Friday, September 28, 2007

Clash of the Titans...

Six teams of fifteen people each. A cool game modeled on the age old game of Treasure Hunt. A very good idea to bring disparate teams in a business unit together. The game plan was perfect. And the end-result? A group of people shouting at each other at the top of their voices- fighting with the event coordinators for justice.

People came for the event fully charged- and most of them (read the losers) left with joyless sarcastic cheer and the others (read the winners) left with some gifts and empty hoots of hurrays. Empty because they were already so tired fighting for the win- it did not seem like a win anymore.

The idea behind the game was to entertain the people involved- to get them to know each other in a setting which was outside the context of work. But what ended up happening was a bitter group of unruly people ready to climb up on chairs and tables to prove their point.

What went wrong with an event which started off with such a good idea? The fact that the coordinators were not well prepared and the organization could definitely have been better added to the fiasco- and am sure that they can and will learn from these shortcomings. But the next time- they would need to do more than just organize it- they need to know how to tame the people they are trying to cater to...

I guess it is difficult to entertain a bunch of intelligent people, each one of whom is as ambitious as the other, each one of whom has stood first in their class in school/college, each one of whom is an ace performer at the workplace. When such people are pitted against each other- we must expect fireworks. Their only aim is to win. And when they see something or someone trying to stop that from happening- bang! Out come all the intellectual weapons loaded with huge amounts of verbal sarcasm.

I was once chosen as one of the anchors for an Antakshari contest in the company. When the event coordinator met me- he looked at me with a surprised look and said-
You almost look like a fresher! You are going to compere it?"
"Why- yes I am.. Are you unsure about whether I would be able to present it well..?"
"Oh no no- not at all... I have no doubts about your verbal and presentational skills... But you have to remember- when the teams start playing- it is not a game anymore- it is like being on the war-front... Are you sure you want to do this..?"
"Well thanks for the warning sir.. But I think I can handle this"
I was amused at what the coordinator had said- and I was thinking to myself- how bad can it get! It's a simple game.

And as I look back- I know I have never been more mistaken in my life. I had to tame those teams like a ring master- they were like wild animals on the loose- and the audience would just add fuel to the fire. After the contest- my co-anchor said "Priyanka- today I saw your Kali maataa roop" and I replied back saying "Today I saw the raakshas in all those brilliant engineers who come across as perfect sophisticates when you meet them in the hallway or in the pantry".

Yesterday evening, as I watched everyone around me fight- I was wondering- why was the purpose lost on them? Why are they playing it as if it is a matter of life and death. Being passionate about it is fine- and in fact- I would not allow myself to play the game if I wasn't into it completely. But is that passion itself not the biggest reward in a game like this?! Is enjoying oneself not the first prize in a group activity like this? I played it with full spirit and enjoyed the adrenalin rush to the hilt as we searched for clues.. I enjoyed myself completely as I looked at all the clues with my teammates to figure out the answer. And it was my moment of glory when the answer occurred to me in a flurry of mental activity. Those moments were more precious to me than the presentation ceremony later.

But it is and will remain the truth that most people that I saw around me yesterday- entered the game to win it- and win it at any cost. For them- it was not a way to relax and interact with people- it was just another way to prove themselves. And that is exactly where the fun element disappeared completely.

I don't mean to sound like a monk here- I love the limelight and I love being acknowledged (yeah well- am human!). But fighting to get acknowledged by proving others wrong... Hmm.. Not my cup of tea.

All those people who were fighting yesterday did not realize a simple thing- they did not need a silly game to prove their capabilities to anyone. All of them are already winners in their own right.

Everyone has to struggle to make a mark- and the initial step of making this mark involves the acknowledgment by some people (parents/teachers/managers/family/society). Once that mark is made- we need to stop depending on their acknowledgment to certify our capabilities. We need to grow up and scale ahead. After a certain point, the best acknowledgment and appreciation comes from us- and it is called contentment... :)

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Blogger Sangram said...

थोडेसे off track होईल ... पण गाणे आठवले तुझे वाचून ...

ईश्वर अल्लाह ... तेरे जहामे
नफरत क्यू है ... जंग है क्यू!
तेरा दिलतो ईतना बडा है ...
ईन्सांका दिल .. तंग है क्यू!

12:50 AM  
Blogger Vishal Maheshwari said...


10:43 AM  

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