A Colourful Carnival Takes Over Our Workplace!
With Pongal being the biggest and one of the most ancient festivals to be celebrated in South India, we decided to bring in some traditional activities with a modern twist. In rural areas where Pongal celebrations are extremely grand and go on for almost four days, every village usually has a fair or carnival, called Thiruvizha, going on filled with traditional game stalls, and stalls where we could buy knick-knacks and snacks.
With Coimbatore, originally being a largely agrarian district, we at Kovai.co decided to create a mini Thiruvizha or carnival-like setup in our office. Kicking off our Pongal celebrations a few days earlier we organized a traditional kite-making competition. Around eight teams participated in the fun activity. While we provided all the stationary, including colour paper of different textures, wire frames, sketches, paints, glue etc, participants had to come up with ideas.
Our brief was simple. The kites don’t have to fly successfully but have to be colourful and creative. The competition was judged on the extent of effort the teams put it into the activity and complexity of their design, says People and Culture Specialist, Jessintha Johnson.
The result was amazing. We found kites designed like butterflies, angry bird-themed kites, batman Batman-themed kites among others. They were so fun, that we ended up putting up every kite made on one of our office walls as part of the Pongal carnival décor.
We scheduled our Pongal celebrations before the festival holidays. The carnival was kicked off by Srinath Rangaraj, our People and Culture Specialist. He started by daring people to try reciting a few popular Tamil tongue twisters. People who could repeat a tongue twister at least thrice without pausing were given chocolates. It was a chain game, where the person who finished their turn had to nominate the next person. “It was a great way to bring more people to walk away from their laptops to the celebrations,” says Senior Creative Designer, Gowtham Mohan.
Once our step-seater area was full, Srinath gave a short introduction about the cultural significance of Pongal. He spoke about how it is an occasion where we express gratitude to the sun, Mother Earth and all farm animals for a bountiful harvest and pray for another prosperous harvest ahead. He then went ahead to explain the carnival set-up we had created.
The mini carnival set-up had five stations, each a traditional game or activity found in Pongal carnivals—tug of war, Archery, drawing something blindfolded, Hoopla rings and a hand painting stall similar to traditional tattoo and Mehendi stalls. People could choose to go to any station or visit multiple stations. At the tug-of-war stations, different sets of people formed teams and took their turn at trying to pull the rope to their side.
The tug of war and hoopla rings were most fun, though we lost tug of war as a team and I couldn’t get the ring around any of the bowling pins erected, said associate product marketer, Gayathri Venkatesan.
“We found the tongue twister session most fun. It had most of us in splits continuously,” says software engineer, Subiksha Gopal.
The hand-painting stall also saw a steady cue of people. Sai Dheepika, Senior Growth Marketer, and Customer Success Specialist, Vaishnave Jayaraman, volunteered to do the hand painting. “Different plants and animals were the common theme of requests. In a bid to celebrate nature, people requested for butterflies, different flowers, certain leaves, trees etc,” said Dheepika.
We wrapped up the festivities with some delicious sakkarai (sweet) Pongal that was served. People who won games walked away with fun prizes like candle holders, earthen pots of different sizes and chocolates. At Kovai.co, Pongal was yet another occasion for us to celebrate our bonds and pay tribute to our rich tradition and culture with fun and most importantly togetherness. To many more memorable celebrations! #togetherwegrow