(Nari Lajja Vastran…..Sneha keeps her shorts on!)
River crossing was the one activity that eluded us from the start. It was supposed to be the first activity and the easiest, to get us warmed up to the idea of water sports. Day 1 was wet and soggy, and the water currents were too strong for us to cross the river using a rope, that too while moving against the current. Day 2 was packed with other activities and the currents were still quite strong because of the torrential rains of the earlier day. This left us with Day 3, by which time a lot of us were too pooped out. The idea of crossing a river with aching arms and burning bruises didn’t appeal to everyone. Our troop, which had by now dwindled in number, made its way to the narrowest part of the river, across at least three slushy puddles of water. By this time, smelly wet clothes, slush, and grime didn’t bother us so much. There’s little you can do to fight it. You dry up after a dip in the river, you get wet in the rain; you scrub your feet clean and you’re back in the mud in no time at all. I guess it struck us all that the best way to deal with it was to do nothing about it.
So we make our way to a small clearing, where our trainers were tying a rope across the river. Now as hip as that sounds, the distance we were crossing couldn’t have been more 1/8th of a kilometer. Rash was the most excited amongst us and kept speculating about what would be our likely course of action. “It doesn’t look so tough ya, you just need to grab the rope and walk across.” I have to admit that I for one felt more at ease with Rash’s simple logic of it all. She further adds “It was supposed to be the first activity; it’s got to be easy. And besides we’re wearing life jackets, nothing will happen to us.” Obviously, she had in mind our rafting experience, which turned out to be more of a ‘let’s jump in and float on our backs’ experience.
Once the scene is set for us, we are divided into two groups. All the guys go into the first group. Since Sneha is the only swimmer amongst us women, we suggest that some of the guys swap places with a few of us. The trainer looks quite amused by this. His expression says it all. Even the best swimmer in a pool can do little to save a drowning man in an angry river.
Sushant aka Sallu Bhai was the first to take the lead. Oh by the way, he was christened Sallu Bhai at this exact point in time, as he kept getting his shirt off. He claims that his intentions were to keep his one dry shirt in a wearable condition for the journey back. We, however, think that he had other motives ;).
Sallu Bhai makes his way across with remarkable ease. All the iron he’s pumping sure did him good. Yatin and Ripul follow. Yatin walks across as if it was a stroll in the park (not quite…but compared to the rest of us sputtering, fumbling shorties with water in our eyes and mouth, he sure seemed to have literally walked across). Rash on the bank is eagerly waiting for Anand to make his way. “This is something to look out for. If he can make his way then I think we should also manage”. Lol….Any case, Anand does make his way across, that too with a fair degree of ease.
Our group is now ready to take the plunge. Rash goes in first, enthusiastic and energetic as ever. Half way across, which is where the current really picks up, she’s unable to hold on to the rope, she lets go and all of us get to see the first rescue mission. Damn, I knew Baywatch was fake and flawed. But reality always bites. An hour later, on dry ground, she tells me “I was more worried about getting to the other side; I would have had to make my way back!” Hmm..smart thinking, I’d say. Getting back is really the tougher deal. You know exactly what you’re in for and you’re none the better for being wiser. You’re just more tired and very scared…scared about letting go and loosing you life. Well, at least that’s what most of us were scared of losing. Sneha’s fears were of course of a different dimension ;)
Half way across the river, where the currents are very strong, all of us are trying to hang on to the rope. But what do we hear from Sneha??? “Ah my shorts, it’s getting pulled away with the current.” That really had the rest of us in splits, Ripul yelling “Try and worry about holding on to your life, you can worry about your shorts a little later.”
I remember overhearing a conversation between Sathya and Sneha, the first week into work. I don’t quite remember the context but Sathya was making fun of Sneha’s dupatta and Sneha, in her attempt to fend him off called the dupatta the ‘naari lajja vastran’. The river crossing experience should have definitely redefined the term for her!
So that was river crossing folks, a story of how we all managed to keep our lives and our shorts!