A treat for thrill seekers
Harish Dhillon
Adventure Sports
by Brig TPS Chowdhury (retd). National Book Trust. Pages 366. Rs 110.

Adventure SportsAdventure Sports by Brig Chowdhury is a unique book in many ways. It is the first of its kind published in India. In fact, one wonders if such a comprehensive book on the subject has been published anywhere in the world. It has been written by an expert in the field and excellent sportsman. He on the crew of the yacht Trishna, which undertook the first Indian sailing expedition around the world in 1985-87, and the Millennium Sailing expedition in 1999-2000.

It is also unique because it covers practically every adventure sport in India. As the author says, India with its vast variety of geographical features is able to offer a far greater variety of adventure sports than any other country and at a fraction of the price one would have to pay elsewhere.

The book is divided into 26 chapters, 25 of which are devoted to an individual sport, among them yachting, canoeing, sky diving, hot air ballooning, hang gliding, trekking, rock climbing mountaineering and skiing. In the final chapter Some Upcoming Adventure Sports, the writer has included hitherto unheard of sports like power chuting, para motoring, roller blading etc.

Each chapter gives you details of the equipment required, some basic does and doníts, details of training programmes, safety precautions to be observed and names and addresses of organisations where these facilities are available. The book is written in a clear, lucid style and is immediately intelligible even to young readers. The author has not sacrificed this feature of his style even while dealing with technical details.

This manual is invaluable not only as a guide to prospective sportspersons who are looking for directions as to what to do and where to go, but also to lay readers, who want merely to garner information about a field which has always been attractive to them but remained inaccessible. There is a great deal that this category of reader can learn from the book. For instance I had no idea that the Defence Services patronised adventure sports in such a big way. In fact for many adventure sports the services offer the best facilities in the country. Perhaps this would motivate many young sportspersons to join the services.

I hope for the next edition ó and I believe there are going to be many editions of this book ó the writer will include some personal anecdotes and humorous experiences, if possible, not only from his own rich store but also from what other sportspersons have gone through. This would lighten the tone of this very exhaustive and thoroughly researched book and make it even more unputdownable.