In the past ten days, I have done more adventure sports than I have ever done in my life till now, faced the extreme cold (I’m from Mumbai, 5°C is a myth here), gone on a safari in an open Jeep at 1°C, done enough trekking for the rest of my life (not a very big fan) and enjoyed to the fullest.
Let me give you a little more background. My entire class went on a ten day trip to Uttarakhand, India, which is one of the most beautiful places I have had the fortune to have visited.
A lot of memorable moments spin their golden ribbons around my head, but I’m going to choose the one I will remember with equal amounts of thrill and fear.
You must be confused about the title of this blog. Allow me to explain. In Shivpuri, one of the adventure sports was River Rafting on the Ganga river, the holiest river according to Indians.
The raft looks exactly how you would expect it to look. Big, inflated and yellow or orange. What I didn’t know was that you’re not supposed to sit on the benches at all, but on the edge of the raft.
However, since we were 7 people, the instructor asked if anyone would like to take center position. Center position consists of sitting tight, clutching a rope as a lifeline and hoping you don’t get thrown off the boat (it’s completely safe though). I chose to sit there and the instructor began his lesson on how to paddle when he shouted out particular instructions.
When you attempt River Rafting, it is a given that you will be drenched by the end, but nobody expects to be drenched in the very first rapid that the raft encounters.
You’re sitting in center position! Oh Joy!
Once the first rapid was past, I was blinking water out of my eyes and checking if we all made it (dramatic,I know) when the instructor asked us to jump overboard.
Into a 20-30 feet deep river( I think, there was water in my ears).
Now, we were wearing life jackets, but who jumps into a freezing river just for the fun of it.
Me, and several other people apparently 😂. We jumped,or fell into the river , clutching the rope for dear life. It was exhilarating!
A dip in the holy river is a very special moment for most Indians, but here we were, being cradled by the river herself, playing with the waves in her hair while she laughed at our antics.
Once we were pulled up, the instructor told me to kneel at the front of the boat, and hold on the rope through the next rapid. Picture taking the seat belts off when the roller coaster begins and kneeling on the front seat. Now replace tracks with waves. That was where I was. Adrenaline coursing through my veins, I rode out the rapid with my heart in my mouth, watching the waves as they approached in slow motion and drenched me over and over. Mother Ganga approved of the game, I think.
There was another rapid where the instructor asked us to jump into the water and this time I elected to stay in the raft and take in the scenery. Breathtaking.
Surrounded by hills, it was a vision fit for paradise itself. The sun shining down on us, smiling at our little games.
This time when the instructor pulled everyone up, I took the front paddle. I’ve paddled only in simulation before, and it absolutely cannot compare to the real thing.
Pooja, a friend of mine and I paddled in front with Vidya and Rupali in the middle and Meghna, our tour guide, and another friend of mine bringing up the rear with the paddling instructor.
Working in tandem,we led the raft into more rapids, longer and wilder than the ones before. It was like a scene out of a movie, like a roller coaster with an ever changing track. Up, down ,sideways, the entire raft shook with our delighted cries and I don’t think there was anyone on that raft that wasn’t living to their fullest.
Two or three hours later, we were sunburnt and shivering but had huge smiles on our faces, eyes lighting up with the experience of a lifetime. There is never enough thanks to PaddlerZone and Ashish Travels that I can give for the unbelievable chunk of my life that I will always treasure like Poseidon’s Trident.
After all, what are rapids but his very own Roller Coasters.