The Inner Circle Trip : Organized at different places of the world to appreciate the efforts individual put into company’s growth. I am a Proud “Inner Circle Winner” and here is my experience……
Day 1 : 17th March 2011 : Zuri Kumarakom
Starting our journey from beautiful Delhi T-3 terminal in morning, we reached Cochin by 4:00 pm and welcomed by people at the airport, who took us to the Zuri Kumarakom.
Free Time was given to us to relax after the long journey, but we were already very late so got ready for the welcome dinner. We joined the rest of winners and their guests at the Inner Circle welcome dinner by the pool this evening at 7:00. The dress code this evening is smart casual. Francois Eloy our CCS division head gave the short Welcome speech and then we were served with delicious Keralalite cuisine well planned by Inner Circle team for us.
There were special “Inner Circle” menu card to choose from the Buffet, all the people at The Zuri was very pleased to help us and also to locate the people/colleagues in the crowd of 97 people from all across the world. Robyn helped me to meet Marc, my boss (CES Division – FD) and also arranged a surprise Birthday cake for Suzzane (HR France). We all enjoyed and were all set to enjoy our very earned events at Kerala.
Day 2 : 18th March 2011 : The Temple Festival
We got up early to explore the Zuri and beautiful surroundings including the vast expanse of Vembadam Lake. The Beauty all around was really breath-taking. Around 8:30 we had our Breakfast and the whole group was ready to move to a Local Village in Kerala to take part in a traditional Temple Festival.
It took around an hour to reach the place and as soon as we arrived, saw three elephants, uniquely decorated and surrounded by people worshiping and enjoying the festival.
We clicked several individual/Group photographs with elephants, localities and temple visitors. On our return from the festival we had lunch in one of the hotel restaurants. We were given the vouchers to cover the cost of lunch for two.
We along with all other Indian friends/colleagues went for Kerala message and by the time we were through with the massage, setting was all set to “Indian Cooking Competition”. We had been given two recipes by the chief of The Zuri, to prepare by all competing team. Our team had Girish as a Head Chef and I was the Assistant cook together with Neil Bert, Jobby Jose and last but not the least Francious Eloy (You are fabulous). Unfortunately we could not win but really enjoyed cooking Karimeen and Adiappa. We all enjoyed the fabulous meal with a great discussion on India with Francois and Alice.
Day 3 : 19th March 2011 : The Snake Boat Race and House Boat Experience
We got up early and by 9:30 gathered in the Hotel Foyer to leave. We traveled by boat to a Local Village while exploring, The Backwaters. The Keralan backwaters are a chain of lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (Known as Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in Southern India. The Network has more than 900k of waterways and includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man-made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of the Kerala state and extending virtually half the length of the Kerala state.
In the midst of this landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which serve as the startling end points of backwater cruises. The Backwaters have a unique ecosystem – Freshwater from the rivers meet the seawater from the Arebian Sea. In certain areas, such as the Vembanad Kayal, where a barrage has been built near Kumarakom, salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact.
Crossing all those beautiful natural surrounding, we reached the destination to participate in a Chundan Vallam boat race, known as Kerala Snake Boat to the outside world – one of the icons of the Kerala culture and used in the annual Vallamkali(boat race).
Some of us also participated in the third round of the boat race and some of us watched them enjoyed them doing so.
In our way back we headed towards our House boat to cover the journey back to the hotel. We spent more than 3 hours in the house boat and we even tried our hands on to the House boat wheels after enjoying delightful Keralite Lunch served in the house boat.
We had the opportunity to watch daily life unfold on and around the water and see the small settlements where people live on the river banks.
Once we came back to the hotel, and decided to enjoy some time in the pool. Evening we had live performances by talented peoples including a Bharatnatyam performance showing us all the “Mudras”. We thoroughly enjoyed the performances and the dinner and called it a day off.
Day 4 : 19th March 2011 : Back to Kochi (Vivanta by Taj ) and CSR activity.
We started our second destination of the trip to the Cochin. Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the India Peninsula in the Scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the informal name ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.
We reached to the “Gateway of Kerala” by 1:00 pm and had our Lunch in “The Boat Rice” restuarant besides the lake and watching cute Dolphins. By afternoon we were all set to visit the St. Thomas Girls School. Rakesh and, our CEO and his family joined us to visit the school. It was beautiful Sunday afternoon and all the kids were really happy to see all of us there and welcomes us with their performances.
In line with our CSR policy which supports “Children and Education” and working in partnership with the Indian Round Table Society, Colt has built a much needed science laboratory over the last few months at the school with all the necessary equipments.
Today, as a team we helped them with the finishing touches, play some Basket Ball games with the kids and Rakesh also officially opened the new science laboratory for lessons to start the first week of April. Some of us also distributed books and crayons we brought with us for the kids. (Although we did miss our Holi Festival today but never mind these kids and their excitement helped us forgetting everything)
By 4:30 we were back into the Taj Malabar and supposed to get ready by 7: 00 to leave for Gundu Island for formally getting our awards. It was truly an Indian Atmosphere on that private island and we were welcomed in a traditional way including performances like Kathakali and Kerala Martial Arts. We also had a small dance party and obvious we enjed that thouroughly, and so did all the foreigners.
Day 5 : 21st March 2011 : Shoppppppping Tour
Next morning we went for shopping in Kochi and bought some Spices, gifts for relatives and colleagues.
At the evening we were suppose to get ready by 7:00 to get to Greenix Village for Farewell Dinner. This was an exciting evening where we experiences, Indian Martial Arts, Traditional Keralan theater and Kathakali, an Indian Dance Drama noted for the attractive makeup of characters, elaborated costumes, detailed gestures and well defined body movements presented in the tune with music and percussion.
We enjoyed all the performances and also the Museum their, have a look at the pictures below.
Finally the trip ended giving a nostalgic feeling to all of us……. Why so soon…..