Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Joy from Pains- 3 cheers for Value Lanes!

I am in pain.
My shoulders and arms are paining  so much that I cannot stretch my hands while yawning. My cramped leg muscles makes me say "Ouch" on every movement, and due to my sprained neck, I can only look straight; as if I am very determined to follow the value "Look Forward in Life"!

No doubt I am in pain.
But surprisingly, this pain is beautiful, and I am loving it!

I am loving this tiredness because it is the result of the two wonderful days spent at Value Lanes(, Averahalli, Bangalore.  These days were filled with physical activities, ranging from walking on sticks and ropes, climbing 10 ft walls, swinging on ropes, climbing tyre walls, walking blindfolded on rope bridges, or building a raft and set sail in the lake.... and what is more; learning a value from each of these activities.

Belonging to the virtual world of the IT industry, I barely do these kind of exercises in my mundane routine. I got this rare opportunity to enjoy and learn values, along with 59 other people- all new to these challenges... and it was great fun!!

Our mornings started with Col Arun Dhar (Yes, from his name you can imagine his sharpness with time and rules); with Col Dhar shouting "So, Are You Ready?", and all of us answering on the top of our voices: "YES!!", so that we may hear the echo reflected from the hill nearby. However, he had to ask us at least thrice to raise our energy level to produce such loud reply! :D

We had teams made randomly prior to each activity; and the teams had to plan and carry out those within the time constraints.Each activity had some value could be related to it. Well, Team Work was the basic value, the under current of all the tasks.

Our first activity was called Human Ski, where 6 of us, as a team had to cover a certain distance using 2 bamboo sticks, with only 2 legs allowed to touch the ground at a time.  So, my team planned to tie our feet to the two sticks; keeping free the right leg of the person at front and left leg of the person at the back. However, we did not care about the quality of the knots- and so we tripped on every step we took!  It was fun however; and we learned the importance of quality.

Next we had the dynamic obstacle challenge where 6 sub teams had to finish a set of activities, and the success of the whole team was dependent on the success of each and every individual team. It was really awesome!! The obstacle was that we had to move all team members and a half filled aluminum buckets (representing confidential data) from one phase to the other; but without touching the ground. To our aid, we were given bamboo sticks and ropes( representing limited resources). On the way we had some raised structures in different shapes and size, as you can see above; or hanging ropes and tyres too. So, we had to walk on sticks from one step to the other; or use  swinging tyres to reach the other side.
it seemed next to impossible:- walking on a bamboo stick-  some said:- come on man, have you seen my weight? But lo! It actually went successfully, and we did realize our hidden  potentials. Nothing is impossible my friends!

Trekking was fun too. Though it was too early for some of us ( Normally, we never get up and going before 9-10 am!)We had to climb a hill. That was comparatively easy; but while retuning,  many from the group blindfolded, and a few had there mouth covered. Then we were told to get back to our tents. The dumb people were supposed to guide the human train comprising of the blind. Initially we were not sure how to do this, then with some form of communication like claps and cracking knuckles; to our own surprise- WE DID IT! It was all about communication between the team members, and trust. Well, our trust on each other  no doubt, touched epitomes; because we were unafraid to walk even if a blind person was leading us! (However that should not have been done) :p

Now, this was a tyre wall. One had to climb up from one side, reach the top, and then get down from the other side. It may be looking easy, but it was not!!

For me, it was a different experience.
I climbed up, sat on top, turned, took a step to reach the top most layer of tyres; and then had a free fall. It was as if the ground was going down as I was approaching it!
I did fall, and sent shock waves to people around me; who jumped in from all corners in order to see if I am still in my senses. Thank God, I was!
Being my first fall, I would say it was great! I was hurt, but the excitement and people  around me made me more than comfortable. It was scary, but fun.

With the day done and almost no energy left, we dragged ourselves back to the camp late evening.
However, we always have the spirit and energy for the DJ night- dancing on the 'catchy numbers' being played, enjoying the camp fire and the rain.. It was super duper fun!!

The medical helpers of the value lanes team; Jespin and Abhilash donned the DJ hats, and made it a rocking evening.
With campfire and soft drinks, it just got better and better!

By the end of it, we were all wet due to the rain dance;  nevertheless, we were enjoying it. Though we had to get up early the next morning, we continued the evening merriment past midnight, chit chatting and playing games like Mafia. Sleep was eluding us, even though we were dead tired!
Staying in camps and enjoying nature around us - we all enjoyed our time :)

Welcoming the next morning with half opened eyes, we suddenly found that this time, our lives are at stake. Yes, we had to build our own raft, and test it by reaching to the centre (and back) of the Manchenbele lake using the rafts we built. We were provided with tyres, bamboos, and jut+cotton ropes; and the classic time restraint of 30 minutes. This was the best activity of all- partly because all of us made it in time and mostly because we felt excited looking at water itself. While sailing, whenever we felt the raft is going the wrong way, we would start singing loudly, in order to reduce the tension while the rowers directed our adventure.

All together- it was a great experience, great learning and great fun!
Perhaps, the values learnt this way cannot be taught in a closed class room, where our sharp minds would be thinking of ways to make the clock tick faster and run away ASAP. Here it was  the opposite- we were thinking of ways to slow the clock speed, so that we stay a little longer!

It was a wonderful learning.  We learnt to be self reliant, and sharpened aur creative and innovative skills. We discovered a lot about ourselves; how we react to situations, and judged our own weaknesses and skills.

A big thank you to the team at value lanes, and Col Dhar, for making our stay a rocking one- and for making the learning process interesting. As one of my friends pointed out, it was a paid vacation- and a trip from which we carried a lot of things back with us in form of values.

 Thank you once again, and hope to go to another such session soon!