Prasanth Oommen Thomas hasn’t forgotten that afternoon when he and his friend, “dressed in costumes with polka dots and looking like jokers”, sat on the bonnet of a decorated Ambassador car cruising around the Technopark campus for almost three hours. He was participating in a rally, a flagship contest of Tech-A-Break (TAB), the IT hub’s biggest cultural extravaganza. “The bonnet was getting hot as the journey progressed. But since it was a competition, we couldn’t stop midway! Somehow we finished the journey” laughs Prasanth.
TAB is back after a break of seven years and Prasanth, an employee with RR Donnelley, isn’t the only one who has fond memories about the fête that has techies taking time out of their busy work schedules and putting their best foot forward in various competitions. The current edition, which kicked off on April 25 and will be on till May 24, is a joint initiative of Technopark, Group of Technology Companies (GTech) and Natana, a cultural forum of Technopark launched by GTech.
Dileep Choyappally of Mozanta Technologies and Bhavana Nair of IBS Software Solutions, who have been part of all TAB editions right from 2003, go down memory lane: “We put our heart and soul into it. Even if you were not a good singer or dancer, once you got on the stage representing your company, you became a celebrity. It was overwhelming to be part of the fête,” says Dileep, who was working with IBS when he took part in TAB. Small companies are also part of the event, which makes it a level-playing field, he adds.
Bhavana remembers that IBS had been the overall champions in all editions except one. “In addition to all the fun and bonhomie, TAB also meant meeting people from other companies and learning more about those organisations. I have made a lot of friends through TAB,” she says.
Dileep believes that friendships are the best takeaway from TAB. Suma Santhosh, an employee with Gemini Software Solutions, points out that TAB was a more colourful version of college festivals. “Our college fêtes used to be low-budget affairs unlike today, whereas the different editions of TAB were high-end events. Most importantly, TAB used to be a stress-buster and brought employees within a company closer to each other because instead of working as members of a team, they were representing the organisation.”
Prasanth recalls how surreal it was to watch big names such as Benny Dayal and Sivamani perform live. “Initially, I was just a viewer. Later, I became a participant, practising hard and putting in my best and, now, in my new company, I’ve been designated as an organiser for several events. So the journey with TAB has been special,” he says.
Rooting for rally
One event that all employees look forward to is the rally, a company-wise event where teams dress up according to a particular theme and take out a procession. Hundred people from a company can be part of a team. The theme this year is ‘Five elements’.
Remembering his first outing at the rally, Saji AS of Gemini Software Solutions sounds very excited. “The theme was ‘gypsies’ and it was fun wearing the costume, singing and walking around the campus. I am happy that TAB is back so that those employees who haven’t experienced it will finally get a chance to be part of it,” says Saji.
Bhavana too recalls getting dressed up as gypsies. “We looked so realistic that a few construction labourers on the campus took us for real!” she laughs.
Equally upbeat about the return of TAB is Technopark’s CEO, Hrishikesh Nair.
“Technopark is on the upswing with Technocity going live and many multinational companies coming in. And when it came to doing something for the employees from my part, there was nothing better than reviving TAB, which used to be a forum to build cohesion among companies and employees. With GTech extending all support, we went ahead with it and hope to keep it going,” says Hrishikesh.
The current edition is bigger in terms of the number of participants and disciplines (13 events). Participation is open for Kollam Technopark as well. Contests in painting, music bands and online battles are new disciplines. Another highlight is the grand finale will be a five-day affair, instead of one day, says Divas Sadasivan, secretary, Natana.
- Tech-A-Break has competitions in 13 disciplines — singing (solo/group/music band), painting, quiz, fashion show, group dance, skit, rally, corporate social responsibility, Capture the Flag (online contest) and Corporate Relay.
- The grand finale is from May 20 to 24. Besides competitions in rally, fashion show, music bands and group dance, there will be a DJ night, performances by indie bands, leading dance troupes and celebrity performers during these days.
Over 3,000 employees from more than 50 companies are expected to be part of the fete. “TAB has been a big event for Technopark and we wanted to take the initiative and work alongside Technopark. We are happy that Natana has matured to take on the responsibility, thereby being recognised as the leading employment engagement initiative of the IT park,” says Anoop P Ambika, executive committee member, GTech.
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