I was neck-deep in some work when an email notification popped on my screen with the subject “Save the Date // Reinforce the Core // Training // 12th & 13th Sep 19”.  Another one of those damn soft skill training, I thought. Flagged it for follow up and continued with my work.

In the evening just after I was done for the day’s work, I checked my flagged email and there it was again. I had time so I opened it up and to my surprise, it did not say anything about the agenda of the training! I read the subject again “Reinforce the core”, what does it mean? Which core do they want to reinforce this time? All the mail asked for is to keep an open mind and “Further details will be provided in the coming days.” Training with no agenda was intriguing.

Anyhow, I jokingly said to my colleague, “all this secrecy must mean only one thing, I**S recruitment drive”, he laughed, and I shut my computer down for the day.

Days went by and no “further details” were showing up in my inbox. If this was an idea to keep attendees intrigued then I must say, “well played”. After a few more days I was even a little excited for this training. It was out of the office so a change of scenery was always welcome. Most of the trainings are in some boring seminar halls of some above average hotels; the food is great, AC is working and, no meetings or serious work, so I wasn’t complaining.

The day came and we were asked to meet outside the city. The weather was nice (the kind of weather when it is supposed to rain but it isn’t) so I took my bike, others shared cars. After some bumpy roads and outstanding ride, we reached the venue. it was a resort! Lush green open space, it is monsoon at its crest, so the greenery was such that it can be felt creeping into my eyes and filling my mindscape up to the brim. Damn! I need to get out more often, I made a note to myself.

Life has a way of becoming busy without letting us know. And gradually we start to think this is how it is supposed to be. We forget the fragrance of fresh-cut grass, sound of a running river, or that tingly feeling we get when our feet are all muddy. I gathered my thoughts and bought my focus on the training part. I was still skeptical about the actual content of the training.

We gathered around and were introduced to Brinda – not English Brinda which means absolutely nothing, but Hindi Brinda coming from the root word Vrinda which means a bouquet.  She was our trainer for the day. Just a side note, she never stopped smiling throughout the two-day programme. Even in the pensive mode, she was smiling.

When you see a person smiling and oozing confidence, you naturally start looking up to that person. After a small interaction, everybody was looking up to her, listening to every word she has to say. I was observing this from a distance (figuratively), how effortlessly she was taking control of the group.

The first activity we did was called grounding; I know the name sounds something related to electrical engineering but here is what we were asked to do. Take off our shoes and walk barefoot on the ground without talking to anyone, just paying attention to our immediate surroundings.  It was supposed to bring us to the present moment. I started walking and after a while, I realized that the sensation of wet grass on my feet here near Ahmedabad was not very different from the same sensation of dewy grass of Himalayan mountains. It calmed my mind immediately and I started seeing my immediate surroundings more clearly.

This was enough to get me hooked!

As the training went on the activities got deeper and deeper and we all had to think more and more. By the end of the day, we had discussed how to be in present, self-awareness, gratitude, and resilience.  These are mere words for someone who has never thought about life in a profound way. But to us, these words carried a very intimate meaning.

The next day when we all met at the resort, we were we all (including me) very excited about what is about to go down. She picked up from where we left the day before, we talked about spirituality, each other’s insecurities and it felt great! Every subject was thought-provoking. 

Today we were to discuss the strategy of “what now” i.e. the mindset of praising and carrying forward somebody else’s work. Then we discussed harmonious living. We also explored into integrity. Brinda told us how to be true to yourself, no matter what.

It was not all discussions when Brinda saw all of us spiraling down into our own thoughts, she would stop us and made us do some activity. There was one activity where we had to write in a flow, just whatever popped into our heads. Now I am no poet, but I used to write, and it was my favorite venting mechanism. It has been so long since I wrote but without any provocation, something took over and I started writing. I was writing as I was in a hurry to complete it. As I already had the words in my mind, and they need out!

I wrote the following:

“Soil is where I was before I was in a womb. Soil is where I will be after no one remembers me. What I ate, made into myself, honed and shed finally; will be a part of soil and then I will be a fruit again, may be a flower even.

Ready to be plucked by a little girl or eaten by an animal. May be then I will be a part of someone else. May be some form of you meets some form of me. Will me in them recognise you in them? I think me in them will smile and you in them will reach out like you did this time.”

Rohit Rajan

It might not make sense to everyone, but the point that I am trying to make is that it was a cathartic experience. And I was sure that everybody in the group was feeling the same way. This kind of release makes us want to befriend more people, include more experiences, be open to criticism, improve ourselves. I am sure this corporate thought this training will improve employees company values, which it did and then some more! In today’s corporate culture, training like these has become something the employees are very quick to reject. However, if the training is done right it can have a positive ripple effect encompassing the whole workforce. We all left the resort satisfied. Now when we see each other in the office, we will know each other a lot better than two days ago.

We deal with aqua (water) separation (filtration) competence.  And being in nature since the last two days have really made us appreciate the work that we do for its preservation. Tomorrow when I enter the office, I will be approaching my work with a sense of humility, devotion, and responsibility towards society.

Sincere thanks to Rohit, an employee of Aqseptence Group India and the author of this article, for jotting down the two-day experience in a beautiful and honest way!

MAY GOD BLESS YOU! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Photos in the article captured by Jeet Patel