Outbound session - A travelogue!!

It was six in the morning. I was walking through the muddy construction lanes sloshed with dregs of sleep, thrusting my legs forward armed with heavy baggage for the trek. It began like those good old school excursions when teachers used to wear a white cap and walk around with a whistle dangling in their necks, calling out the names of the students boarding the buses. As soon as the engines revved up, so did our spirits in anticipation for the most eagerly awaited outbound session. We wallowed in nostalgia of our alma mater by playing all those childish anthakshari games in the bus. Faithful to those times, we were singing good ol’ numbers much to our own amusement. Within no time, we were at the gates of Shantivan resort where we were welcomed with great enthusiasm by avuncular retired service men of Indian Army. Much like those army traditions, we were soon put into various regiments ably guided by a leader. After settling down, we got ready for our dose of management games, replete with allegories and inspiring sermons. We found our modicum of inspiration and pearls of management in unlikeliest situations, ranging from those bizarre climaxes in David Dhawan movies to Indiana Jones’ adventure plots to silly games where we had to dance like Govinda (Do I have to explain further??). Apart from the funny moments, we had our share of interesting plots which let us break our inhibitions and place mortal faith in strangers whom we had barely acquainted. This faith gradually led to blossoming of friendship. The games also had a typical denouement scene where the plot is unraveled and the management sutra is revealed by the sagacious man.

By the end of the day, after the games session, we were drained out. However the excitement was too high to recharge us quickly for variety entertainment during bon fire. Despite limited time for planning, the plays were amazingly creative and outright funny, showcasing the Indian jugaad factor to be creative with whatever resources available. Most of the plays were miniature Indian movies, full of background songs and other Indian filmy elements which we grew up with. The air was filled with wild enthusiasm and most of them had energy left to shake a leg to weird play list of marathi and tamil songs. I decided to go back to my quarters to sleep amidst indecent mosquitoes and other snobbish nocturnal creatures destined to spoil a good night’s sleep. The air was however still suffused with excitement for the most interesting part of the outbound session which was due next day. As I woke up the next day, I found the glistening rays warming up my skin for the long arduous trek journey to Sinhagarh fort. As soon as I walked up near the base of the mountain, I could feel something rising within me. All of a sudden, from nowhere I could hear the inspiring blow of trumpets, raising my freckles, playing with DTS sound effects. Yes, it was the perfect filmy moment where I was ready to trudge the mountainous path and overcome the insurmountable obstacles and reach my Lakshya. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s rousing sound track blending beautifully with the picturesque mountain surroundings ensured that I climbed up the hill in no time with less fatigue. Despite the delectable ambience, I couldn’t rush up to reach the pinnacle all by myself. Time for yet another management sutra. It is not enough that one climbs his way to the top all by himself. He also has to ensure that he doesn’t leave his team behind in his quest for the summit. In my case, I had to pull up my unwilling trek partner to the summit. I also realized that my journey to the summit was as joyful as it felt when I realized that I have conquered the summit.

Few truths in life, however clichéd they might sound, continue to have their profound influence in the course of our lives, whispering their truth silently in the humdrum routine of life. I had no choice but to admit the strong impact of those clichéd truths. By the time we returned to Shantivan, all the mortal faiths on our acquaintances were put into test by the most interesting game of all, “Win Win”. Pitting each group against each other, the game let us introspect our behavior towards our fellow team mates. The game, by its unique nature, reaffirmed our faiths in cooperating together, breaking the cocoon of mistrust which normally happens during such interactions. Everyone could really feel the strong presence of the most clichéd word of our times “Team Work”. The last management sutra turned out to be the perfect takeaway from our trekking session while we packed our bags to the campus. It suddenly dawned on me that my honey moon period is over and the mad, invigorating roller coaster ride of four semesters in my B-School with my new set of friends has just begun with a bang.