## Tuesday, May 30, 2006

### Fort of Death

Last friday, our extended team went on an outing to Savanadurga. [1] We started at about 7:20 A.M., a full 35 minutes later than our scheduled departure. As there were a number of newcomers, we got a good opportunity to know each other better during the two-hour journey. Even though it wasn't a dense forest, away from the incessant traffic, the silence could hardly go unnoticed.
After we had our breakfast comprising Sevige Pongal etc., Rahul made us do a train-race without dropping or bursting the baloons between us. While it was good fun, Rahul gave a lecture on the lessons like adaptability, communication, blah, blah that it taught.

Then, accompanied by curious canine friends, our team climbed a hill to do rappelling, while the other team went for rafting. Having had an injury on a previous rapelling trip, I was a bit nervous this time. And, words of caution from colleagues really helped. While some where rappelling, others were asked to make a flag for Yahoo! from a chart sheet, glue, and whatever else was lying around. We came down to be treated with lemonade and tender coconut.

The next event was to build a raft ourselves and row it up and down a lake with coconut "branches" for oars! Man it was truly hard. While half our group was doing that, the other half was trying to make a missile launcher out of stationery. Then we reversed roles. At the end, we had lunch, played some games and then came the announcement of winners. We won on the flag front due to some on-the-spot smartness during our presentation (per Rahul).

In the missile launcher event, for reasons we knew only post-mortem, our launcher launched the TT ball far away in a different direction! I tried to justify saying we won on the Euclidean distance metric, but the argument went on even during our return journey. I attempted to prove that if we won on the Euclidean distance metric, it automatically means we won on every distance. In the process, a colleague and I jointly inferred that only if we beat the runners-up by a factor of $\sqrt{2}$, shall we automatically win by Manhattan distance as well!

Then we went on to climb a nearly monolithic hill. The view of rain moving at a distance, the curvy River Arkavati, and the surrounding hills was at once spectacular and overwhelming. We relaxed a while there and started our journey back playing Antakshari all along.

[1] - Legends say that the name is a corruption of Savinadurga, which means "[a] fort of death" in Kannada. Apparently, Kempe Gowda and his troops defended themselves by pouring mustard oil down the monolithic hill from being on its top.