The Pilot Episode: ‘The one with the Sweet Beginning’

Even as we were in the first week of our stay inside our lush green campus in Gurgaon, thoughts like – getting ourselves accustomed to the hostel scenario,  interacting and knowing our peers, a probable change in our biological and sleep cycles and the hunch of going back to books(that still feels intimidating) were on our minds. A plethora of similar emotions was playing a strange medley in and around us. Then, Great Lakes came up with the outbound trip to Rishikesh, the most fitting pilot episode to our newest series in life- The B school experience.

Our trip began on 19 May as we boarded our buses and started our long and fun filled night. Antakshari, Dumb charades, singing and dancing were the norm for the night… This was just the beginning!

We reached our pristine and beautiful campsite ‘Life missions’ in the morning and got ourselves ready for a day filled with unforgettable adventures. We split into two groups. One group geared up for a thrilling tryst with Rappelling as another started for an electrifying Rafting experience on the river Ganges.

As I braced myself for my rendezvous with rappelling, I could not help but wonder what it would feel like. The thought of hanging from a tall bridge with just a rope to our rescue felt awesome! I am obviously talking for myself. I am sure the same was not the case for people with Acrophobia. 😀

Cut to the actual experience, it did feel awesome! It was amazing to let go and hang almost perpendicular to the bridge and slowly descend systematically. It also gives a sense of trusting the guide who was giving all the instructions. Trust is what drives all businesses! In retrospect, it seems there was so much of sub-conscious learning happening.

Next, we had a team exercise of building a bridge with straws. Working in teams and collaborating amongst each other was a fun learning experience, to say the least.

As the day approached noon, we returned to our campsite, had lunch and eagerly prepared ourselves for Rafting. The review provided by the other group that returned added on to the excitement. We started off and reached a location called ‘Marine drive’, strapped ourselves with life jackets and helmets, and made sure we took proper instructions given by the Rafting coordinator. I can vouch for the entire batch by saying that this experience was, without any argument, the highlight of the trip.

As we started rowing our rafts in unison, we came across quite a few surprises. For a person who is new to the rafting world, the idea of encountering ‘rapids’ was massively thrilling. Our coordinator gave us direct and lucid instructions before each of the four rapids we challenged. These were:

  1. Good evening
  2. Sweet 16
  3. Roller coaster
  4. The three blind mice

Each of these rapids has a special memory with all of us. Experiences like standing inside the raft with the probability of falling over, taking a toss in the river, witnessing an ever-beautiful landscape across the river and getting ourselves lost in a myriad of senses and thrills as we witnessed the beautiful sunset are a few souvenirs we took back home from this experience.

As the Rafting escapade ended, we had one more learning experience in the form of a raft building exercise that was veritably fun filled and utterly enriching.

Coming back to our campsite, an evening with the bonfire and music awaited us. With our batch having a talent spectrum ranging from professional violin players, drummers and guitarists to melodious singers and dancers, this evening was exactly what we needed to feel refreshed.  As we dispersed to our tents after such a happening day, we all had a sense of belonging amongst each other.

We struggled to wake up the next day, but Palhan Sir’s meditation session filled us with reinvigorated energy as we headed off to a trek. Returning from a short hike, we had one final meet up focusing on the assessment for the two group activities. It was fun witnessing all the teams doing interesting introductions and victory dances.

None of us was in a mood to leave Rishikesh and the trip back to Gurgaon did seem long. Nevertheless, the end of this eventful trip marked the start of our ‘B-School’ journey.’ A journey that will surely be filled with ups and downs just like the rapids that we faced in Rishikesh. But if we work together then I’m positive that we’ll all get a chance to perform our victory dances at the end of this year.

 

‘IN THE MIDST OF MOUNTAINS’

A trip to a beautiful place,

Uttarakhand, you blessed us with your grace.

Driving through your mountains’ maze,

Mesmerised by your rain’s presence.

Drifting down the bridge like a pro,

Amidst the mountains’ meadow.

To get rid of phobia of heights,

Rappelling was an amazing exercise.

Ganga, the mightiest of the rivers

Embraced us with all her ardour.

Feeling the quivers in her waters,

Rafting, an experience gifted to us.

An evening with a Bonfire,

Music, you are the sire.

Guitar, Violin and Drums singing to its melody,

Musicians tuning to all its glory.

Staring at the sky of twinkling stars,

Sleeping in the mother nature’s arms.

Opening eyes to the beautiful misty morning,

Waking up to the sun between the mountains, rising.

Meditating early in the morning,

Trekking through the hills in the surrounding.

Relaxing by the river that’s flowing,

Folks playing water volleyball, enjoying.

An end to a beautiful journey,

A lovely opening to a new Odyssey,

Cheers to a lot of memories,

As a fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, It is

‘The One with a Sweet Beginning’.

 

Authors: Samuel Johnson & Prithvi Naadig

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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An odyssey to remember

Long before we stepped foot into Great Lakes Gurgaon, we received an email saying that we’re going for a team building program to Rishikesh. Considering that it was a land that I had never been on, I decided to go. Moreover, who would say no to river rafting and rappelling?

Come 24th May, we left Gurgaon for the trip. Although, in a most congested thing that was claimed to be a bus – a little box which was the only negative of the whole trip. Well, guess that was an apt beginning to our outbound training – as the whole purpose of the trip was to open our minds and teach us the art of ‘adapting to change’. It’s said, a true champion can adapt to anything and indeed, we needed the skill to ace the one year program!

After a tough night, we reached Camp Alpinestar. And guess what? We had to embark on a tiny trek (with luggage et al.) just to reach the campsite. But the view that awaited us was worth it – tents by the riverside and the sacred Ganges gushing in all its glory right by it. Yes, it was awesome.

We were split into two groups with three teams each. Group one (with me) went for rappelling and Group two went for rafting.

On the way to Stream Rappelling...

On the way to Stream Rappelling…

Wow! Where do I start about the trek? I’m contemplating on whether to start with how unfit we all were or how super fit the guides were. With temperatures burning our face off, we started climbing from some random point. A few minutes into it and we were like “Dude, this is not a trek. This is easy.” Clearly, we spoke too soon as like in the video games the trek just got tougher and tougher! Long breaths, frequent breaks and gazillion liters of water later, we finally reached our destination. All our fatigue vanished the instant we jumped into the icy cold water.  “The climb was worth it”, was all we could say while the guides were setting up the rappelling gears. It took us close to two hours to finish the rappelling. The most difficult part of rappelling was the start. After that, it was a (not so gentle) breeze and we enjoyed every bit of it. Then we headed back to the camp to grab some lunch and prep up for river rafting.

Geared up for Rafting...

Geared up for Rafting…

Stepping out right after lunch was a difficult choice. But then, that was our only choice! So, off we went for rafting. The currents were pretty strong that evening (that would make us go faster \m/). After a safety speech by our very own “fake Brit accent Rishikesh guide”, we were all set to have the time of our lives!  Braving the strong rapids, continuous rowing and a dip in the Ganges is something one can only be experienced. And I’m glad I did!

“Bunta”, a popular drink in the region was available on the river bank – a must have if you go to Rishikesh. So, of course we all had to have it! What more can you ask for in a day? Well, a bon-fire night that ended with delight and peals of laughter at our very own guitarist Abhinav Tiwari’s talent and antiques! That done, we called it a night. Well, to be precise, a full moon night without electricity which we survived with torches and mobiles.

Come 6 AM next day, and we were all up and ready for a refreshing meditation session by the Ganga. Prof Palhan explained to us the benefits of meditation and each of us made a mental note to incorporate this much needed eight minutes into our daily routines.

Meditating on the bank of Ganga!

Meditating on the bank of Ganga!

Then, we moved on to a few fun and interesting team building exercises like the Frisbee relay and the Egg drop game which helped us know our team mates better before leaving the camp for Gurgaon with a lifetime of memories.