I think white water kayaking tops the list when it comes to adventure & bathing. Though I’ve not tried it yet, it surely is one of my top most priorities. The videos they show in adventure channels can easily capture the imagination of an adventure seeking knucklehead like me. I cannot wait for next year. That’s when I plan to embark in a quest of learning this incredible art which will one day enable me to conquer rivers from their beginnings in the high mountains till where they flow out into the plains – a one big whirlpool of a ride – the washing machine kind. I’m sure even a non outdoorsy person will find something rejuvenating in the experience of embracing white crushing water.
There is one particular river which intrigues me the most, a river which has many names – where it originates in the high Himalayas of Tibet, it is called the Tsangpo , then, after traveling for about a thousand miles, the river takes an impossible U-turn (forming the deepest and most unexplored gorge of the world) to enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India where it is called Siang, and flows out (forming one of the widest rivers of the world) into the plains of Assam where it called the Brahmaputra, until eventually, meeting the ocean in Bangladesh where it is called Jamuna and where it forms the world’s largest delta. In short, every aspect of this river embodies mightiness and demands respect. Fortunately, I live close to this river in the town of Dibrugarh in Assam. All my life, I have witnessed the river’s fury and the gifts it gives to the people. Perhaps, the most respected and revered description of this river is found in Buddhism, where scrolls describing a hidden land called Pemako provide true meaning to this river. Exploring this river is another reason I look forward to kayak. In fact, Outside Magazine in recent years has declared kayaking/rafting in this river as the most ultimate adventure than can be pursued in all of Asia.
So yes, next year I plan to backpack my way to the high Himalayas of the Kingdom of Nepal. I’m going to find a worthy instructor and ask/beg him to teach me the skills of white water kayaking for a moderate price which I can afford. But it is not just about the thrill of surviving white water, it is the whole experience – of meeting locals, camping in virgin beaches surrounded with green forests, fishing for food, warm rum and the burning wood for the cold Himalayan nights. The most obvious highlight of the trip will be the time spent in the cold fresh water; the easy stretches where you glide along with the flowing water like two instruments playing the same tune, and the hard stretches where dangerous rapids embrace you until you find (or fight) your way out. It is about living life each and every moment of it, feeling the intensity of a passing second; a phenomenon so common in our life that we tend to ignore its significance, and ultimately, surviving and thriving. They say our body, just like the earth, consists of seventy percent water. Maybe this is the reason we bathe everyday – an involuntary urge hardwired into us asking us to replenish our body with fresh water. White water kayaking definitely is the closest our souls can get to natural water; served fresh by melting glaciers. An Alive is Awesome Bathing experience, and much more I’d say.
* This post is part of a series showcasing Alive is Awesome Bathing experiences.