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Adventure incorporated

Away from office projects, a corporate team unwinds in the great outdoors, writes W. SREELALITHA

Photos K. Ananthan

ONE WITH NATURE Two days of fun and team building

After a nearly-one-km downhill trek to the camp from where the vehicles leave us, it is wonderful to be welcomed by cups of piping hot tea.

It is a two-day outbound programme for a 30-member corporate team from Bangalore, and one decides to check out what it has to offer. Fifteen-year-old Adventure India has set up the camp, and taken up the task of team building in a fun way.

Away from the bustle

The camp is nestled away from the bustle of the city and amidst heavily silent green slopes of tea at Adabettu near Kotagiri. What strikes you the most is the near-total absence of concrete structures. Instead, tents stand tall — in various sizes and colours! Each tent has mattresses and hugely impressive sleeping bags. There are dining tables, too inside. Why, even the rest rooms are in there. And, squeaky clean, at that!

After wolfing down breakfast, the fun begins. The first game. The team is divided into two, and is separated by a net. The groups (along with a bucket of water) must cross over to the other side, with just a few resources and plenty of constraints thrown in. A leader is chosen for each team. However, each individual comes up with a plan, and under their collective shouts, the leaders’ voices are soon unheard. While a few ideas are taken, many die amidst strong protests. The entire team is penalised for an error committed by one individual. So, from the agreed 45 minutes, the game goes on for over twice as much time.

In the second game there are three groups on different islands. One group is blind, and one other, dumb. These two groups must cross a corrosive path to reach the safe zone in the centre, where the third group waits. The groups are allotted a total of 30 minutes.

Here again, each one comes up with an idea. The members of the dumb team wave their hands and gesture frantically, while the blind team shouts for assistance. The clock ticks, chaos prevails, and finally, even after close to an hour they are clueless, and give up, as lunch beckons. The game is a test of communication skills, logical thinking and different levels of management.

In the last event for the day, there are three types of tight rope walking. A few jump at it right away, many others test the waters, and a couple decide it is too much of a hassle to even try. Encouraging hands come together every time a difficult level is completed, especially by women. Occasionally people lose grip and dangle mid air, and deal with hoots and jeers of colleagues seated comfortably many feet below!

After an anthakshari-filled night around the campfire, we all turn in, into the warmly comfortable tents.

Next morning we wake up to the best part of the programme: a two-hour trek to Mist’ea Valley and back. Sporadically, tea twigs scratch your shin, supposedly safe behind a sturdy pair of jeans. On reaching the top, you realise every scratch was well worth it.

Across the distance, we see tall mountains cushioned under white clouds teamed together for an endless stretch. The chatty group that has been bantering all along is stunned into silence by the sheer beauty of the sight. The descent begins after posing for pictures.

You carefully watch your steps on slippery surfaces even as a few branches lunge towards you, and you hastily move away to save your eyes. It is so obviously a session in multi-tasking! On the way, trees with plump pears tempt us: a few resist, while most others succumb. So, the banter continues with large bites into the fruit.

After breakfast, we gear up for the final event: an obstacle course. The two teams set a target and strive to achieve it. After a lot of jumping, balancing and climbing, we call it a day. For lunch, we bite into hot rotis even as the sun has taken leave and the mist has come caressingly down. In a few hours, it’s time to leave and take back memories of events which built new bonds and strengthened existing ones!

Adventure India, which is into adventure sport, operates in Uttaranchal and South India. In addition to corporate programmes, it organises special tours and camps for groups, families and students. For details, call Natraj P at 98410-46831 or visit www.adventureindiatours.com

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