Smiles, laughter and a dab of colors!

A few days back Prasenjit had asked me if I wanted to attend this event organised by a couple of fellows from Amani institute. I found the brief an interesting one. However, as my nature goes, I decided that it would be quite a challenge given that the event was a social one. When the day came, I approached it with a sense of openness and a tinge of nervousness. The following narrates the day, and tries in brief to explain some of the learnings I've ended up having.

The Event:
18th November, 2018.
I'm nervous. The fact that Prasenjit and Isha are also part of this event gives me a bit of relief. I know I can hang around with them. While I wait near the venue, I spot Isha shouting out of a cab - "Stop looking at your face! You look pretty" or something similar (I was indeed checking my face in the front camera of my mobile!). Soon, Prasenjit, Isha and Kalpana pour out of the cab. I hadn't met P and Isha in a long time. It had been 3 months now. The mountaineering course and the treks had kept me away from Bangalore for 2 months. And I had been asocial since my return from the mountains. 

We walk into the Amani institute and are welcomed by a smiling Anna and Emilia. I immediately notice the underlying warmth in their interactions. Wide smiles and considerate talks help me settle in. Soon the other participants are in - Robben, Cyril, Tony Allen, Hye Mi and Shwetabh (who joins us post lunch). Mariana (or Mari as she's addressed by all) is to help with the documentation of the event. 

(I'll be abstracting the further events to keep it interesting for anyone who would want to attend the same event in the future)

The first half of the day, we spend time cooling down, grounding ourselves and breaking the ice. We interact with each other about the things that interest us and we wish to pursue. I'm surprised by some of the shared interests we have. The whole format and the way these "exercises" are organised is seamless. It makes me lower my guard a lot. The simplicity of these exercises makes it easy to connect with. The format makes it palpable for me. The lack of the formal event boundaries and the friendly nature makes it feel more like a few friends hanging out. That puts me at ease.

Lunch time makes me wonder how Anna, who is an Italian is coping with the spicy Indian food (I'm biased by Luca and Francesca's food preferences!). I notice that Mari has a very non-brazilian english. She sounds more American than Brazillian. Emilia, who is from Argentina, is full of wide smiles! The whole group chats along and discusses a variety of issues. I enjoy these times where I listen to people and their thoughts.

The second half is more outbound and way out of my comfort zone. However, there's something different in the way it's approached by Anna and Emilia. They make it fun. The nervousness of mine fades away and gives way to smiles and lots of laughter. Kalpana, Robben and I are in one group and we have a ball! The event winds down with some colorful hands and faces! I thank Anna and Emilia for this wonderful day, and soon afterwards, P, Isha, Kalpana and I head off to take a long walk in the Cubbon park. Then we four go to Harima (a Japanese restaurant) where we have a nice dinner and witness Prasenjit showcase his chopstick skills :D. All in all, a beautiful day! For the first time, I connect to others (in a social setting) the way I connect on my treks.

The day was something that I had not expected. It was one where I learned quite a few things without really realising or putting in conscious efforts towards it.

I realised the importance of being grateful - 
Grateful towards our own body, mind and soul. 
I learned to recognise and appreciate the beautiful experiences we have,
To give time to reflect and absorb the experiences. 
To let your guard down, 
To be OK to ask for help.
To laugh, To smile.
To spread some joy along the way.
I learned that sometimes to be happy all you need is,
Smiles, laughter and a dab of colors!

A few pics:

The artist and the apprentice!

Walks and conversations. 


Colors - some natural ones this time!

A few moments before Isha threatened to break P's nose if he showed off his Japanese knowledge too much :D