Well, first there was the Pujos.. Shosti I was at work.. my concession to the celebrations was manfully managing a slithery chunni of a new churidar.. Saptami I took off.. and just went to the parlor, spent 3 hours there being pampered, and slept.. then in the evening, non-Bong friends came over, to experience “pujo”.. needless to say, it rained so heavily that the "maath" was floating in a sea of red muck… so, came back to the puja near my place, where they proceeded to gobble up fry, chop and mishti.. and came back to my place, ordered in food, and played taboo till 3 am..
Ashtami was the day our entire office set out for a corporate offsite, which was to last 3 days.. we left in the afternoon, for a place near Banerghatta.. we were staying at the Jungle Lodges.. so there we were, in timtimey light, getting relaxed.. a lot of drama stuff incorporated to get us “comfy” with each other.. role playing, trust exercises, so on and so forth.. very interesting.. winding down with lots of beer and kebabs over a campfire, while strange jungle sounds happened around us..
The next day, we were given some stuff to figure out our strengths etc, and also to see how well we collaborate/compete… needless to say, the 2 teams collaborated well within themselves, and competed really badly.. we became quite horrible.. tried to walk a plank, and slipped twice, after which my poor back refused to let my mind dictate it
After which, we were given this exercise of designing, building and executing a raft.. we had to plan how to build it, make it, and sail across a huge lake with it… 6 people to a raft.. so, we had this brainwave of building one designed for speed.. rather like a Kerela snake boat.. what we forgot to take into account completely was the fact that it was also the most unstable.. I was one of the “rowers ….so ¾ into the lake different people just tipped over.. the ones who knew swimming, practically refused to get back on, so we backstroked back to shore.. a very long haul…
Sat there dripping… with ACHING appendages.. I didn’t know so many muscles existed.. then went for a midnight walk in the forest, and pointed out constellations to each other..
Came back to camp around 9.30.. changed, went to campfire, guzzled more and more beer.. danced on the way to dinner.. then tried planchett.. 4 of us daring souls… we had gotten fired up by the stories I told of Ma’s planchett-ey days…obviously it didn’t work…. So we went for another walk through the forest at 1 in the night… intrepid explorers all….
Next morning, a particularly boring session with lots of “self- back-patting” the bosses.. where we all in different stages of “nod-off” then back home to sleep…
Lots of new friends made, and old ones renewed.. overall, very eventful..
Maath: a large park-like area, where usually pandals are built and pujas held
Mishti: the ever-so-famous Bengali sweet.. the most famous type being the rasogulla
Timtimey: light.. coming usually from a hurricane of sorts.. the ambience lends itself particularly well to ghost stories