It was in the evening of mid-July that we got a mail regarding a poll for the annual Xoxoday outing and we got excited. We were asked to choose one of the three options and the place which got the maximum votes was to be plundered. The options looked like:
- RD’s Nature Retreat
We were into voting for “Wonderla” and believed it would be a popular destination among the locals. A few days later, the winner was announced and to everyone’s surprise, it was “Club Cabana”. Probably this is how democracy works. However, we never complained as the place was heavenly.
A day before the outing, we were informed about another task – A two-minute performance by the new batch of joinees. What we thought as an easy task of just two minutes proved to be a humongous job to be done. One amongst us was a good dancer who had quite a fan-following in Youtube while most of us (non-dancers) had to shake our legs and that too, in sync for a good 120 seconds. A popular folk song was chosen for that rustic desi feeling. The few steps we had was just done in flat 15 minutes.
Joining the clumsy steps, next morning we found ourselves boarding a bus from the office to Club Cabana. Upon our arrival, there was quite a good welcoming session at the resort. Like bonded labourers, we were branded with a wrist band which made sure we could be easily identified as a herd.
The amateur photographer is present in all of us. Like a phoenix it rises each time we visit some wonderful locations. Everyone was found to clicking random pictures starting from leaves to fancy dustbins. We even shot some slow-motion shots where two of us became goons and bashed up a friend who acted like a hero.
In the countryside, the sight of a flying plane is a luxury. Here, in Club Cabana, we could spot flights every now and then. We then came up with an idea to click ourselves with the plane in the background. After a lot of trails, we failed to capture the plane. We got elated when eventually the plane was captured in the shot with me staring at the plane in pride. The picture came out to be not as what we had expected, it was too difficult to make out the Grey plane amidst a Grey patch of cloud in the Grey sky. After a lot of brainstorming sessions, someone came up with a brilliant idea. The picture was later uploaded on social media with a red circle encircling the plane (easily identifiable) saving me from the embarrassment of ogling at the sky for no reason.
Now let me tell you about the food. A beautiful canopy had been set up on the Garden, and we were the first ones waiting in a queue to devour the offerings. If I had to describe it in a single word it was mesmerizing. The Pulao had the aroma of nutmeg, the rice was long-grained, and had been steamed to perfection. It wasn’t excessively oily either. The chicken Chettinad that is roasted chicken in a red gravy cooked over long hours – was simply delicious and reminded me of a similar authentic taste like a popular eatery. And the butter naans were the best I’d had in a very long time – soft, moist, flavourful and strangely light. The dessert table had to offer delightfully soft and hot Gulab Jamuns filled with flavoured sugar syrup and on top of it, a generous helping of frothy ice-cream taking its own time to melt.
The atmosphere was filled with chats and laugher, and roaring water with artificial waves almost reaching the area where we dined. We hopped on to the slides. It required to climb up the stairs and wait for the turn. Looking behind, I could see flocks of enthusiasts had crowded behind me, like scavengers hovering around a stale prey. We’re all waiting for our chance to put ourselves on the tube and rush down the slide. As the queue was getting shorter, fear crept in. My heart pounding so loudly I felt others staring at the sound. Reluctantly, I moved forward, gulped a great deal of saliva down the throat. I placed the blue plastic tube on the slide. Holding it tightly, as if it was my only survival kit after Titanic went down the ocean. Timidly I positioned myself on the tube as instructed by the attendant who smiled before waving me goodbye. Three…two ..one..a silent prayer and I went off. I was riding faster than a bullet train with gravity acting as the propellant. I was slipping and sliding, my voice box clamored to shout out loud but no voice came out. The water had a malodorous smell of a disinfectant all over. I desperately waited for the rode to come to an end. Towards the end I was ejected like a rocket, swirling in the air before it landed on the water with a splash. Felt silly for being afraid of a small ride.
The return journey was even more fun. I believe many wanted to dance even after the deadline of 6 pm was over. They had to be pulled out of the area. That remaining part was quenched in the bus. The aisle was made the dance stage and one of our colleagues dance his heart out. Interestingly he danced on all the item numbers ranging from the ’60s to last year’s. There was a huge demand for his grooves and the co-passengers. We clapped and cheered all through the way. Even the tiresome Bangalore traffic couldn’t dampen our spirits.
Going on the trip was the ideal impetus for joy, as it enabled us to encounter the regular, social and man-made marvels of the city. Being in a great spot, it constantly motivated me to venture out of my usual range of familiarity and absolutely it was complete bliss to share the outing was my companions.