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My first picnic with the team…

At Osmosys we had all been pretty busy for the past few months, brimming with work and with very little time on our hands for anything else, so when Sravani sent out a mail saying that a one day trip to Ananthgiri was being planned, I was rather excited. This was going to be my very first outing with the whole team.

Team outings are not only a lot of fun, but they bring out a side of your peers that you generally don’t get to see in an official environment and we at Osmosys are a young, energetic bunch so when we let ourselves go, we can be a pretty awesome bunch to hang out with.

We started for Ananthgiri a little later than we had intended to, but once we were on the road, we quickly covered a lot of ground, all the while picking up peeps at pre-designated stops. Everyone was welcomed with little electric jolt. If you think I’m lying check this out…

http://youtu.be/wzthQq5otqs

So now I guess you believe me when I say that we are a fun-loving lot. The idea was PS’s and that little toy? That was his too. The other highlights of the bus ride were Ganesh Bhaiya’s proposal to Sampath, Ganesh Bhaiya speaking a Telugu movie dialogue that sounded really hip, me trying to sing ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ with Chinuku and DIDI, Saravana being teased about his skinny legs (this is for calling me fat you moron).

http://youtu.be/KLUuNuHipNY

Ganesh’s movie dialogue

Just before we reached Anathgiri we stopped over at the Market for groceries, chicken, and some other stuff that we would need to cook the lunch. Cooking lunch at outings like this is a tradition at Osmosys. Saravana, Ganesh Bhaiya, Chinuku and I were put in charge of the khirana (groceries) (?) and Syai tagged along since he was free. This stoppage was pretty uneventful, with everything going according to plan.

It took us about fifteen minutes to get from the market to the hills at Ananthgiri. After we reached, MS, Keshav, GS, Syai, Nagesh and I stepped out on a quest to find the perfect picnic spot. What greeted us was slightly different than what I had expected. Leaves and branches were on the ground rather than on the trees, the tree barks were brown in color, the soil was orange and the sky was blue without a trace of any clouds. It looked like the world had been painted in three colors, brown, orange and blue. That being said, the area was serene, pristine and grand in its own way. On our way through the hills we encountered a couple of beautiful scenes…

Anantgiri01

Pretty breath-taking, the spots of green amongst the brown and the clear blue sky made quite an impression.

This tree looked creepy. I can’t imagine how it would look under a moonlit sky! It reminded me of the veins and arteries in our eyes.

Anantgiri02

After searching for over fifteen minutes we finally zeroed down on a spot which had enough shade for us to cook and have lunch under. There was a problem though, the floor of the forest under the tree was covered in dry leaves, and since we were planning to cook food, cave-man style (with fire and dried twigs), the leaves had to go. So we spent the next half hour clearing the leaves and setting up a couple of stoves (One for vegetarian food, and the other for non-vegetarian) for food. While we did all this, the forest was entertaining us with the sweet sound of the leaves getting crushed under our feet.

Gopi really showed his survival skills. He was instrumental in starting the fire and making sure that the intensity of the fire was high enough for us to cook our food with. Observing him also taught me how to break larger branches of trees into small pieces, small enough for the fire to engulf. He seemed like the kind of person you would want on your team on the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Once we started preparing the food, everyone got really busy and that and only that is my gripe with the whole trip. We spent too much time preparing food, time that could have been spent playing, talking, teasing or pulling each other’s leg. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was boring, but I’m a pretty poor cook, and whatever was happening was beyond my skill set. Add to that the fact that I’m the kind of guy who will eat anything that can be classified as being vegetarian. Even so, I tried by best to be (or tried my best to appear to be) useful by helping Gopi keep the fire alive, lugging things around or fooling around with the machete that MS had handed me.

Everyone had a task. Some people were assigned the task of cutting vegetables, a very tedious process that has the potential of making you cry (onions), others were put in-charge of actually cooking the dishes. PS, GS and Salah were leading the non-vegetarian wing, as expected, which also seemed to be the most happening spot around the hills.

Once the preparations were over, we all sat down and had a nice lunch. Among the curries special mention must be made of the “Bharta” and “Dappalam”. I’ll probably have to ask someone else about the non-vegetarian food…but from what I observed the eggs were in high demand, since I was the one distributing them around.

After lunch we decided to relax for a bit and wait for things to cool down before starting the more exciting part of the trip. PS and GS suggested that we start a game of Antakshri while we were waiting, and that is when people really started opening up and showing their emotions. It was the perfect setting for MS to take a bunch of amazing photographs. He made sure that his camera had a bit of everyone, but the best picture has to be Salah’s. His naughty grin was for me the highlight of all the pictures that MS took during that time.

Once the sun’s rays started getting weaker in intensity, we decided it was time for us to engage in some physical activities. MS asked everyone to join him on a rock climbing/descending trip. After covering about quarter of my way down the hill, I had half a mind to just go back up. The slope was steep and the ground was slippery. But then any ideas I had off giving up the descent vanished the moment I saw Sravani. The ease with which she climbed down the hill was like she had been climbing them all her life.

At the bottom of the small hill, we discovered a nice flat ground to run around on, and started playing catch. Now I am a big fan of a game called “marram-pitti” (Throw and hit). Trying to run away from the pain of the ball crashing against your body can be exhilarating. I had the ball in my hand, and Sampath was standing just a few feet. What better way to start the game then with a live demonstration of how much fun it can be? Trust me, I gave Sampath time to run away, but when I threw the ball at him, it hit him in the back with a thud. He immediately let out a short cry of pain but was quite alright and threw the ball straight back at me, for a hit.

The next few minutes were probably the most fun times of the whole trip for me. It was all about running around after the ball when nobody had it, but running away when someone did. It all came to an end abruptly though, when PS insisted that we play cricket instead. So back up the hill we went. GS and Keshav divided the teams into two and the match started. It was a five over game that involved a lot of shouting but which ultimately ended in a tie.

The evening was drawing upon us, and it was time to go back home. But going back without taking a group photo would have just been preposterous…

Anantgiri03

Everyone was very tired on the way back. I dozed off for a while, with my headphones on, like the most of us…but sounds were still emerging from the back seats which meant that people were still not done. Around thirty minutes into the journey I woke up when we were stopped by the police for a routine check-up. Saravana was snoring on the seat next to mine. My attempt at drawing a moustache on his face failed due to the lack of better equipment (a sketch pen in this case) but I was successful in waking him up. We spent the rest of the journey contemplating our existence and talking about girls. The darkness outside and the lack of street lights on the road lent a very unique atmosphere to the bus.

Other than that nothing much exciting happened on our way back home. We made it to the city and our way through it dropping people off one by one, thanking them for their company which made the trip so special. Upon reaching the office, which was our final stop, we removed all the stuff that we had taken along with us on the bus and kept it back in the office. I drove back home after saying goodbye to PS, Gopi, Syai and Nagesh and thanking MS and Madhavi for the wonderful trip.

So, what is it about this trip that I will remember the most? The opportunity of getting to know my peers better and getting to see a side of them that can only come out on a trip like this. The location was different and beautiful in its own way, with dry leaves dotting the entire landscape. I can imagine it being plush green during spring so it is certainly worth another visit. The food, although boring to prepare was delicious to eat. The climb up and down the hill, and the game of ‘marram-pitti’ were pretty memorable too. Overall, it was a wonderful trip that served its purpose of being a relaxing break. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Author: Abijeet Patro

About Author: Abijeet Patro is a solution architect at Osmosys and has experience in website designing and in developing solutions using .Net technologies.

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