Sunday, September 21, 2008

Company Picnic

This past Saturday was the KJWW-India company picnic. Picnic is too light of a word, perhaps. What do you call a picnic that includes 3 meals, hours of activities, and 95-degree heat?

About 60 or 70 of us loaded up the buses at 8am to head to the site, which is about an hour outside the city. The bus ride was a trip. Kirstie and I slept a bit, but this wasn't entirely easy with a rambunctious game similar to charades going on in the aisle. Players took turns being assigned a Bollywood movie character and acting out one of his or her famous scenes. I'll tell you what: adult Indians sure do know how to laugh and have a good time on a bus for company functions at 8 am.

A pond outside the Shantu Waterpark, by our picnic site

We arrived at our destination, a waterpark, but we stayed on the grounds outside the water-ride area for our activities. We ate breakfast in a large shelter and socialized. Afterwards was a scheduled 3-hour block of game time. The company hired a "Professional Games Jockey" to lead the activities. We divided into teams and competed in several different competitions. First was Tug of War. My team lost, but Kirstie impressively anchored the end of the rope as her team easily outmuscled the other side in the all-girls round! Other games were the Egg Drop, a 3-legged race (except with 11-14 people instead of 2), a Treasure Hunt-style game, and a trivia game. My team finished in an overall tie for first place, and I won a chip & dip set as a reward. Boo yah!


21-Legged Race

Next was a huge and delicious lunch of traditional Gujarati food, followed by some time to explore the grounds. There was a pond and lots of green space, as well as an air-conditioned lobby of a hotel. This was the most popular location, since the temperature had escalated to the mid-90s by the middle of the day. So a little R&R and water were helpful in gearing us up for the rest of the day. Next was another game time (a prize game similar to Bingo), and then tea break. The last event was a Garba competition. Garba is a style of Indian dancing with bright & flamboyant outfits (at the end of this month, a 9-day long dancing festival begins), and the dancers form a circle on the dance floor that revolves as they step, turn, and clap in unison. Unlike Americans who generally need the right song, the right environment, and the right number of alcoholic beverages to get into the groove, most Indians seem ready to bust into song and dance at any moment for any occasion. We ended the day at the park with some spontaneous karaoke, distribution of prizes, and some speeches. On the way home, we stopped for another huge meal at an outdoor restaurant, and of course some singing on the bus.

Dancing the Garba. (Fortunately, Kirstie and I both joined in at the same time and weren't able to take embarrassing pictures of each other.)

Performing a song from the Bollywood movie "Rock On." I love the use of the cricket bat as the guitar.

So 15 hours later after arriving at the office, we arrived home, dead tired and sunburned with stretched bellies. Though the day had excessive heat and exhausting levels of activity, it was a great blessing to experience culture, social interaction, and a marathon or joyful celebration that was unlike any picnic I expect to ever attend in America.


nhanson said...

What excitement! It sure seems like you are having such a nice time there. Interesting too, based on your last entry. We aren't quite at 90 degree weather here, but it sure has been beautiful for the end of September! We better embrace it as it isn't going to last long, I'm sure!

Brett and Kristin said...

Oh how I wish I could witness the two of you belting out some Bollywood hits!