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Gasping for breath… trying to get out of the water… Hitting the overturned raft… No air… MUST. GET. AIR. Diving down, swimming across and finally coming out of the water for a mouthful of precious air. But only to get b***# slapped in the face by the Ganga. More disorientation…

Here at AGL when we do something, we really do it. After 2 odd years of working here I thought I had pretty much seen everything there was to see, but man was I wrong! After doing USD 1 million-plus last quarter for Google we were awarded with an all expense paid trip to the holy land of Rishikesh. It included AGL’s very own ‘team bonding’ exercise. How do teams normally bond? We would have none of that nancy pancy management non sense of building boats and holding hands. AGL’s idea of team bonding is, putting its entire office on rafts for 22 kms of non-stop rowing which includes some really wicked rapids that toss your raft over like paper boat. If you survive, you may come back to office and ‘work’. I dare say I feel bonded for life with my raft mates after surviving the raft toss.
What’s more, if you are caught snoozing in office these days, your boss just coughs while crossing your aisle. A cough that sounds a lot like ‘Rishikesh’. Promptly received with ‘I am up… I am up!!’
In all fairness, Rishikesh won’t be forgotten soon. For all the right reasons. The beautiful mountains that look down on you, the beautiful river bed and the mighty river herself. The crackling bonfire and songs in our heart and a sky full of Lucys forming constellations you have never seen in your life! Top it all with awesome food and endless fun (read ball throwing on the beach).
By the way, a random sample survey seems to indicate that the married men really did not want to come back from Rishikesh. Just some food for thought.

If I don’t remember how I got in the water, which raft hit what, I remember every nanosecond spent surrounded by The Ganga from all sides. Like being truly alive to each moment. I was pulled out of water that day and I have moved on with my life since. But I left something behind that day.

After my rebirth (yes, that’s what I am calling it now), I broadcasted the news on social network with many a exclamation marks. The most apt concern came from a love interest, “I hope you did not displace too much water. Those are holy waters after all.”

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