Four-year-old Arjun sat at his little table painting a photo frame he had made out of clay mould, while his mother sat beside him, helping. “What’s your favourite activity, Arjun?” I asked, to which he momentarily shifted his gaze to reply, “Art,” and went back to his frame. The little boy was concentrating deeply on what he was doing - a picture of dedication and focus. “Such a quiet little boy!” I exclaimed. Aparna, his mother looked up and said, “10 minutes ago he was asking me to toss him repeatedly into the bouncing castle. My colleague Ajay had to do the same for his daughter. They were literally bringing the house down!” One look at Ajay and the exhaustion on his face was visible. “Are you enjoying yourself?” I winked. In between jumping castle tosses, he laughed, wiping the sweat off his brow, “Absolutely!”

The scene could have been straight out of a children’s birthday party or a play group. But it was of the Coca-Cola India office in Gurgaon! The office had been colourfully decorated with balloons, cartoon characters and streamers. The cafeteria housed an enormous jumping castle, merry-go-round, slides, science lab and what appeared to be half a rotating egg! There were miniature cars that were driven by the horse power of little running feet (a.k.a the Flintstones) duly accompanied by sounds of “vroom, vroooom, vroooooooooooom!” The excitement and energy, which was in sharp contrast to the professional demeanour the office is generally used to, was in celebration of ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day!’

Lunch time was truly an affair to remember. One of the inflatable cartoon characters walking around, hugging and shaking hands with the kids managed to deflate himself on a pointy object. There was immediate pandemonium as the concerned kids rushed to save their beloved character! It was only once the ‘doctor’ (read guy pumping suit with air) brought the character ‘back to life’ did the children get back to the merriment.

Little Aiera, six years of age, who had come with her father Arpan, had promptly settled down with a box of slime, with her friend Ahaana, four. The latter’s daddy Anaam, had to keep an eye on both to ensure any mischief could be duly managed before it went out of hand. But neither Arpan nor Anaam could stop their little ones from bursting into their boss’ office to showcase the creative work they had done with the slime. They were promptly rewarded with colourful candies for their efforts- the girls, not the dads mind you!

As the sounds of laughter reverberated through the office, the energy was truly contagious. Some of the colleagues left their workstations to draw with the kids, narrate stories and showcase their magic skills! It was a day when Coca-Cola employees departed from their professional designations and became moms, dads, uncles and aunties! Making Excel sheets and presentations gave way to making flowers, birds and butterflies.

“Not only did the children have a great time exploring the office playing with their friends, the parents too got a chance to appreciate the beautiful things in life often lost in the hustle and bustle of office work. As a working mother, I realise its importance,” says Manu Wadhwa, Vice President, HR & Services, Coca-Cola India.

Little Ahaana was truly disappointed when it was time to go home at the end of the day. “Why can’t we come here every day?” she asked.

Not a bad idea, we’d say!