amazing. The enjoyable part was when everyone was allowed to jump into the deep sea water. Those who did not want to get wet simply sat on the boat (and got drenched in the waves anyway).
We all missed the video coverage that SC would have made. But taking undue advantage of the lack of evidence I tell you that we won ALL the volley ball and football matches we played. Playing beach ball was quite amazing as we dived into the sand at the drop of a hat, dives that would put the Indian cricket team to shame!
Then everybody took the plunge (not marriage but the swimming pool) and played in the water till lunch. The lunch was simply out of the world. The seaside thatched-roofed venue had a rustic ambience that made the lunch a very special one.
The evening saw another round of boat rides and volley ball matches (We won! We won!). But that was not the end of the day. It was the beginning of the final bash. We all converged at the party hall. One of the most important part of this program was the ‘initiation rites’ of all the newcomers (the word ‘ragging’ is too colloquial). Everybody had a great time including the newcomers who came up with some fantastic performances. That was followed by Fashion Show where all the couples set the ramp on fire (there was actually no ramp but still). Then it was the turn of stags to make a fashion statement. This was followed by dance competitions, dinner and the dance not necessarily in that order. Anyway, it made a night to remember!
The train journey the next day was as memorable. Again the election campaign started. The public opinion was that there can be no leader like B (name NOT changed even on request). The people in the second train were witness to an unusual musical performance by A (N’s son). He sang “Aisa jadoo dalarey…” in an infinite loop. Apparently he was spending too much time with some of our developers (is B a developer?) The singing did not stop there, we had a couples singing session too! This was followed by a live rendition of “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” in all languages. The card games were a rage. Everyone’s favorite game was ‘Master Bluffer’ for the most obvious reason: natural talent. Then it was time to sleep. Sometime after breakfast we were back on the sticky Pune platform we missed so much (I made that up).
Happy memories that will last a lifetime. Jokes which we recall and make us to want fall down laughing except for the fear that the guy in the neighboring cubicle will log a request for a mental check up as well! Till next year. Enjoy the post-trip hangover!
(Had written this on December 24th, 2004, a few days after returning from the Chennai trip. Two days later, the very beach we were standing on would be under more than 12 feet of water. Our trip had been actually re-scheduled one week earlier than planned due to non-availablity of rooms. However, no casualities were reported from the resort as the guests were having breakfast on higher ground...)