Office arranged picnics are usually not very exciting for they tend to keep things which make sense to a large no of people and that sort of sometime take the spunk out. This happens when you grow large and you need to remain sensitive towards a varied pool of inspirations. Interestingly our group at Adobe India is still not very large and we get to choose where we want to go, at least at a group level and we chose ‘Kikar Lodge‘ – a welcome heritage property. After fixing thing through an old friend Manav (of Getaway Jungle Camp fame), we were all set to go. Some of us chose Train and I guess that came out to be a better decision.
Day 1 – Nov 11 2006
We started early morning, took Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express which starts at 7ish in the morning and drops you at Chd in about 4+ hours. These hours were well spent courtesy good seats, regular supply of snacks and aided by a large contingent of kids of a convent school who were going to Chandigarh for some sight-seeing excursion.
From Chandigarh, we took taxis (private Scorpio, Qualis) to head towards Ropar and then to this place called Kikar Lodge. Its about 100 KMs from Chandigarh and takes about 2 hours. This property is essentially a luxury resort dug into a vast barren foresty area with lush pools, fabulous rooms, high quality toiletries (you can judge a hotel by the free shampoo it provides in your easy room) and an educated and trained staff. You sort of expect all this from a Welcome Heritage property. Even though the lodge claims to have an area of few hundred acres, that sort of doesn’t help you much as the only area which is developed is main resort.
So after getting some good lunch, some of us went to pool, some tried their hand at cricket, some people went for a jungle walk. A big round of dumb charades where people showed their hidden talents. Somehow the guessers always appear to be real stupid folks to the guy who is doing the act. Your truly like this sport very much and is an old hand. After dark, we had tambola amid drinks and snacks. Then paper-dance which was very well recd by people, more dance, more drinks, some food and finally people started to trickle up to their tents and cottages.
With a very focused team around, we had few rounds of post-drink bakwaas, some real be-sura songs and typical wise-cracks finished the evening. By this time, we were too tired to keep steady and crashed.
Rooms are very good, nice and clean with fresh bedsheets, towels, tea maker and old world furniture. After a hard day’s work, it seemed really worthwhile to spend some non-waking hours.
Day 2 – Nov 12 2006
There is a Kikar tree on a hillock in the campus, some people went there to take a aerial view of resort and to find out more about Kikar. Day started for most of us with a lovely rich breakfast and then there was pool and more pool. There are two pools there and they were pretty well kept.
The weather was pretty nice, just enough cool to give you that extra pinch for first few minutes, enough deterrent to keep you out of pool. With all the booze I had the previous evening, I was in ‘stand-by / power-save’ mode and it took a while to come back to world. But with a beautiful sun, lot of non-sense chatter over a game of water-volley ball and a general disinterest of people towards me made a ideal setup to relax and stay stoned.
Thats my daughter Pihu with Sachin’s daughter (Arushi). The smaller one is Pihu.
We had to catch the evening shatabdi so we had lunch and after a group shot, we departed towards Chandigarh. Same Kalka shatabdi dropped us back to the noisy New Delhi Railway Station and it was all over.
A good joint to go with a group.