14 Jul 2008

Paddle Forward!

Flashback: So, Jineesha asks Sohel, "Hey dude, that’s cool, so who all are going?" This is followed by a laugh. " I just decided right now. We can get a few people together and set off for a day!"
Trrrinnggg… Trriingg... "Hemali...?"  An excited voice replied, "chalo!"

So we googled till we could Google no more, got all the contacts and did our bit of research for a white water rafting trip. We had to choose between Empower Camp, Ecomantra, Nature trails and Nature Knights. We went ahead with Empower Camp. The problem was that we had to report at the base camp at 7.30 am.

My reaction: "Whattttt??? Are you out of your head? Doesn't that mean that we have to leave at 3.00 in the night?" (It takes about 3 and a half hours to reach there). Sohel was communicating with a certain Madhu from Empower camp and she was insisting that we reach at 7.30. So, being a girl, I was asked to call up and coax them to allow us to come by 8.30. Convincing the guy was really easy (it always is ;)) but the woman was a terror (Why is it so difficult to deal with women?). We had a spat over the bookings and finally Hemali paid for everyone (It cost us Rs 1,236 each just for the rafting and approximately Rs 3000 (shared) for the Qualis we hired).

Action: As scheduled, Sohel and Kartik arrived promptly at 4.45 am at my place. I was awakened at half three by a telephone call from the driver who said he arrived an hour earlier, just like that. Strange! While we were waiting for Hemali to arrive (she was lost and she didnt know where she was, and since I didn’t know where she was, I couldn’t tell her where she was), a dude on a bike passed by, and asked us where he can park his bike. I shrugged and said, " I dunno! Park anywhere! Here, there, anywhere!" Soon enough, Hemali and her friends came over and said hi to him!  "Ohhh! He's Apurva", we all sang in chorus! How would we know?

We set off in the golden Qualis. The weather was lovely and we reached at 8.00 'o clock at the camp office at Kolad. After the driver went missing, and Kartik got his free breakfast, we hopped back into the car and drove to the base camp.

We got our life jackets, oars and helmets and we were asked to split into two teams. We had to carry our rafts to the bank of the river (jor laga ke haiyaa!) and we were given instructions. Apurva, the most excited of us all, sat in the front and he had taken it in his stride to over-shadow the pilot of our raft. It was non-stop entertainment for us. The others who passed by were pretty amused by what was going on. He had decided to become the pilot and gave out his own instructions, and as a result, the rest of the crew and the pilot didn't know what the hell was happening. After a lot of 'haa - haa- hee - hee', the pilot lost his cool and gave us a piece of his mind.

Rafting in Kolad felt like child's play as compared to the rafting in Hrishikesh. The rapids were not all that great, and only one gate was opened to let the dam water out. So I decided to just relax and enjoy the weather and the greenery and let everybody else be. Meanwhile, Apurva continued to provide non-stop entertainment with his competitive spirit and his slogans-the winner being,"Angrezon, Bharat chodo". This was when my friends on the raft passed by. We were rolling with laughter, afraid that we would fall off. Suddenly, I pointed out to somebody who was being rescued by a kayak at the rapids. We got to know that it was none other than our Dhoni (who is also called Kartik, by the way).

Soon it started raining and it was the most beautiful sight! This was just the break I was looking for. The perfect place and the perfect weather. There was greenery all around, and in the middle, was a river flowing with a few rafts in the beautiful rain! What more would one want? A camera! I wish I could capture this!

We then jumped into the water for a swim. While I was floating about, paddling about in the water, waiting for the others to jump in, and was busy watching the aeroplanes and the birds that passed over my head. I didn't realize I was drifting ahead with the current. Soon I was so far from my raft, that I had to swim in the same place for half an hour till my raft was close enough for me to jump in. All this while I was wondering what was taking them so long. Then I realized that the only people in the raft were Apurva and the pilot. Obviously, how would the raft move? Apurva had used up all his energy is shouting slogans, how could he row?

Once on the raft, I realized we had a long way to go, and I wanted to jump into the water again, but with our pilot had enough. So there I was, sitting with the others with my feet in the water, enjoying the tranquility, while my raft moved by itself at snail pace. I nearly fell off into the water when Apurva started taking career advice in river rafting from my pilot!!

There were no more rapids now, and we had to really row hard to keep moving. The winds had started blowing by now, and we were all exhausted. The 'khaddus spoil-sports' on our raft had absolutely enough of all the hungama, especially the dude with the fake accent. He had just dried himself in the sun, when Apurva came and sat in front of him to row (he wasn't rowing anyway, he was just splashing water) and this guy was drenched again! "Look", he said, thoroughly frustrated! A few swear words followed and Apurva was made to sit in front of the pilot. Five minutes later, the pilot started shouting as he was drenched too!

We were busy laughing and commenting on the way, topping each others jokes, when we thought we should sing and row in unision! Apurva started singing without warning and was quietened down immediately. The spoil-sports turned nasty and threatened to throw him off the raft. The pilot lost his cool by now and he was grumbling. Since nobody was rowing, Pam and I took the front seat. We were only fifteen minutes away and none of us could row any more. Even the motivational songs didn't help. The pilot said that we had no option but to carry the raft on the land, and all of us started rowing harder suddenly. Carrying the raft meant death. He finally barked, "Get off the raft". We got off the raft, and into the water to pull it, but the sand was slippery and we had to run to keep our feet from sinking. We couldn't row it, we couldn't pull the damn raft either! I found the whole situation very funny and just to piss him off, I asked the pilot if such a thing had ever happened to him in his entire career. "No", he said, "Never". He said he wanted to go back to Hrishikesh. We were the last ones to reach, but I think we had more fun than the others!


  1. Nhuuiicce post Jineesha..
    Didn't actually know about Apoorva's antics on the raft...

  2. hahahaa....yeaaa...you guys missed out on him!
    there's so much more that I don't remember!