There was something different about this trip right from the beginning.

For starters, we weren’t even aware there was going to be a team outing until the tickets were booked.

Second, this was going to be our first overnighter. All other annual outings had been day trips to resorts and amusements parks nearby.

Finally, and most importantly, we were heading to the hills.

The trip started eventfully enough with a dramatic scene in the railway station where the entire team caught a glimpse of Ajit running to catch the train, quite literally. Soon, the food and games came out and before we realized the passage of time, we had already reached Jolarpettai.

After a scenic ride uphill, we finally located our hotel. And boy, was it pretty! It was as if all of us were little children in a candy store – exploring the nooks, drooling at the pretty sights, wanting a taste of it all.

Soon, we had all found something to do. Four hours and many matches of cricket, volleyball and badminton later, we sat in a circle in front of the bonfire for a quiet evening. It turned out to be anything but that.2014-09-16 16.59.49

We started with a game of “Truth or Fiction” where each of us had to reveal three things about ourselves – two truths and one fiction. Over the course of the game, we realized how little we knew of each other. While someone had skated pulling a bullock cart along, another had gone underground caving. Yet another had jumped off a plane with a parachute on. As the night wore on, the circle became smaller and we sat huddled around the bonfire exchanging stories of our past. It felt like family.2014-09-16 19.57.35

The next morning, we went on a trek. There’s something about the hills that can make people feel connected to each other even without having to talk. We walked in a happy silence and were amply rewarded with the view from the top.2014-09-17 07.34.49

The trek downhill was a lot easier and noisier. At noon we sat down for a few team building activities. We played a game called ‘Zoom’. Each of us was given a sheet of paper with a picture printed on it. We were to keep our pictures secret from the others. By only talking about the image on our sheets, we had to determine the sequence of the images, which, if arranged correctly, formed a story. While at first we were noisy, we soon figured out that the aim of the game is to talk one at a time and work as a team, not individually. We finished the session with a meeting planning the company’s growth. 2014-09-17 12.49.17

Finally, it was time to bid farewell to the hills. During the journey downhill, most of us were fast asleep. The exhaustion had caught up with us. The train ride back was muted.

The next morning, we woke up in Chennai with our limbs sore but our hearts happy.2014-09-17 09.11.59-1

September 23rd, 2014

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