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Posts Tagged ‘River rafting’

I got mail from my friend Ajit (whom they call C.O.O of Wanderers group) that Wanderers is arranging Island Adventure Program in Mulashi. It will be overnight stay on an island in the middle of River Mula. The mail instantly triggered my desire.

I decided to go for River Island camping on 24th May 08. This was last batch of the summer season as monsoon was approaching.

The group gathered at Hotel “Kinara” on Paud road. I met Ajit after ages. As in, we were in touch through all hi-tech media i.e. Mails, SMSes, etc. Meeting personally is always a feeling of pleasure. I got to know few people out there. The group was heterogeneous with people from different fields like a music teacher at school, a business development head of a mechanical designing firm, some geologist, a botany Ph.D student, and obviously few IT guys. Ajit introduced me to Omkar (another pillar of Wanderers group). There were few cars, bikes and rest in “Vadaap” jeep. “Vadaap” is typical Marathi word for to-and-fro transport service in rural areas with nominal charge and comfort. I was placed in Ashwin’s zen. We all started for River Camping Island in the afternoon. And the adventure began….

We reached on river bank. There was an option for raft or boat. I choose the former. Ajit gave us few instructions (like don’t carry valuables on rafts, etc) and insisted that most of us would opt for boat option as it will be easier and faster. Everyone will get chance for rafting tomorrow. Even then I and Ashwin told Ajit that we would wait and be the last ones to enjoy rafting. We ported our sacks and cameras in boat so that they will be safe. I didn’t want to take any risk about my camera. In mean time, I was able to spot some “Pied Kingfishers” near the bank. Finally all crossed the river and it was our turn. We climbed the raft. Ajit was the sailor. In the mid, Ajit gave light jerks to the raft to let us enjoy “roller-coaster” ride and it was real controlled adventure. This controlled adventure became uncontrolled when suddenly the tied side-drum of the raft got distracted apart and in no time the raft was upside down. For the moment, it was like all finished. My mom’s and bro’s faces flashed in mind and there was some different feeling altogether. There was an instant feeling which taught me importance of my life and living. We were drowning in the middle of the river. Of course we had life jackets and life savers for rescue but in such situations your brain stop thinking logically. Among 3 of us, I was the only one who was a non-swimmer.

Ajit and Ashwin held my hands and assured me that they were there for me and not to get afraid. I was feeling uncomfortable due to the water which ran inside my nose, throat and ears.

We 3 came safely out of water. To our astonishment, one of our expert life savers also recovered our caps from river bottom. The other went to chase the floating drum of raft but it went beyond the limits. We came to the bank and someone noticed that I had my mobile in jeans pocket. My mobile went for a toss. It was literally filled with water. It reminded me of water game with Rhino tusks and rings which I played when I was a kid.

All that happened for last one hour was just beyond imagination. Now I was aware of Island “Adventure” Program. 😉

We landed on the beautiful island. It was huge 17 acres out of which 4 acres was usable area. We were also told that there are wild boars, insects, snakes, Pythons…thanks to Ajit for giving this scary information. This place was developed by Ajit and Omkar. There was a kitchen shed, sleeping hall which could accommodate 50 people and rest rooms. Few other things were a camp fire place, meditation hut, meeting area and a net court for playing multiple games like badminton, dodge ball, etc. The sleeping hall was covered by the insect-repellent powder. Each minute thing was very well taken care of. All these structures were built using bamboo and dried bamboo leaves. All I could say is hats-off to the duo that made this.

We had evening tea and Pattice. I went to other side to find some more birds and click some snaps. Found drongos, small king-fishers, red wattled lapwings. As sun began to set, the sky looked amazing and so was the ambience. There was no electricity and each area had hanging burning lanterns which added to the beauty of this place. It was the best late evening which I have ever experienced.

We had introduction session at meeting hall in the evening. By that time it was time to cook dinner. We decided to cook dal-rice khichadi and onion-tomato-potato sabji but looking at the sizes of utensils we had, finally we cooked something which was combination of khichadi and sabji. It took hours for cooking. Thanks to our stove and in-time shortage of kerosene stock. After all the hook and crock our food was ready. We all enjoyed it and it was worth the efforts. We had papad, pickle to go with it and Jalebis as sweet dish.

Then it was time for camp fire. A beautiful night, a camp fire, sky above and group of friends! It was performers’ paradise. It was a perfect time for all songs, mouth-organ songs, jokes, antakshari and mimicry. We lied down on a mattress with the roof of sky. We went to sleep past 4 am. No one actually slept so there was no question of getting up. We were supposed to do yoga but no one was keen to do. I went for short walk in morning. We had tea and prepared some sandwiches. Then we went to river walking. We were in water for 2-3 hours and had loads of fun. By the time, we returned it was time for departure. We packed our sacks and came back by boat. I turned around and looked at island for last time. I was in love with this place for sure. We had nice lunch in a restaurant in Mulashi. I returned with wonderful memories with me.

Aah, I missed something. As the drum broke there was no rafting for the rest campers. I was among very few campers who got chance to do river rafting…with all that adventure!!!!!!!!! 😀

NOTE: For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157605249014435/detail/

More info about River Island Camping watch out this space – http://islandcamping.googlepages.com/

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