Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Lanka Love - 1

I recently got the chance to be part of RCCC (Royal Challenge Corporate Clash-a-thon). To keep it simple and sweet, it's like a khatron ke khiladi/ The Amazing Race conducted for the Corporates. By sheer luck i got the chance to be part of the Team representing my company. Twas held in Sri Lanka, in a small coastal tourist town called Bentota (west coast), around 70kms from Colombo. So here goes a bit of my tryst with RCCC and the Lanka of Ravan.
Outta the total 20 teams, our team came in 7th while the winners were Morgan Stanley (totally deserved!!), by a long margin and Lanco bagged the 2nd position.
Our team making it to 7th  position was a miracle in itself given that the team was sedated with adrenaline and half the members wanted to be leaders. The funny thing was, whatever Ekta (the other girl in the team) and I suggested wasn’t heeded and only after we wasted a lotta time (most crucial) and energy (second most crucial), did it actually hit em. Of course we were never acknowledged for that. :P
The night we landed, the bus broke down at the airport itself and so I managed to crash in bed only by 3:30am. The hotel (Taj Vivanta) offered a most exotic view and took your breath away every time your eyes grazed the landscape. The beach was like 20m from my room. Absolutely spotless sand with soft waves and nothing else for miles around. And the water too wasn't as salty as most ocean waters.

The first morn, we had breakfast and headed to a Turtle Hatchery in a Tuk-tuk. We learnt, played with tiny baby turtles and observed what beautiful, graceful creatures turtles can be. This too was at the beach and was being run as a Conservation project surviving purely on ticket money and donations. Next we went to a Spice garden. By the sheer smell of it i recognized the Vanilla plant; stimulating! Some people bought stuff from there; after all rare chance to buy condiments in such pure state. Then we went to a huge emporium which sold all local handicrafts, in all sizes. They had some really colourful, elaborate masks, each signifying different types of protection or encouraging positive vibes in the space. Went back, had lunch and then spent the rest of the time rolling and swimming in the sea. Dil khol ke! :D

The first stage was scheduled for that night but coz a bus bringing 50 participants got late, so that was postponed to the next night. So we just chilled, ate, saw some folk dance and went to sleep around 10.
Day 1, Stage 1: it was held in a Tea estate and was a combination of analytical+physical skills. While 2 people had to take care of Commodity Exchange and Trading, the rest had to run/jump/cycle around, find Hubs, perform tasks and get em cash/bonus/stocks. Some people made sure that Ekta’s valuable decisions (she was the only one who knew Trading!) went to waste and we ended up earning 5k less than what was required.

Second stage involved more physical stuff (obstacle course+task performing+light engineering task) and had we been more patient with the rules reading (no one heard me n Ekta on this too of course :P), we might have won this Stage. Once we got the 3 tags, I was running down a slope trying to catch up with Vikram when a small depression came in front of me and I went crash bang boom! Apart from the knees and thighs, got a pretty nasty gash on my right arm, with some white stuff hanging outta it. Not a pretty sight, so lemme not go there. Overall, we did much better in this Stage.

Third Stage was the night task @ 10pm (postponed one) in which we had to make a high scoring Scrabble board, the tiles for which had to be collected through the same running/task performing/etc. Since I was injured and since I was also a Scrabble player, I got to take care of the Board and crack puzzle for additional tiles while the others did the work. Ekta & Sridhar (oldest team member, father of two) reached the Pool where one had to dive in and get a clue. Ekta said I’ll go but Sridhar says no you’re a girl, I’ll go. Then he opens his bag, takes off his tee and vest, wears a swimming tee. Same for the shorts. By the time he took out his swimming goggles, Ekta had dove in and got the clue out. :P :P So much so for the 'race against time'. This stage would have gone really well had the scoring had not been done so haphazardly and hence had to be repeated (all of us came together, hence chaos ensued). Jitin & I had managed a score of 480 but due to the time penalty it got nearly halved. Sob sob.
Day 2, Stage 4: sheer brains. It was a Board game with teams first pitted against each other in a Round Robin round and then moved to the KO quarters. We were the Champs here! Won 4 straight games and sailed into the Quarters. Everyone thought we were gonna nail it and as a result top the charts (it was game turning stage!). Thanks to one of my team members’ complacency and haste, we lost in the first round of Quarters. That was probably the lowest point of our team. Btw, we lost to Morgan Stanley; so at least we lost to the Best team of the tournament. But our team was any day the best in this; impatience strangled us.

Stage Finalement. According to the Race director himself, he had never done anything so grueling in this Race. Ever. The whole course was spread over more than 50 sq.kms. and each Team had to divide emselves into 3 groups – Kayakars, Cyclists & Runners. In our case, we had Vikram+Sridhar running, Aditya+Jitin as cyclists and Ekta+Jatin as Kayakars. Since I couldn’t row (I was the only one who knew rowing) due to my arm and my knee wouldn’t lemme run, I was the puzzle cracker again. So basically I had to accompany the Kayakars in a separate boat and solve the puzzles meanwhile. Brilliant backwaters I got to see. It was a bit like Sunderban. And only a week back i was mentioning to someone that i really wish to see em. :D
The runners had to cover around 6kms one way, cyclists 15kms and kayakars around 45mins of kayaking one way. Thankfully it was all on Circuit timing, so what your rest of the team mates did, didn’t matter too much. Once we returned, we had to submit our completed puzzle, get equipment in return, make something outta it and cross the finish line. Aditya’s cycle’s chain broke down and the brilliance that our team had shown in the other two, was all nullified. All in all, we waited for an hour for Aditya to reach and we were the last ones to cross the Finish line. :P :P

Phewwww!! I don’t even know if you survived the above. But overall, I had the most exhilirating time!! There’s nothing like watching silvery waves rolling under a moon shining down on the ocean and clouds and stars covering the rest  of the firmament. :) :) And I really liked the country too. NEAT, organized, so peaceful, gentle helpful people, old vintage cars, pretty houses…a life worth relishing. :) :) :)
More on that later, for now kick back and rest your head on your folded arms while i play for you: 'Happy Together' by Turtles..."you and me and me and you".. :)

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