13th July, 2008, Sunday, Kolad, water rafting, 14kms
Jhon Ruskin says, “remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; water, peacocks and lilies for instance.”
But I think Ruskin didn’t get the chance to live and work in Mumbai and realise how soothing it is to see these useless things amidst the crazy lives that we lead.
Last week during my evening coffee session when I prefer to hang around near Promit’s desk, Rabinda narrated his water rafting experience. I couldn’t exactly understand what he was trying to explain. Finally giving up his narration he googled (I guess it’s the only tool on earth which acts as Saviour for duhs like me ;)) and showed us a picture with 8 people wearing life jackets, helmets and chappu in their hands and standing on plastic boats I mean rafts..and water slashing all over them.
And here I was visualising the mountain dew ad, difficult is worth doing.
I had been a hydrophobic since childhood, infact my mom had kicked me out of the swimming pool when I was in sixth standard because I was drowning in knee deep water. So I never learnt swimming and I never went to water after that.
Thus I thought lets do it (actually the fear hadn’t sunk in when I saw the pics)
What more, I went to nirmal and then we all decided to go Water Rafting on Kundalika river at Kolad, 98 kms away from Mumbai, a three and a half hour journey only during the wee hours of morning.
So the plan was set, we were ten people, the rafting agencies said we need to do two weeks advance booking but we didn’t give up and finally Nirmal got our bookings done (He is DNA MONEY’s program manager).
The only constraint being we had to reach the destination before 8 am. Some of us decided to stay awake at office on Saturday night so that we can leave on time. Though Subhashish scared us when he said, “I am just going to leave” at 3.50 from Andheri, although I know I woke him up when he had picked the call at 3.45am. At 4 our hunk says his bike has ditched him (wow!He wanted to ride THAT bike till Kolad! it couldn’t even reach Kalina…correct?).
We picked him up from Mahim station, then khyati and her husband joined us at Sanpada..while we were waiting for them by the roadside, Subhashish and Nirmal started playing catch-catch with a cricket ball on the highway roadside (Dude, cant you stop showing off even at this hour?)
Finally we left with pappu cant dance sala as the background score (Rahman, PS: I Love You)
Ohh I forgot to introduce my “we”, it includes-Me, Promit (Big B), Nirmal, Tanvi, Khyati and her husta hua band (husband) Puneet, Kishore, Shubhashish, Joel and tan.d.journo’s friend Tanya (Tani, I actually thought Joel might initiate his attempt of impressing(AoI) by singing Dhani..oops tani, rey taaani..).
Anyways…our Qualis surpassed the polluted air and dirty black clouds of Mumbai and we entered the blissful world of lush green beauty. Cold breeze kissing our faces, welcoming us for an enchanting experience.
Elongated grasses covering the woods, fogs dancing over mountains and stream gushing through the rocks saying honey if there is a will there is a way! Man..i was amazed…nature not only gives me inspiration but also wakes up the sleeping mind, freshens those power packed ambitions to whom I say goodbye when in Mumbai.
I think I should get back to the main point..we reached the starting point, Shajey Village at 7.30 am and we spotted rafts..yeppyy..but the chinky guy wearing skin tight swim suit asked us to come back by 8.30 after breakfast.
Great we thought, but then in our search to trace a hotel for breakfast and dress changing, we surged kilometres ahead and finally stopped at a place where we saw an Omni parked and some guys sitting around.
After we parked our car we realised that these guys resembled the rowdy police guys who can keep going on raping women even during war! With desi rum in their hand at 7.30 and dancing on shamur’s “let the music play” I was actually waiting when the brawl would start. Thank god it didn’t, we had poha and these guys wore there rafting clothes and we again started for Shajey village.
We were the first to reach the destination so we fatafat wore our life jacket, helmet, took the chappu I mean rafting blades and there we were clicking photographs (missed u arcopol..actually missed ur camera!)
Then we heard a siren and my eyes started popping out…water started gushing, within a minute’s time the barren-rocky land was over flowing with water and horror struck me. I was shit scared.
Pawan, the head instructor stood on the raft and started explaining the nuances of rafting which we should remember when we are out there (I couldn’t understand anything as I was still reeling under my fear and how can he expect me to remember so many things at one go!)
Finally we took our raft on our shoulder and ran towards the stream and I was wondering do I want to do this? Then I thought yes! If I wouldn’t go for this today, I will never be able to do water sports which I cherish the most.
Here I was sitting in the front holding the ropes and nirmal and Puneet being the leading paddlers. Wow..we all were scared-what if we fall..the instructor said the lifejackets will save us and he would be there to take care! Assuring words, but nothing was helping me…
Pawan putra Jay Hanuman please come flying and save us when we drown… and there, the water putra Pawan shouted…Go Forward! These guys started paddling and I was tightly holding the rope and sitting in the front.
My work- only to watch the waves and be happy….
After some five minutes a huge rapid came and splashed on us ..hmm..but we didn’t fall off. Finally my fears were wading off and by the time it did, next big wave came and Nirmal was out of boat and he held my hand (duniya mey koi aur nahi mila?) and pulled me…but he didn’t realise that even though I look fat I am very easy to pull or push, so even I was going out of the raft. Finally I held the rope tight and shouted for promit..and then my darling bigB who was sitting just behind Nirmal realised that he needs to help us! Then Nirmal was again on board..how? water putra Pawan pulled him in.
Our encyclopaedia instructor then came up with some great one liners..like
Teeree meeree teere meeere dhum dhadakka, Hoo Haa Hoo Haaa..(Tanvi’s fav)
Yo Baby-Yo baby-Yo baby-Yo!(Nirmal’s fav)
Jai devi-Kundalika… (Joel kinds)
And throwing water on others rafts by head-faking… Crocodile.. sometimes..Blackcat..seasnake..he was a brilliant instructor.
Then came some heavy rapids..it was 3.5 he said…and for once he said inside, and everyone was inside the raft falling on each other.
Then we saw some people standing inside the raft we said even we want to do…being the best instructor he said we will do it.
When again huge rapids said hi! Pawan shouted stand on the raft and we were like..what? dude we cant stand normally and you want us to stand on the edges of the raft!
But being the crazy ones, we attempted!
First attempt promit and nirmal held each others hand and put another on my head..as I was still waiting to stand up and from other side Puneet and tani were holding my shoulder and I was like…u shrewd ones! Even I wana stand..atleast on the middle if not edges of the raft!
Then in the second attempt I don’t know but some how we all stood over the edges and held our hands together..it was so symbolic..it lasted just for a moment.. but that was a Kodak moment..
We did it together and that’s what we should learn, to hold each other through the toughest ride and we will pass with flying colours.
After that the waves were normal and this time Kishoreji saw someone diving from another raft and then I heard a splash..seconds later I see promit in the water swimming away to glory..Follwed by joel, subhashish, tanvi, puneet, khyati..and just 30 seconds later I am all alone on the raft waving them good byes..i was sure that I will never swim…and the next moment pawan threw me in the river….
And I just flapped my way back and started howling..Mammmmmaaaa….i mean that might be the only time in life I have shouted for mom so desperately!i actually visualised the swimming pool incident when I was a kid and my mom suddenly jumped in the pool when she saw me under water, my legs hanging up and head no where to be seen…
I shouted so badly that khyati and shubhahish came to rescue me and then Pawan took me up on board.
I saw Khyatii going again in the water and I followed her. After hanging to the raft rope I left it gradually and by the time I left the rope I was again scared. This time Promit came and shubhashish was behined me.
Take this: promit is swimming ahead and I am holding his shoe laces and trying to come up and subhashish holding my hand to come further…hilarious!just imagine and u will start laughing till u can..
Then we finally boarded the raft and started paddling and singing songs..we sang hindi, Punjabi, malyali, tamil, Bengali, marathi and English songs and reached the shore..ohh we even crossed a small tunnel…
One of my life’s most incredible and precious moment..i overcame fear…I simply proved to myself..Difficult is worth doing! Infact we all did something different..we realised we were the best, even though we started last we finished fourth.
We were the most innovative group and we were excellent together and that’s what rafting is all about.
Being a TeaM.
Rest in next blog!