Malayalis turn daredevils- Deccan Chronicles
A school of fish swam past her while she dived deep into the ocean. Bursts of green and white coral reef were seen to be spread in the seabed. And what she felt in the depths of the underwater paradise were moments of co-existential importance and absolute peace. If you are imagining this is happening in Bali or Maldives, hold on right there, as it is none other than our Kovalam beach in Thiruvananthapuram.
A PHD scholar in Madras University, Ashwini Dravid shares her scuba diving experience. “I didn’t know swimming and had fear for water after a friend drowned in the sea. A friend of mine recommended trying this adventure, and I can guarantee it was a beautiful experience and my fear for water immediately got released after I emerged from the water. The trainers were highly reliable and it was very affordable, says Ashwini, who undertook up the scuba diving adventure sport with the Bond Ocean Safari team in Kovalam.
Not just scuba diving, many adventure-packed sporting events such as Paragliding, Para motoring, Kayaking, wild treks have opened in some of the most scenic locations of the Gods Own Country, calling adventure zest of many Malayalis. Summer is just the time for the cool cats, because the sporting is seasonal.
Joel Kuriakose, co-founder of Redrawlife, which recently organised a par motoring event in Kochi says, “Many youngsters go to other states or countries to pursue adventure sports. This gave us the idea to make a community-based venture that brings together people having the same taste for adventure sporting in Kerala. And the response was incredible.”
Acording to Joel, movies such as Charlie and Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi had majorly influenced the traffic in the demand for adventure sporting, especially among women. “Around 40 per cent who come for the experiences are females, who come with a group. Many women are interested in paragliding and para motoring compared to wildlife trekking or motor trips. As far as safety is concerned, we make everyone sign a bond due to a small amount of risk involved. But safety measures are duly taken without any compromise.”
Another such event was the Chakravyuh Challenge, an obstacle race event, which had more 500 participants, for the first such event in Kerala. “The general feedback was good. We had many people from the IT background, especially from Infopark, who came with their corporate teams. Kerala has the right kind of ambience and it is ideal for large sporting events. Demographically, 25-35 age group participated,” says Charles Raj, one of the organisers.
He says they are planning to conduct one more in August, due to demand. “Earlier, there was lack of organisers who couldn’t explore the potential of such events. Now there is a lot of support for entrepreneurial initiatives, which gives a platform for the IT crowd to organise such events on a professional level.”
An adventure enthusiast and journalist, Gitanjali Diwakar who took part in Chakravyuh challenge and scuba diving in Kerala, says, “My interest for adventure was majorly influenced with my upbringing outside the state. I believe Malayalis who study abroad or outside the state gain the interest to experiment and be adventurous. So when they come back, the call to do something different naturally springs up. Also, monetarywise it is very cheaper compared to other places. But it is important to study the risks and safety precautions before venturing into any adventure sport,” says Gitanjali.