By Rahul Neel Mani
It's an all-fun day on a great Sunday! On 1st December 2013 at Tivoli Gardens, New Delhi, the CIOs of India (Powered by ISMF - one of the oldest CIO associations in India) organized an extraordinary event "Sachin ko CIOs ka Salaam" (CIOs Salute to Sachin Tendulkar). That was the day when a large number of CIOs from Delhi and NCR converged and were ready to fight it out among each other between the 22 yards. The popularity and greatness of the game was personified in the body language of the CIOs, their spouses and children. The atmosphere was very electric and making it even more fantastic were the add-ons. On one side the eight smart teams (consisting seven CIOs a side) were ready with their arsenal and armory, on the other side the families had their hands and mouth full with the fun, frolic, and sumptuous delicacies served from the beginning till the end.
The core committee of the CIOs of India consisting of S P Arya (CIO Amtek Auto), Sunil Sirohi (CIO NIIT Limited), Atul Luthra (CIO Matrix Cellular),
Umesh Rastogi (CIO Everest Industries), Kamal Karnatak (CIO RJ Corp), V Muthukumar (CIO Moser Baer), Parvinder Singh, (Head of IT, Max Life Insurance), Umesh Khandelwal (CIO, BMW India) and S C Mittal (CIO IFFCO) were the seven good men behind the show who's sweat it out for months to bring this big pomp and show to reality. The meticulous planning, methodical execution, and untiring zeal coupled with team spirit made this day memorable, fun-filled and exhilarating for the rest of the participants. While there were many tangibles the one underlying idea was to have fun and make friends. Like all the other editions of the Mega-day in yester years, this year also was planned with endless activities - all aimed at adding to the fun. There were a few highlights of the day that need special mention.
Since the theme of the event was "Sachin ko CIOs ka Salaam", it was obvious that cricket had to take the center stage. But given the shape, size, age, variety, mood and attention of the participants, the championship was also planned with great deal of twist so that no one feels left out. Eight teams were to fight it out for the Championship Crown. There were many-many CIOs to fill up the seven-a-side team and fight it out against the fellow CIOs as sports rivals. The sportsman-spirit was at its best and the on-field chemistry among the team players was exemplary.
The teams were named and divided very mindfully. There were Smart Sharks, Crazy Crocs, Roaring Tigers, King Loins, Giant Cobras, Mighty Bulls, Sharp Eagles and finally, The Cheetahs
Each side was to play 5 overs with some really weird but exciting rules in play. The game had in-built intelligence. It wasn't about power and skills at all. It was more to do with wisdom, cleverness, balance of mind, patience any teamwork. This is what is required of a leader in professional life. The CIOs were to demonstrate the same on the field too. The Cricket with a twist won't be an exaggeration. Throughout the day amid fun and frolic, unlimited drink-breaks, never-ending snacks and a lot of gossips, the matches kept their pace with the time. In the end, it was the time for the finale.
The Roaring Tigers were up against the King Lions. The two teams moved their way up to the finals with a great deal of wisdom and teamwork. The captains consulted their teams. The strategies to win were redefined and finally the match began. With all the weird rules that were in play, the King Loins won the toss and decided to bat first. The scoreboard kept ticking at almost every ball and so did the wickets. The bowling was sharp but the batting was elegant too. Finally in Five overs, the Lions scored 31 runs with all the negative markings in place. Chasing the target of nearly 6 runs an over; the Roaring Tigers came in the middle and started defending the target smartly. The match was very evenly poised but finally the balanced tilted and the Roaring Tigers won the championship with great conviction. Finally, we had a champion among the eight teams, which fought it out in the middle of the 22 yards.
While the cricket matches were taking place; the carnival-like atmosphere continued with a lot of action stuffed in every corner of the Arena. Tivoli Garden was buzzing with madness, fun and enjoyment.
Beer Sip up
Another unique competition held for the CIOs was Beer Sip Up. But this was again with a great deal of twist! The four teams had to drink the beer from the Bottle using an extended straw (made up by adding 5 normal straws). The Beer bottle was placed at a distance of nearly 4 feet and the straws were given to each of the five teams participating in this Relay Beer Sip Up competition. Though the beer was the anticipated fun was unlimited. With eight men on each side, the task didn't seem to be tough until the action began. Ultimately, the science made it tough and almost nerve wrecking. The fun took a serious turn and the teams were just not able to find their way to glory. There were hundreds who cheered the participants and finally many teams gave up before one of them managed to finish the last sip of the bottle. Wow! What a game it was. But the quotient of fun was never less in any of the activities planned. The idea was to infuse Camaraderie, Bonhomie, Brotherhood among the CIOs and their families. The idea was to grow the CIO Family bigger and cosier.
Ladies...Eat More and Win More
When the men were busy playing the gentleman's game and were locked in fierce battle to unleash the best of cricket in them, why should the ladies be deprived of fun? They were all charged up to mingle and make the best of time. For what came out, they were better at their jobs then their spouses. For injecting more fun into the party, there was a team eating competition for ladies. Like everything else, this competition also had very strange rules. A fully wrapped pack of food items containing several packets was given to each of the five teams that took part. Each team had to finish the entire pack without compromising on the rules. There were sharp eyes in 5 judges watching them constantly. Each member of the team had to finish one item that she chose to pick up from the larger pack. And the trick was that you couldn't pass that item however it may be to your dislike. The game began. The ladies famous for their culinary skills, were in a slightly awkward situation here...they had to literally gulp the food items that they had chosen to open from the align packets. The fun and excitement was at its peak now. There was more noise than action. The chaos added to the growing fun. The ladies were all for watching the others than concentrating on their task. In the end, the Ethics, Discipline and Conviction paved one team the way out. There wasn't any scope of bypassing the rules - even by an inch! The eating was fun and so were the participants who did everything to help their team win.
The Fun Had Just Begun
All this while, the quotient of fun never came down at the Tivoli Gardens. As goes with Delhi, the true colors of the city were depicted in the Bhangra and Gidda (Punjabi folklore) performances by the professional dancers and performers. The dash of spicy dances with some very contemporary Punjabi music was icing on the cake at regular intervals. This was to ensure that everyone who is on or off the cricket field is enjoying the time. The colorful performers and their engaging steps compelled many of the CIOs and their families to dance on the tunes. They just indulged in the fun.
At The End, Everyone's a Winner
Like they say, all good things come in small packages. To everyone's dislike, the day had to come to an end. While everyone was roaring to go for perhaps 12 more hours, it was time to call it the night. As the sun began to set on the Tivoli Gardens and the birds started returning to their nests, the stage was set to reward, surprise and cheer every one. The core committee of CIOs of India huddled once again to ensure that no one goes disappointed and empty handed. Yes, this was the time for lucky draws, prizes, recognitions, rewards and more. It appeared that the evening had just unfolded and the excitement had just begun. All eyes were pinned on the heap of gifts and prizes to be distributed. From Apple iPad Mini to Lenovo and Asus tablets to digital cameras and smart phones and many other gadgets were to be given away. Every participant got his/her share of luck. The Winners of the Championship - the Roaring Tigers came roaring on the stage to capture their trophy and retain the memorable moment. The Runners Up - the King Lions - weren't disappointed either when the team posed a fully bloom smile to get their runners-up trophy.
With the evening coming to an end, there was a silver line in the sky. The day gave an opportunity to make new friends, strike better cords, renew the lost interest in creating bonhomie and brotherhood. With a promise to come back with an even more invigorating theme and excitement, the core team CIOs of India thanked everyone including the sponsors of the event Cache Technologies, Ace Data, TekMindz, Velocis, and CNT for their participation and unequivocal support to make the event possible.
About Rahul Neel Mani
Rahul Neel Mani is the Co-founder and Editor of Grey Head Media. ...