Friday, January 7, 2011

Parties with strangers are the ones most interesting - Part 1

Everyone has been going gaga over the new year and how wonderful it's going to be. Yet, a week of 2011 has passed and I don't share the enthusiasm that has suddenly engulfed the world.

Turns out, I haven't been able to get over my relationship with 2010 yet, to be able to look at 2011 with the same love.

Starting from the orientation trip to Ranikhet, where none of us knew each another, to the Aurobindo orientation trip to Puducherry, where many of us still didn't know each other, it's been a worthwhile experience.

The first trip reminded me of how our school trips used to be - memorable. It was not just the place you explored, but the people you went with, too.

The gang, though a few are missing.
We were allotted rooms with randomly chosen room mates, which was a great ice-breaker. Now I know what arranged marriages must feel like :P living with a stranger is sure fun, for the first few days at least. I was lucky to get one of the most interesting persons in my class as room mate, Priam (way to go, Miss photographer!).

View from the room
The view from our rooms was beautiful! It was reminiscent of the view points that tourist guides take you to on hill stations and show mountain peaks through telescopes. Here, we didn't need any telescopes. Just go to the balcony and see massive snow-covered mountain peaks with the yellow streak of the sun peeking through, hazy surroundings blurring the scene as clouds came over - the scene is almost like that typical drawing children make - the one with the mountains, the sun and the river. Thanks Gunjan, for the beautiful resort

The BIG bright roses
Unlike what people might tell you about rains and the hills, the rainy season is the best time to go to Ranikhet. The place was so beautifully green, all washed and clean with bright orange and yellow flowers standing out.

I have been to quite a few hill stations in India and Ranikhet definitely features among the top 3. It is not as commercialized as Shimla or Mussoorie, thanks to the army presence. It has a bigger green cover than many others, is more peaceful and quiet, gets less tourists and has a relatively low population.
Nature walk

But moving on from the beauty of the place to the things we did there - A team of mountaineers had arrived from Delhi to organize a number of interesting activities for us - nature walks (filled with interesting anecdotes from their mountaineering expeditions), team-building games (great ice-breakers, a lot fun and too many to expand on here), adventure sports (slithering, river crossing without a river) bonfire fun (complete with scary ghost stories, poor jokes, hard puzzles and an entangling game we used to play as kids, I can't remember the name of). 
The team for the play
Next came the presentation all of us had to prepare to capture the genius loci (contact me to learn what that is :P) of the place. I had a lot of fun working on the script of the play we had created. The play was the fictional love story of Raja Sukherdev and Rani Padmini, after whom Ranikhet has been named. I don't how much we managed to make the audience laugh, but we were rofl the entire time.

At night, we celebrated Eric's (our Associate Dean) one year anniversary in India, with a yum cake. His kids had joined us for the trip. They are just so adorably cute! Eli with all his energy and the long-tailed "Whyyys" :P and Mika, my TT partner in Ranikhet ;) A live orchestra played in the mess hall for a few nights. It was nice sitting in the room, sipping hot soup and listening to the musicians sing. The lead singer sung the sad romantic numbers with a strange passion. Lost love?

The last night in the resort
The last day in the resort was the best night of the whole trip. Most of us had bonded well by that time and had found our groups. And so we sat in Preeti's room and played the age-old games of Dumb Charades and Truth and Dare. I got the dare to climb into Aaron and group's balcony around midnight, decked in a white bed sheet with my hair open and falling on my face, to scare them all. But I managed to scare Aaron even before I stepped onto the balcony. His face was literally white when I saw it! Apparently, he got scared by the whispers we were making in my attempt to climb over, and the glimpses of the white sheet he could see in the night.

But the best dare was given to Manisha, who had to go to Bejoy's room (our other Associate Dean) again around midnight, and ask him if she could have something vegetarian instead of omelettes for breakfast next morning. All, except one dish in our meals, were vegetarian. But Bejoy was too sleepy to notice that. He just answered with a, "Sure, okay" :P and closed the door.

The cafe was called "The Cafe"
I remember this person in the group who would pass smiles at me, on and off, without reason, and I would never understand why. I would just think - what a sweet person. And now we're great friends, Radha!

And last, but not the least, on the last day of the trip, a group of us (Radha, Dodo, Nehal, Abhay and I) went to a nearby cafe. It had a very interesting decor, with artifacts from all across India. Great view and an interesting owner. She keeps rabbits and a dog in her house, which is built just below the cafe. A must visit if you ever go to Ranikhet.

That's all I can remember about the trip for now. Have fun!

P.S - Part 2 of the post coming soon - Time spent on campus.


  1. While reading your blog I was reminded of the wonderful and exciting time we had in Ranikhet thanks for bringing back all the good memories Ira..this trip did a lot in bringing all of us together and making us good FRIENDS!

  2. Radha! I just called you :P I have to add something about you in the blog. I loooved the Ranikhet trip. Lovely place, lovely time, lovely idea (whosoever's).

  3. Beautifully written ira!!! You just brought back all the happy memories of Ranikhet trip. No doubt it was one of the most memorable trips I have had in life. Dunno we all will ever get a chance to go on such a trip again, what with all of us going to get busy with our internships and all...but your blog shall definitely stay in my heart and on the desktop of my lappy :P...Thank you for writing it !! Love you !!

  4. Awwww! I am so touched Nehal! You're welcome You'll have this on your desktop! A BIG hug :) Am happy I could capture those memories in the blog. It'd be so much fun to come back to it after 5 or 10 years and read it and remember these times. Love you too!

  5. Nicely written :) I loved the way u collected and structured the trip in your post :) your blogs have always been must reads.. this post gives more reasons for coming back :O

  6. Coming back? Where are you going? And now I want to go to Ranikhet again! Thank you so much Dodo!


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