Monday, September 6, 2010

The Jungle Book!

Mr. Sagnik Biswas (2010-12)

They always said – “True learning comes from experience”. I hope the concerned person was not referring to work experience, as this has been a major differentiating factor in selection in MBA Schools.
However, before I deviate from the topic, I shall set myself to the task at hand. I was approached by a certain Mr. Jitesh Sharma (whose favorite pastime is to share his infinite wisdom on a popular social networking site) to write about my experience in OBL. Now, before you get your brains racking, for us Symbians, OBL was a break from the convention and learning & unlearning new things. We were happy because, we were getting a much needed break. Little did we know, that this experience was going to be much more than a break.
Our OBL(Out Bound Learning) was to be held at Pegasus Institute for Excellence, hosts to various top of the league Indian Companies & the Indian Cricket Team and other conglo- merates of high repute. We left on the 13th of April, in 3 extremely huge buses, where people and their bags jostled for space. Only a fourth of the journey had been completed, when our bus driver, exhausted and tired, stopped somewhere in the middle of Bangalore for refreshments. The students got down, and relieved themselves in various ways. 4 of the students of my section, being very enterprising, decided to take a detour, and taught us a very important management lesson. They taught us that Culture clashes can be experienced in every nook & cranny of a business. After the students realized, an alarm was raised, and the driver was asked to stop. That is when we realized, that the driver didn’t know Hindi, only Telegu…Thankfully, Sushma Pamidi & Vaishnavi Kambham were there to rescue the poor souls, by managing to talk to the driver. However, a few hours later, exhausted after much singing & dancing, we reached Pegasus. Immediately, we were marched, Army style, to an encampment, where we were asked to pick up chits to select our camps. However, like every election, this one was also rigged, and people chose their encampments. After this, we went to a big encampment, where we were introduced to the Campus & rules of the institute. The instructor warned us of “Creepy Crawlies”, which could enter our clothing anytime, and so we were asked to dust ourselves, and our clothes every morning/evening, to check for the furry little ones, that might have found warmth in our clothes.
After that, we were left free. By this time, it was raining cats & dogs. Everyone huddled under umbrellas to reach the dining halls, where there was food awaiting us. Unfortunately, there was bad news for chicken seekers, as the first come – first serve system had robbed us of the minimum required protein supplement of the day. After the (disappointing) dinner, which was accompanied by (unwanted) taunts from Vegetarians, we went to another dining hall to chill out. Every possible person was paired up to dance with someone else, and many people’s so-called dreams came true, in the “vibrant” atmosphere of the night.
After that, we broke up that party, and headed to our encampments. We discovered that there was a Boys’ only Jalsa in our campsite. Everyone was singing along, while Chayan & Jitesh enthralled us with their guitar playing skills. After this, everyone signed off, to go to their camps. A good night’s sleep was advised, but we ignored it.
Next morning, woke up at 8-10. Reporting was at 8-30. Here, I learnt time management better. Ran with my toothpaste, brush, shaving gel, razor, clothes, mobile, spectacles and keys to the men’s bathroom. Pushed, shoved and entered one “Bath-Room”. Had a ball of a time trying to bathe and brush at the same time. Difficult, I say. Then, came out and had a brilliant breakfast comprising of eggs, vada, idli etc.. Before you start abusing, I must say this was a bad tactic, as hours of unending physical exercise followed. We went for a warm up, and then headed to the first of the Superman tasks, which was called “Dynamic Delivery”. It was so dynamic, that people were holding on to dear life. It also led to 2 injuries. This activity was amazingly complex, as we were asked to treat a bucket like a human being. We are so used to throwing it around, that we promptly forgot what we were supposed to do, and earned ourselves nice comments from the instructor. We failed to complete the entire exercise, but had fun.
The next activity was hilarious. It was a game of balance, where 7 oversized men, both in length and width, had to pick up and drag two disobedient planks of wood over mines(not real ones, don’t panic), which had minds of their own. Our group’s leader was Rajiv Venugopal, who took his job very seriously and the following will tell you what happened. It was utter chaos. Rajiv – “3….2….1…. Left”, the whole team picks up the Right Plank, down goes Rajiv, and back to the start line. How do you ask 7 guys of average waist size 34 and height 5’8”, to stand on a minuscule plank, and then pull it along with a weight of 500 kgs on it. Hilarious! However we tried Greg Chappell’s and Buchanan’s Multi Captaincy theory, to minimum effect….Each leader would go down….Learning: Too many cooks(overweight), spoil the broth!
The next activity was Acid Lake. It consists of 3 drums, with 2 planks of wood. 9 people are supposed to stand on the two planks, and move ahead by moving the last drum to the first place, and repeat the procedure! 1 of our team members got a cramp, and fell off…We were disqualified thrice, but we managed the same distance as the other teams, as I ended up huffing & puffing (not the stick!) while trying to move the drum!
After that, had a round of football with people changing teams, changing places, and kicking anything that came in the way. Saw a new side of Ranjitrao Sir, as he played football in great aplomb.
After that, hung around with many people! Had dinner, again missed the chicken (Grr!!!), and then sang and danced around the bonfire with Sahil Kotru & Co., before we sang a song especially for “Mausi” – Sayantani Chatterjee, at 1 am in the night, and cheezed off the guards. I am sure she will remember it for the rest of her life, as our nautanki company sang & danced around her. Hung around till 3 am, and interacted with people, had a amazing time, and then as usual, went off to sleep. Woke up again, and followed the same procedure till breakfast.
After breakfast, had a nice game of co-ordination between teams, which can be conveniently called the brick game. In this, if a brick is left unused by any of the 4 teams, the brick will be removed from the game. We played hard, but 1 team failed to cross over to the other side. We were given a penalty of becoming a live train, in which each person has some definite roles! I was the Vada-Pav wala, with others like Gautam becoming the Chaiwallah and soft drinks guy….It proved a point, that if we do not manage with our jobs after the MBA course, we can always come and handle the businesses in a train compartment! People imitated every possible thing, from beggars begging to children crying!
The next exercise of the OBL was the Numbers game. In this, a team of 6 people run around, tapping their feet on tiles having numbers, consecutively. It was more like a tap dance/run session. I was reminded of the DDR( Dance Dance Revolution) joke of Russell Peters, with everyone running around like there’s no tomorrow.
The last and final activity was A-Frame! In this, 1 guy stands in the middle of a huge wooden frame, while 4 guys have ropes to move him.. It was a complete disorder situation, as Dishant tumbled, Rajesh fumbled, I bumbled and Aparna scrambled from one rope to the other, trying to reach the destination. But, somehow all we could manage was give Dishant a 360 degree trip around the same spot. Poor guy, must have been flustered.
After that, had lunch, ate loads of chicken(Yessssss!!) and headed for the last task, the loading of the bags. Me, Vyom, Sahil and Sudeep Sir loaded everyone’s luggage onto a minibus and took it to the buses. There we 3 had additional exercises, as we had to unload and pass everyone their bags. It was an amazingly boring task, and flustering too, since people had bought luggage that was enough for a small family vacation.
Returned to campus in the bus, and promptly slept off. The one person who enjoyed the bus ride back was Mr. Sanandan Atrey, as he discovered love (:P) ….. However the one thing that I forgot to mention was the AMAZING & UNLIMITED SOURCE of NIMBU PAANI which kept us refreshed…..It was possibly the best & most fresh source of Nimbu Paani I ever had….

Overall a great experience, and I would love to go again. Found new friends and bonded amazingly with some people. Was a learning journey, on how not to finish the chicken if you reach first, Respect Vegetarians, and have fun, the Old World way….by dancing around bonfires…singing “Chappa Chappa Charka Chale, Chappa Chappa Charka Chale,….” And “Sandeshe Aate hain…”.
Man it was fun. I personally feel I made a great choice by joining SIBM-B, and experiencing the difference. Truly, SIBM-B Rocks!!!
Signing Off…
Sagnik Biswas
Batch 2010-12

1st Runner-Up: Jins Jose (2009-11)

A picnic to the parade ground
It was the first week, I remember; we were still exploring the campus...and, I had seldom started conveying, anything more than a smile to the people around me in the new world. The moment I arrived college, life got too busy with orientation classes, assignments, yoga and so on; sometimes I found it difficult to cope with; I could find the greener side of my job, I had resigned just few weeks back... then came the news that all of us would be going for an OBL program at Pegasus. Hah, the change was a need indeed.
The buses were packed; all the ‘future managers’ got busy with anthakshari soon, which went on and on. I had got a special friend to share the seat; a handsome, ever-smiling young man who was about to lose his bachelor’s degree- Dr Vikas (it was his marriage after four days :-)). From the moment reached there, life at Pegasus was so vibrant. We all woke up early morning, trekked, played, and learned. We interacted with each other, did team building activities, and sang together in the late night along with Sandeep’s guitar.
Food was delicious there! Activities were filled with fun and challenge...some of them being too hard to try. Believe me dude, while there are smart and charming girls being part of the team, you won’t even know what hardness is. Even the typical military lectures by the officers were an entirely new experience. In one of the sessions, the officer asked each student for their favourite Hollywood movie; once everyone finished, they were asked to prefix it to “under my uncle’s pink pyjama”. Hilarious... there were Terminator, Vertical limit and even 300!
3 days with tonnes of fun and learning, got over like a blink.

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