The Pune Development Center flagged off a an event called War of Titans. Amidst a meeting I got a call from my Director who asked me if I can take up the role of  Captain. He had named the Team as Spartans and asked me if I knew the significance of this . I knew that Spartan is a small town in Greece but was not sure where he was coming from . He asked if I had seen the movie ‘300’ and then went on to tell me that he had seen it 4 times during his US visit. I remember having seen first 15minutes of the movie during my last year’s trip to  Mumbai when my Brother recommended it strongly. Late in the night 2 AM ,I was too tired  to carry on.

                 This day got me charge to see this. I went to market in Evening and bought the DVD. The moment we platyed it on at home I was glued. Never in my life had I seen such glorious and inspiring movie. The spirit of bravery started boiling in me. The battle of thermopyle where 300 Spartans fighting for their honor killed 20,000 Persians is one of the most inspiring stories . Gerard Butler ,Leena Headey have really brought the epic alive. I have not yet found a person who has seen the movie and has not seen it repeatedly.. Its glorious stuff. This got me going and what I reproduce here is a mail I wrote to my team members after we were few days into the event.

 

  

Dear Spartans,
 
 
 I read some where that during Chinese war when Lata mangeshkar sang ” Jo Shaheed huye hain unki.. jaraa yaad karo Qurbani” Pandit Nehru came down to tears. There is something great about narrating great battles;It inspires sea of humanity. This was another day at battle for Spartans . Some triumphs, some losses, some learnings and loads of heroism deserving half an hour of my time chronicling it. 

The day was to begin right @ 0930 for all members of Siemens team who had decided to represent Spartans. The venue was parking lot next to Pyramid lawns . Here is the report with an Spartan perspective.
 
The Setting :  
 
 6 tracks each measuring approx 25m were marked on the stone and gravel road in the parking lot next to Pyramids. The road was rough , the stones and pebbles were scary and a fall definitely boded injury which would shed blood. The thought of injury was frightening but then, when has the sight of blood driven the Warriors away. On the site was a good quality music system and 3 professional organisers who had come to conduct the event. Attached is the brief description of each event. 
 
Spoon Race : The event was kind of simple but with a catch that the  moment the lemon drops, the person goes and starts allover from start line. The Tallest person in our team was Manneri and we deided to field him. He kept the faith, balanced the spoon well and taking long strides had little problem finishing first in semis. We were hoping he will win us a Gold in the finals . The main competition was from a girl in Aryans who was doing very well. In the finals start from the word GO, Ningappa led the event but the girl closed in . They retained the lead till the last 10meteres. Then suddenly out of blue , the girl charged and started running and  upset us. Manneri finished second. This was a good start and the Spartan Cheer leading was at its best.We encouraged all to go for the kill.
 
3 Leg Race : This race I had previous experience on and just wanted an able partner. I startegised and told Manneri that only I will give call for each step. We tied our leg hard. Synchronising /practicing was proscribed. The first prelim round was flagged off . Manneri and I were gallloping like seasoned horses and quickly established a lead of arouund 3m with the nearest competitors. We finished first in the prelims.
The Final was bigger test as 2 other best teams would stake a claim. I again told Manneri that I will give all callsand slowly build up a crescendo.In the final the moment , the whistle was blown, our synchronised 1-2, 1-2 and long strides gave us a liead and we finished first on the half way mark and turned for final lap. The competition was catching up but so was our synch call. in the last 15 m, we were almost racing in tandem. Manneri told me to slow down .We synchronised we were the first to finish the Race. THe ground was reverberating with the Chants Spartans, Spartans.. The organisers acknowledged that Spartans were doing very well on all counts: Cheering, winning and sporting.
 
 
Sack Race : This was difficult as jumping with sack on gravel road was most likely to cause falls and injuries. The mandate from my side to  Mihir and Manneri who were participating was, take small(75% of max capacity) , consistent and quick jumps. Mihir put in his best effort and was in top 3 but closer to half way mark, he slipped and fell off.. This loss increased the gap and he could not make up. He nevertheless showed great spirit in the event. 
             Manneri on the other hand had a great head start in the prelims. He finished first @ halfway mark and took a very large leap. This didnt find grip on ground and the sac slipped. With a large thump he fell. The skin on his palm was chipped off, the gravel had gone in it. The Jeans torn off. The blood made imprint on it at many places.. Yet he got up and resumed the race. He finished 2nd in spirit of the battle he was the winner.. This is the attitude Warriors/winners are made of.  
 
 
Slow Cycling : This event was riddled with organisation problems. The organisers were not clear as to how they could conduct this. Prashant Dhonde of Aryans, Chetan Patil of ..??? were too good in the event .. I strongly recommend you see the video of this event when its uploaded on intranet or kept in library.. Our fight i this even was not much.. and didnt figure in last 3.
 
 
Tug of War : This was the mother of all events and as Spartans we wanted to win it.. We ran out of soldiers in this.. In comparison to heavy and sinewed 10 hunks of other teams we were barely managing 7 people .  I gave a last minute call to my Boss ..if we could get Bhim and Mhatre  for the event.. He gave me mhatre’st’s no. I made 3 calls to his # and couldnt get connected. Arrival of Vipin  for the event was a morale Booster. Finally, we decided to take the battle with whatever we had on the moment. 2 girls and 5  not so match for the heavy opponents. The whistle was blown and we could find that the brute force of opponents  was impossible to surmount. We put in our all , our arms hands got bruised, we went down fighting just like the last scene of movie 300.. WE misssed some of our strongest soldiers who due to reasons best known to them kept way. Probably , their presence on field here would have made the difference.
 
Needle and thread race : The rule in this event was twisted .. one person was to run with thread in hand, and another man on other end was to put thread in needle and finally the girl had to run with needle and thread to the other end.Rohini who was participating from our side was apprehensive to run as she was not wearing sports shoes. Vipin was the first person to run. He did a great job by running fast. There was a little slip as I struggled and finally put the thread in .. Rohini took the thread and needle and started running.. There were 2 girls ahead and she could not bridge the gap.. We ended up 3rd in the event.
 
 
 
Reflecting on this event, I have following to put :
  1. Manneri Ningappa emerges as our leading athelete who has tremendous spirit , energy and attitude to Win.
  2. In Three leg race, we are the Champions ..and we need to consolidate on this.
  3. Cycling race, we need to improve a lot wrt our competitors.
  4. The pride , sense of belonging and  bonding in the Siemens group  is far behind Aryans(Talent Pool) and  Marshals(MSC) today. Probably ,we have too few proud Spartans.
  5. Supriya has confirmed leading our Dance Team with Archana Hegde and we hope to put our best in this last event.( Choreography, Costume and coordination).
I hope , in the Grand Finale we will have the famed Spartan spirit and participation which will stake claim to the victory.

 

 

Regards,

                  

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