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Arvi Krishnaswamy

Entrepreneur and Tech Executive

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My company hosts an annual 'Aisle decoration' contest sometime around Diwali, and its always a very competitive and high energy event at work. This year, the theme was opened out (versus being just Diwali related), with an overall motif - 'entertainment'. Each aisle in the office is asked to form a team, and is given two hours to put up their decoration.

One the teams started a week early, investing up to Rs. 10,000/- on cardboards, paint, woodwork, etc, and launching a massive plan of attack. Somehow, as always, our team was way underwater with project work and simply didnt have time to even think about it until the day before the event.

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But just when all hope seemed lost, we had a quick team meeting and came up with an interesting theme - 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. It sure seemed like a far fetched idea at first - to take our aisle, and convert it into a large pirate ship, with the mast, deck, starboard, wheel, flags, and tubes. But sure enough, the creative juices flowed, tasks were broken up cleanly, everyone did their bit, execution was crisp, and the results were outstanding.

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The Black Pearl. An elegant single-deck galleon with two masts carrying white sails. Two cannons on the side. Cloaked in dark black cloth. The wheel cut out of thermocol in the middle. The noose and the plank at one end. The sandy beach with a mock treasure chest, coins and bottles of rum at the other. And merry pirates on board dancing to the Beedi song. Ok, we did play the pirates theme for a while.

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Our neighbouring aisle's theme was Diwali in the past, present and the future, with a special guided tour by Vasim dressed as Hanuman (sporting a hammer for mace) in full Mumbaiyya. The play acting of Hanuman was their trump. The HR aisle had representation from various regions of India - Kerala, Karnataka, etc and was well decorated. Sadly, the team that had started a week early and worked extremely hard didnt have too much of an impact. While their 'M.G. Road' theme was good, and the decorations were excellent, it lacked the important 'wow factor'. The previous year's winner, the TID/QA aisle had a Diwali through the ages theme which was a bit dull compared to their showing the previous year. However, their creative idea of making a 'Ravana' out of the aisle members heads was easily one of the best of everything on display.

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The judges declared the Hanuman aisle the winner. Our aisle came second, and the pirates were absolutely elated. In all honesty, it was just so much fun being a part of it all, who won was almost insignificant.