It was Shivpuri where me, my husband Devesh and two of our family friends Shashi Bhaiya and Manju Bhabhi had an experience that can never be forgotten. Shivpuri is near Rishikesh (city in north India) and well known for water sports. We actually went to Haridwar for a holy dip in the Ganges and after doing so in the spur of the moment sitting at the bank of Ganges, we decided to drive to Shivpuri for river rafting. Without wasting a minute we left. It was a good drive, we quickly reached and went straight to the area where all kinds of small and big recreational outdoor and water sports points were located. We opted for river rafting and they provided rafting boats, life jackets, helmets, and a guide to help and save in case you are drowning along with a declaration signed which says “I am taking my responsibility if anything happens to me while rafting.”
We all were super excited, Devesh was a little nervous but seeing my excitement he agreed. We reached the place and got ready with our life jackets and helmets on. Holding oars in hands we settled ourselves in the rafting boat. I was thrilled as It was going to be my first rafting experience. The guide gave us a few instructions and a demo about the oar movement techniques. After a little practice, we started. The experience was truly amazing, we were hooting and cheering up. The feeling of synchronization with the water waves was making my heart sink with happiness. We crossed a few miles and reached a point where water was a bit calmer. The guide said that anyone who wants to experience the water can go out of a boat by holding the rope which was connected with the boat. Seeing this opportunity to be in moving water other than the still water of the swimming pool was thrilling and I immediately said “yes”. I was confident being a good swimmer and more than anything I thought that it will be good fun.
Devesh was retaliating my decision but looking at the connecting rope’s safety, he agreed. Woohoo.. and the very next second I was in the water with rope in my hand. I was feeling brave inside that deep water. I was living the moment enjoying the touch of clear and cold water of our holy Ganges. I looked at Devesh, he was trying to be relaxed and gave me a fainted smile. After a few seconds suddenly one strong wave came and I lost the connection with the boat, the rope was gone. Back to back three, four more strong waves and I could see myself a few meters away from the boat. I thought let me swim and catch the boat, after all, I know swimming and I started swimming towards the boat. Gosh.. it wasn’t happening, my oversized helmet was covering my eyes, nose and with continuous strong waves, I was unable to breathe. I wasn’t able to see which direction to go because of my oversized helmet. With one hand I was settling my helmet and quickly trying to catch up the pace of my other hand for freestyle swimming and it wasn’t working. I felt like something is pulling me inside the water, no matter how hard I tried to keep up my pace to swim and be at the surface of the water, it was just not happening, my strength was slipping away and I was slowly drowning.
In my fight for survival, I had seen Devesh standing on rafting boat with his both arms opened in my direction feebly, I never saw Devesh that powerless in my life. Devesh was crying and shouting. They threw me another rope to pull me but the rope was short enough to reach me. He was crying helplessly. I put my strength together again and started doing a dog paddle to keep my head up to breathe as the strong waves and an oversized helmet was not letting me swim.
I was completely exhausted and unable to think anything beyond. I was numb, my stomach and legs were hurting badly with the continuous struggle to win over the inside pressure of water which was trying to pull and suck me in the womb of the river forever. I was seeing four helpless people on the rubber boat trying to beat the odd waves with all their strength. This whole event of me within the water, my struggle to be alive and others to see me alive wrapped up hardly within 5 to 6 minutes.
Whatever little I could see through between the ups and downs of waves I saw Devesh was howling like a mad man, they all were rowing fast to come near me. My death was nearing. The simple thought of the word “death” used to scare me like hell and I was living that scariest moment. I wasn’t dead, still breathing, my pulse gaps were increasing. I was losing my breath, my power and somewhere my visibility also but I was calm like still water in the river full of tides and waves and something amazing happened at that moment. Those few seconds stirred beautiful glimpses and wonderful memories of my parents, Devesh, my brothers, my relatives and friends.
In the last few seconds, ‘I’ got encountered by ‘self’. That self-realization crushed my ego, my longing for material possessions and desires to gain position and recognition, it all looked worthless. Life is so full of good and bad memories, emotions, successes and failures but the only a few things I remembered were the memories of love, the moments when people made me smile and those moments when I made them smile. All Happy memories.
Destiny had its plans, soon boat came closer and the rope reached to me, I came back in consciousness and somehow managed to catch the rope. They pulled me up quickly and I was on the boat with a pounding heart, half dead and fully awake.
I was alive but I was aware that I will die one day. I am not scared of Death anymore. Death is certain and sitting by our side always, let’s not stuck hoping about that “one good day”, live your dream, spread happiness all over, love your parents more and more.
Life is uncertain, don’t hold on to a grudge for anyone, talk to them and clear the differences, hug people, smile often as its infectious. Be a little crazier.
Sooner or later death has to come, none is immortal. Worry less about the future, live more in the present and don’t regret and evaluate your past. No one knows the next second, don’t complain, don’t procrastinate, be fearless and take actions, Change yourself for good. Love yourself.
Don’t just survive, live a life.
Thanks & Gratitude