Lao Tzu is one of my favorite philosophers and he has this famous quote which reads, “Act without Expectations”.
It resonates with me so much because, I as an individual have a lot of expectations for certain things, I’m sure you might have as well. And when those expectations don’t meet the set criteria, I’m appalled. Aren’t you?
But the one underlying factor one must consider here is that expectations are set over a period of time. So, the experiences that are a result of decisions which are arbitrary in nature are actually the ones worth living for and is precisely what I term An Experience of a Lifetime.
One such experience was me going and attending the Kengeri Campus Orientation. And it happened so erratically that I didn’t even have time to think about anything, let alone having the say in the decision whether to go or not.
It was just a few days before the orientation that one of my friends informed me that the coach wanted me to attend the orientation. And I was like, “Fine I’ll go” though being completely unaware of the fact that we had to actually stay in Kengeri campus for a day. And that too I realized when they gave me some stupid indemnity contract to be signed by either my parents or local guardians. What a crisis I faced. I did not have either of them staying, so I ended up getting it signed from my pg neighbor who happens to be working at Accenture. You should have seen that look on her face when she signed it. It was as if she was just experiencing some mid-life crisis by being a local guardian.
Anyways, the morning of 18 August was an unusual one because that is when I left for Kengeri Campus and landed amidst an exuberantly beautiful & peaceful campus and met some of the most phenomenally passionate people in my entire life.
I’ll try to describe almost everything that happened there further in the blog post but before that, I would like to talk about “Carpe Diem”. If you have watched the beautiful movie Dead Poets Society you might as well recall the scene wherein Mr. Keats asks his students to see and observe some alumni pictures and then suddenly whispers those two magical words “Carpe Diem” which literally translates to “Seize the day”, And that one and half day at Kengeri Campus were definitely those. Don’t you agree “O Captain, My Captain?”
So, we commenced the orientation session by being segregated into teams of six. And what a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (You might want to google the meaning of the word) team I got, that we ended up not even completing the first two tasks. There is a difference between failing a task and not even completing it. And the latter is precisely what our team experienced. We were the number one team, from the bottom of the score tally. But kudos to the efforts of the captain, and the entire team for the fear of not completing the third task was stranded in the middle by uncountable words of encouragement and the sheer willingness to keep all the egos and opinions aside, to work as a team, as a family, and as the real Thalaivas.
And that’s where our winning streak started. The third task was to assemble 15 newly issued 10 rupees notes from the entire campus by any means possible. Luckily by hook or by crook we got hold of 17 of them and got 5 points for finishing third.
That one win got this fresh breeze of enthusiasm and synchronization in our team that Team one actually became number one in the score tally. But the highlight of the whole process of winning and for us most importantly completing the task was that we never, even for once, forgot to include the element of fun in our recipes. Be it the Kiki dance, the Barbie dance, walking on three wooden tiles, making the longest chain with all our possessions or even the marshmallow activity, we always made sure to experience a blatant joy with whatever we did.
The final challenge that would decide the winner of the day was to prepare a dance performance on a parody which included songs like Kala Chasma, Let’s Nacho and the Humma Song. The steps were simple, the energy unfathomable and euphoria had no limits. Despite the one hour prep, I admit that I forgot some dance steps and ended up being the wildest dancer in the group, yet it was just like the Sam Smith way “I know I’m not the only one”.
Though we didn’t win, we didn’t lose too. None of my teammates I’m sure experienced even a tinge of sadness for we know that making new friends, developing a memorable bond, learning through experiences such as failing to even complete the task, experiencing Carpe Diem moments is any day far more important than winning a prize (Though that would have been a cherry on the cake).
In a nutshell, day one was more of collaborative tasks with most of them being physical activities and day two was purely dedicated to self-reflection and pure introspection.
Talking to strangers about your three life-defining moments or basically opening up about your entire life by drawing your river of life is not an easy task to do. But somehow everyone did it, everybody emerged victorious.
My biggest takeaway from the above-mentioned activity like everyone’s else was that we often tend to be so much judgemental in our lives, But if only we could pause for a moment and listen to other person’s story is when we’ll realize how much wrong our perception was, how much wrong our judgment was. The story of my life is what makes me, my looks and attitude don’t. For a book can never be judged by its cover.
Furthermore, the second biggest takeaway was that we should always, always share our stories. Afterall, at the end of the day we all our storytellers’ and thanks to social media for that. Also, I think even sharing dark memories and desolate pieces of our lives should be encouraged. Maybe not publically but on a personal level if possible because it might as well lighten your soul, if not your mood.
Subsequently, in the last of activity of the orientation programme I got a chance to be the captain and the task in hand was to cross a pyramid made from wooden tiles by making a human chain, compounded with a lot of complicated rules. We duly finished this task and afterward had a thoughtful brainstorming session with our facilitator for the orientation wherein we not only reflected on our errors but learned a lot about crisis management and in words of Mr. Abhishek learned the “Necessity of being in sync”.
And as it’s said, “All good things must come to an end” so did this orientation too. After the last activity, we packed and left on to embark on our own journeys with some long-lasting memories and power packed experiences.
And the day just like me reposed and dusk took over.