A Weekend To Remember
Two days of pure, unadulterated fun – that’s what the entire Teks team was planning for, this weekend (5-6 April). We had animated discussions, frantic search for cool weekend destinations on the internet, and even a couple of heated arguments – before Mandarmani was zeroed in on. Those who were willing to get on board were asked to raise hands – and everyone (that’s right, every single Teks guy and gal!) had both their hands up.
We work our socks off, but we never miss a chance to party!
An Early Start
Spring is in (well, going by the temperature, it’s practically summer!) – and we decided to start our journey as early as 7 am on Saturday, to beat the mad, mad heat. There were a few murmurs of discontent (after all, who doesn’t love to sleep an extra hour on weekend mornings?) – but everyone came around pretty quickly.
Were we punctual? You bet – everyone had assembled 15 minutes before the scheduled time!
The Journey Towards Bliss
Bliss, in this case, is alternatively known as beach magic at Mandarmani! We had a Winger and bikes for the road trip. Sharp at 7, our journey started from Park Street. Everyone was bubbling with excitement, music was on in full-blast, cameras were out – and we were warming up for the big-time fun on the horizon. Our destination was the Bombay Beach Resort, where bookings had been made well in advance.
Fun On The Way
Got into vehicles and bikes, and had a long, break-free, five-hour drive? C’mon, that’s not the Teks way! We had a fun-filled journey – and can even divide it in a timeline format:
7:00 am: Journey starts (amidst a cacophony of laughter, and the ‘vroom’ of bikes).
9:30 am: The mobile app developers, so used to slog it out for long hours at office, start feeling peckish. We have a stop at Kolaghat – and have a hearty (some of us more so than others!) breakfast.
A minor diversion here – for what is a journey chronicle without the names of the delicacies devoured by us? For our breakfast at Kolaghat, we had ‘luchi’ and ‘chhola’ – in generous proportions. Steaming mugs of tea, of course, accompanied. Filled and refreshed, we resumed our journey.
The Thrill Factor
Riding along a road completely free of potholes and bumps is a pleasurable experience, and our trip was ‘smooth’ in the truest sense of the word. At one point, the road became significantly narrow – and maneuvering the Winger and the bikes along it definitely had a thrill factor. Salman Khan probably has done more ‘toofani’ things in life – but for us, it was exciting enough!
Back To Our Journey Timeline
Okay, so where were we? Ah yes, we had resumed our trip after breakfast. This time, our timeline had more unscheduled breaks:
10:20 am: No water! It’s punishingly hot – and both vehicles and us mere mortals needed some fluids to remain going. So, we got down, made arrangements for good old H2O, and then – we had a crazy idea. Read on…
10:35 am – 11:10 am: We had a photoshoot (you read that right!) – bang in the middle of the road (Bless the Lord for low-traffic roads!). Teks t-shirts on, broad smiles on our faces, and stylish poses being a matter of ease – our impromptu photo-session was an instant hit. All of us got snapped (solo and in various combinations)…and then, we moved on.
11:50: Loads of fun later, we finally arrive at the resort. Bollywood has a lot to say about journeys (‘sair’) being more enjoyable than reaching destinations (‘manzilein’) – but we sure were happy to see the smiling faces of our weekend hosts.
The ‘Chilled’ Welcome
Say what you will about the ill-effects of carbonated drinks, nothing beats a chilled Coke after a long journey in hot weather. Welcoming drinks were served at the resort – and it took us hardly a couple of minutes to drain our glasses.
A sly sip from others’ glasses? Some of us tried that too!
And Now…The Weekend Magic!
Given the fun we had during our stay at Mandarmani, it would be a crying shame to limit its recounting to a couple of paragraphs. Let us just get back to the timeline approach – it would keep things short and crisp (as much as possible, that is!):
Saturday, April 5:
12:30 pm – Every other resort claims to be ‘seafront’, but the one we had selected was indeed practically within touching distance of the waters. We headed for the beach straightaway, and most of us had a dip in the ocean. More than an hour of water fun and frolic later, we headed back for the resort. Yes, we were HUNGRY!
2:00 pm: And a fantastic buffet was awaiting us, for pampering our gastronomic juices. We helped ourselves to repeat courses of fried rice, fried potato (‘aloo bhaaji’), mixed vegetables, and fish curry. For sweet dish, the tray of sumptuous ‘gulab jamun’-s were virtually beckoning to us!
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm – At our mobile app development company, we are an active, enthusiastic lot. Even so, after the heavy lunch, an hour’s rest was necessary. We caught a short nap (mobile alarms were set – lest we sleep along for too long), and by 4:30, we were ready to get out and about again.
5:00 pm – The time when our volleyball game started. We might have been on a fun tour, but the competition during the game was intense – and the ultimate winning team got the bragging rights for the rest of the tour.
6:10 pm – 6:50 pm – A short walk on the beach. A cool breeze was blowing, the onrushing tide was touching our feet, and more than a few stars had started appearing on the sky. Not surprisingly, a couple of us started humming a few soulful tunes. We even biked a bit along the sand.
7:00 pm – Evening snack time. Tea and coffee were served at the resort, along with crispies. We kept the snack-session short – for there were more fun plans already in store!
7:15 pm – 8:00 pm – After our previous office outing, quite a few new recruits had been hired – and all of them had tagged along for the Mandarmani trip. We now had the official Freshers’ Introduction (alternatively known as good-humored ragging’!). The newbies had to sing a bit, show off a few cool dance moves, flaunt their mimicry skills, and do some dialogue-baazi. There were some star performers, that’s for sure!
No group fun is complete without a round of Dumb Charade – and ours was no exception. There were friendly fights, sly attempts to cheat – and finally, the game ended in a draw (everyone had to feel happy, right?).
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – When Varun Dhawan crooned ‘Shanivaar Raati/Humein Neend Nahi Aati’, he was spot-on! Thanks to the excellent DJ arrangements provided by the resort authorities, all of us (including those who have two left feet) grooved to our hearts’ delight. The most in-demand songs were ‘Pajama Party’, ‘Sunny Sunny’ (ironic, for it was night!), and ‘Chaar Botal Vodka’. Quite the ‘Yo Yo Honey Singaaa’ jam session!
And Then…We Learned A New Skill
Time for a special mention of the belly-dancing lessons provided to all the dudes by none other than Hussain Sir during this time – to the tunes of ‘Mashallah’ (Ek Tha Tiger). We can’t quite match the moves of Katrina yet…but hey, we learnt to wiggle and jiggle a bit!
9:00 pm – On weekdays, this is dinner hour…and on an outstation weekend, this is the time to sink your teeth on yummy barbeque. That’s precisely what we did – and since dinner was about a couple of hours away – we did not hesitate to take quite a number of pieces each.
(Footnote: Each of us took turns to swing on the ‘jhula’ in the courtyard of the resort. Brought back childhood memories? Can’t say – we were living in the present!)
9:30 pm – 10:45 pm – They say beach air is good for digestion – but we did not think of that, while heading for the beach again, after the barbeque. This time, our quest was to find red crabs – and we found (and snapped) plenty of them. As a bonus, some of us also caught glimpses of starfishes and jellyfishes.
11:00 pm – Not that we wanted to leave the beach, but it was already late – and dinner was something not to be missed either. We heaped our plates with fried rice, jackfruit, chilly chicken (which was absolutely yum!), papad, chaatni, and gulab-jamun-s.
Good food, great place, and the main event (more on that later) still to come…what more could we ask for?
The rest of April 5 – 5:30 am on April 6
After dinner comes the burps – and after burps comes a fresh spurt of energy. We had comfy beds waiting for us, but the thought of sleeping never crossed our minds for a moment. There were wooden deck-chairs on the beach, on which we lied – gazing at the stars, doing some small talk, and in general, becoming one with nature (okay, that was a bit too poetic!).
After a long day, we were supposed to feel tired – it’s just that we kept feeling as fresh as ever.
The Mesmerizing Sunrise
The sky started lighting up with an orange glow as the hands of the clock neared 5 am, and at precisely 5:20 am, the sun made its appearance. There’s something magical about the sunrise over the horizon of the sea, causing light ripples on the water, and we were captivated by the view. Of course, some of us managed to overcome the trance – and reach for their cameras. It was indeed a moment to capture!
6:00 am – 7:50 am: The most incident-free time-stretch during our entire trip. We returned to our rooms at the resort, freshened up, and had tea/coffee. A bit of tenseness was creeping in, for the MEGA COMPETITION was about to begin!
8:00 am – 10:00 am: Drumrolls, please – for it was now the time of our much-anticipated sand-castle building competition. There were four teams (Dynamic Dudes, Deadly Demons, Speedy Spawns and Spark Plugs) – and we tried to outshine each other with our castles.
Oh, and none of us had prior experiences in building sand-castles, so this was indeed a challenge for us.
Help Comes From Unexpected Quarters
We had not carried spades and stuff for digging (oh, puhleez!) – but were fortunate enough to find makeshift tools and bars lying about on the beach. The resources we finally managed to gather to dig the sand were, in fact, enough to reach the underground water (one of us indeed dug up to that level!). Hussain Sir also chipped in with valuable tips and tidbits about castle-building.
Not all the castles ended up looking as…ahem…castles, but we gave it our best shot.
10:30 am: After hard work, comes searing hunger. Feeling very peckish after the intense digging, we got back to the resort, and devoured ‘luchi’ (6-8 of them each!), ‘aloo-r dam’ and a very tangy pickle (‘achaar’).
11:00 am – 12:30 pm: By now, you must have got an idea of our activities during this madcap weekend, right? (the beach -> eat -> beach -> eat trend, that is!). This time, Hussain Sir also accompanied us on the beach tour. We are the unputdownables, and most of us got into the water – and enjoyed another dose of wet fun.
1:00 pm – Back from the beach and freshened up, it was now time for lunch. It was a simple yet really tasty fare – with rice, lentils (‘dal’) and egg curry. As is customary with us Teks folk, none of us ate ‘little’!
2:00 pm – You know what the worst part of a weekend trip is? The point when the trip is nearing its end, and you have to head back to the regular Mon-Fri lives. We, though, did not feel much of this melancholy – simply because most of us were fast asleep during the return trip (so, after all, we were tired!). We reached Park Street at around quarter past 5 pm.
The Parting Shot
We simply had to sign off this memorable weekend on a sweet note. Getting down from the cars and bikes, we rushed to the nearest sugarcane juice vendor – and had glasses (filled to the brim) with the tasty syrup. It was also the moment that we decided on the destination of our next office outing.
Where, you ask?
Simlipal National Park, Orissa!