Online lectures, discussions, assignments and mid semester examinations – too much to bear during a time where we are trapped in homes. I was crying internally for a chance to relax and release all my stress, but for the longest time it felt as if my wish was going to be nothing but a daydream – until it was not anymore.
The Club Service Avenue called volunteers to organize the annual club picnic some time ago. A club picnic of all things? It sounded fun, but I hesitated a bit to put my name in the list as I was not very confident if I would be able to balance it all – the exams and assignments had already eaten half of my brain. But finally, I was there in the organizing committee, excited and anxious to see what was coming.
‘Sandwiches and Skittles’ was accepted right away as the name for the club picnic this year. The challenge here was to find exciting and fun games for a picnic – a virtual picnic was a challenge in itself. But after brainstorming and combining all our ideas together, the games were finalized and it was the time to get busy. I loved what I had to do and spend hours on it, imagining how fun it would be to see my fellow Rotaractors playing the games I put my efforts on designing.
On 11th September, everything was good to go as the games were ready, a virtual background was provided and the picnickers were divided into their respective teams. The event was mainly for freshers and sophomores, therefore an ice breaker session was in need. With the fun questions presented to the picnickers, unexpected answers and eccentric ideas came out, filling the air with laughter. One wanted to ban avocado from the Earth forever, and another picnicker revealed a dark craving to pet a crocodile one day!
After what seemed to be endless laughter that lasted for a good fifteen minutes or so, it was the time to be serious (No, not really!) and start the games. ‘Guess the Song’, which was our first game, had all kinds of music for all types of music fans. In seconds, the virtual picnic space was filled with the shouts of members from both teams, trying their best to grab the chance to answer. Both teams proved themselves to be extreme music lovers as they competed to gather as many points as they could.
Then it was really the time to be serious, since our next game ‘Holmes on Picnic’ required some quick thinking. As the teams were ready for the investigations, the riddles were presented. And it turned out, that half of our picnickers deserved a spot in the FBI – even the given ten seconds were too much for them. Some brilliant detectives got into massive debates, justifying their answers or explaining who the real culprit was, while I almost choked laughing!
After some serious brainstorming and lots of laughter (quite ironical, isn’t it?), it was the time to unleash the creativity of the picnickers. Charades arrived on stage (correction: the picnic space, I guess!) to find those who were good at mimicking nursery rhymes (of everything!). This time the teams were eager to find out the names of the rhymes they had listened to a long time ago, making funny guesses. Every volunteer did their part the best they could (if it was me, the nursery rhyme would still be an unsolved mystery), so, well done everyone!
It would have been really nice to take part in an onsite picnic: sitting under a huge tree, enjoying the wind and sunshine, listening to a song after some games (and munching a sandwich as well!). Although it was all virtual, we did not want to miss our friends’ melodious voices and soothing music. Thus, we were soon treated to the vocal talents of Rtr Tharushika and Rtr Sethmini, followed by a beautiful instrumental rendition by Rtr Oshini . Hearts, fire emojis and lovely comments were floating all over Sandwiches and Skittles atmosphere as we tuned into the beautiful voices of our talented rotaractors
After a round of applause, it was time to get back to work (well, not work, really). ‘Guess the movies from the scene’ was a chance to test the memories of the picnickers as many of them were movie fans. Remembering the scene, but not the name of the movie was maddening for some picnickers, and the virtual park atmosphere was starting to crowd with laughter once more.
Then it was movies again, but this time the movie title was encrypted (in emojis and icons, of course!) and this was a real challenge. Wild guesses were made, suggesting some cool new titles as well, which I wish movie producers will definitely use in the future! Everyone was laughing so hard and fighting to grab the chance to earn some much needed points to their team.
Last but not least, ‘Find me’ was presented where the picnickers had to read the descriptions given and find what household object was talking about itself. Some objects obviously helped the picnickers by describing themselves too much, while some loved to stay a mystery. But what could they do when our genius picnickers were there? Absolutely nothing! The objects were revealed one by one with ease, as both teams continued to earning points like there was no tomorrow.
With aching jaws after all the laughter during the course of the event, everyone was excited to know which team had won! Team A had made it to the winners, while the both teams had competed neck to neck, without even knowing it in the middle of dancing, shouting and laughing. Congratulations to Team A, and well done, Team B!
In fact it was hard to believe that the club picnic had come to an end, but yes, it was eventually time to say goodbye. But who says goodbye without taking a photograph? Virtual backgrounds were set, and hey, say cheese! Everyone had a big smile on their face, as the memory of Sandwiches and Skittles saved itself into a lovely photograph. When I clicked ‘leave meeting’ I was still smiling, fully content with what I had experienced in those hours.
When compared to the events I had participated in before, Sandwiches and Skittles was a different experience for me. I was one of the ‘behind the curtains’ people this time, helping to organize the event and watching it with no chance to take part in any games (which was pretty sad, anyway). But the excitement was no less than what I would be feeling if I had had the chance to be a part of a team. I was eager to see which team would answer the questions and guffawed like a madman at the crazy guesses the picnickers made and the silly yet passionate debates they got into. The most important thing is, it helped me immensely to relax my mind. It was exactly what I had been asking for: joy, relief and non stop laughter for an hour or two.
Another event like Sandwiches and Skittles? Oh, yes, I am in! No matter how many assignments are left to finish up, I would still be there. Until then, I will continue to drown in the vast ocean of lecture recordings and assignments, recalling the time that I laughed non-stop.
– Rtr Heshani Upeksha