Every now and then, offices come up with themed weeks to celebrate some cause. Mine is no different and this week we are in the midst of celebrating our brand colours. The week began with a competition. Employees were encouraged to bring food in our brand colours. For obvious reasons, there was no dearth of green coloured contributions. However, the blue coloured ones were a challenge. The most enterprising of the lot had made parathas with beetroot and jamuns that gave a rich blue tinge. I watched fascinated as the other dishes appeared – blue cakes, blue pancakes, blue sev puri. However, when it was time for the free food counters to be thrown upon to the audience, I did not judge. Filling my plate with all the delectable and weird stuff was the work of a moment. Then, engulfed in my personal reverie, I spent a good fifteen minutes stuffing my face and pondering upon the wisdom of telling the participants stuff like ‘thanks for lifting my Monday blues with these blues’.
The last time there was an office celebration, I had been a participant. We were all split into groups. Each group had to paint a pot, make an object with oil paper and create a rangoli with the materials available. I came back from a meeting to realize that I was captain of my team. My enterprising team members had spent the afternoon laughing at other teams’ inadequate efforts at creativity, clearly unbothered by the fact that we had nothing to show at all. I quickly passed on the oil paper work to a colleague who usually dressed well (after all, he must have a good sense of colours and designs). I took on the pot painting job myself. The rest of the boisterous, mostly mid-twenty guys were given the rangoli job. With twenty minutes to finish time, we all worked furiously, but independently and deposited our contributions just in time.
One team had an elaborate rangoli with bits of oil paper sticking to it and the decorated pot in the middle. Another had a uniform colour scheme throughout. I looked at my team’s contribution. A limp bit of oil paper was floating on the wall behind the rangoli. My brightly painted yellow pot, celebrating India’s independence was below it. And then there was the rangoli.
As my colleague pointed out, her five year old daughter did better in art class at school. There was a flower. A geometric design. Something that looked like a cricket bat. It could have been modern art. On the other hand there was a strong case for it to be classified as futuristic art. The kind of stuff that could feature in science fiction novels. At any rate, when the judges came by, they were not impressed by our theme of ‘lateral thinking’.
But we really couldn’t have cared less. The food stalls had opened up and some divine sandwiches, sev puris and chocolate milk shakes were being given out. As the other teams yelled loudly at having been declared winners, my own team bonded quietly over the noises of us chomping. We had realized that there was likely to be a shortfall in some of the dishes, and we wanted to gobble up as much as we possibly could.
Food was plentiful yesterday too during the arts and craft competition. It had been organised for children of employees but for some strange reason, the hall was filled with employees putting together handcrafted lamps, bags and even a robot (yeah, we are good at the sci-fi stuff). Only one colleague had brought her four year old son. Despite all her entreaties to him to draw a melting igloo to represent global warming, her son decided to follow his own plan of drawing a rocket. It was quite an elaborate rocket with grooves. There was also a ladder next to it. After much persuasion by his mother, he finally drew a tiny igloo that looked like it had melted from the blast of the rocket rather than macro issues. In the end, he spelt his name backwards in big bold letters ‘AYRA’. I love kids. Esp when they prove to hyper-competitive parents that drawing something that links up to a big world issue is just not fun. My colleague found it funny too and both of us laughed over the sandwiches while Arya’s head bobbed up and down as he coloured the rocket.
In the end, I must say that notwithstanding a healthy cynicism towards such themed week celebrations, I do enjoy the binging that comes with it. My own personal theme could probably be summed up as – free food? Bring it on!