Friday, August 10, 2012

Poconos White Water Rafting

This was one of the best things that ever happened in my 10 months of stay in Philadelphia. I am homesick nowadays. One of my good friends, Manu, called me late night, which was very uncharacteristic of her. I was worried and called her back. To my surprise, it was an invitation to go White Water Rafting at Poconos. Luckily for me, one of the girls had dropped out, but since her ticket had been paid for, I got the opportunity. My roomie was twice as lucky since they were able to find a ticket for her as well.

We were a team of 7 and the team name was Govinda Govinda. None of us had done this adventure sport before and we were waiting with anticipation for the games to begin. Two of us from Philly, a couple from NYC, and Manu with her husband and their family friend comprised the hilarious team. 

We got off to a rough start with the raft hardly moving because our frantic brains muddled up the signals and commands. The entire team managed to goof up two simple commands: Back paddle and forward. 

Backpaddle requires you to move the paddle forward while the forward paddle required you to move the blade backwards. So it was not surprising that we never caught up with the other teams. The men were hopeless and it was the women who steered the raft foward over the rapids. We only did a level 2 rapid, which was exciting and scary. But once we got the hang of the strokes, we managed deftly without helpful suggestions from the near and dear ones. How were we to know it wont last forever! 

Even before we got half way through the rapids, Yamuna fell into the water and brought me down with her for company. One minute, I was riding the wave, and the next minute, I was seeing rocks. She panicked and was scrambling to get a grip over the boulders in the running water. Thankfully, I fell down right beside her and I was able to pull her out and get her to the shore. While we waited for the canoe guide to take us to our raft, the folks on the raft panicked, screamed for help, and proceeded to get stuck over a couple of rocks. We climbed back on and were on our way forward to complete the entire stretch with a lot of help from Nathan, our professional paddler with over 30 years of  experience. He was absolutely frustrated with our pathetic skills. He politely asked Lavanya and me to take a break while he steered the rest of the team to a decent lead.

It was a long hilarious and absolutely memorable day. We headed back to our final destination and cooled off at the fire place. The weather was also on our side. We were dreading the thunderstorms and heavy rains over that weekend and were offering silent prayers to Varuna, the rain man. 

The events of the day lingered over us long after the event itself. We were a great team, lot of fun, excitement, chilled out attitude spiced with a sprinkling of irritable comments between wives and husbands. 

Of course, there was the over confident me giving out confident explanations about rowing, which gave the finishing touch.

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