|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
Do not go where the path may lead; instead go where there is no path and leave a trail
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
THERE are times when we just want to escape from the din of everyday life around us. When we want to unwind and be in solitary confinement with nature, when we want to be away from unavoidable meetings, phone calls and laptops, and even away from enclosed airconditioned rooms and cars. In short, do your own thing.
So, where do we go for this elusive tryst with nature and adventure?Actually, there are two roads in front of us — one with silence, a walk to find tranquillity, and the other with adventure, where you cannot afford to just walk, but you need to jump, run, slide, bounce, swim and abseil. Welcome to the world of adventure sports. Standing on the 6th floor of a building, I could see the whole nearby world under me and I simply wanted to cut through the air and touch that grey surface. Human beings, automobiles, trees, bushes, and other buildings and infrastructure — I simply wanted to fly and jump over all of them.
This desire of mine took
me out of my noisy city to explore a nearby place in the wilderness —
a place with mountains and crests, and cliffs and troughs – Chail.
Now, there I had a chance to stand out and experience the spirit of
This camp is an offshoot of this Trust and is being organised by several people from the background of medicine, Army and communications, and mountaineering. The major affairs are handled by Dr Anubhav, who aims to make students leave the TV remotes and instead to travel to remote places to work, learn and enjoy together. "Students and corporate people come here from different backgrounds, and realise that while they have so many tantrums back home, other unprivileged people do not have anything to complain about. They just love whatever they get. And this was the main motive to bring every person together in the camp and learn to adjust and experience a new adventure," says Anubhav.
He has been organising these camps since 2004 at different places, including SadhuPul (60 km from Chail) and Koffolta (15 km from Paonta Sahib). Also, many other adventure activities are performed in this camp, like backpacking, trekking, hiking, rock climbing, river crossing, rifle shooting, and rope courses for four days at a nominal price. The recent camp was attended by 51 persons, who were instructed and taken care of by seven trainers.
The bus of Break Loose brings all the participants on Day 1 along with their sleeping bags, tents and all other equipments required. Rappelling is one of the adventure programmes on the camp and is held on Day 2, for which many participants, especially students, are really excited.
All age groups can perform this sport, provided your physical strength allows for the same, as it requires a lot of stamina to hold your body with a single rope and jump down with the flow. But not to forget, without passion, no one can accomplish this task.
On meeting Anil (28) at the location, I was told about the basic techniques of rappelling and was equipped with a whole lot of safety gear. Anil is a professional mountaineer and instructor from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Manali. My first expedition was to begin from a height of 70 feet.
I looked down from the top of the cliff. I was way above the ground. And it was almost like jumping that distance down. The breeze rushed past and was trying to take away my lone lifeline, my rope. I suddenly felt shivers down my nerves! "Hold it. Face towards the mountain. Show your back to the world and let it follow you!" egged on my instructor. "Now abseil." (Abseiling is a mountaineering term meaning ‘rappelling’ or ‘rope down.’)
I turned back from him and looked underneath again. Now, I just wanted to cut through the clouds and touch the ground. And I did it. I wasn’t alone at that location, but there were many others who wanted to escape from their respective fears — the fear of height, of the mountains, of depth and of being weightless.
A Class X student, Vishesh Dhundia from Chandigarh, has been rappelling since the past three years. "I couldn’t do it the first time and I almost cried. But then, the trainers helped me and assured that I was safe. The second time, I just gathered all my strength and fixed my feet on the rocks. Finally, I was able to complete my task."
"For anyone who loves adventure, there is nothing more exciting than rappelling," says Dev Rathore, one of the instructors at the camp. These adventure expeditions not only help strengthen one’s physique, but also groom the overall personality. People interact during such activities and imbibe team spirit. Dr Anubhav, under whose guidance all the instructors work, is keen to bring people close to the beauty of nature with such adventure activities. "Today, people are so involved with modern technology that they have forgotten to interact with nature. Tell them to play a video game and they will make the highest runs; now ask them to hold a rope and move down the steep rocks and it gives them a rush of adrenaline. After rappelling, one gets the feeling that yes, I can do this. And this is the most necessary thing in adventure."
Life is like a simple road. Walking on it, we might some day find ourselves on top of a giant heap of troubles, and there is no way to come down. But there lies a single rope that reaches the surface. You have the option to either keep fretting over the problems or hold the rope and descend. This is what rappelling teaches you.
Seasonal diets have always been an intrinsic part of Indian cuisine. Monsoon foods of different communities have been very significant for the simple reason that this season is so central to the subcontinent. Traditionally, this has been a season of abundance, fertility, and of celebrations.
Let us review the traditional wisdom regarding monsoon diets and find out whether it is still relevant. More importantly, one can incorporate our age-old wisdom into the present-day diets and enjoy this lovely season while remaining healthy and energetic.
In ancient times, infections were the most dreaded ailments. Lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart problems were not so common. Since the rains typically brought in several water-borne diseases of the stomach in our tropical climate, there was a stress on hygienic and safe food and the use of spices and condiments to aid digestion.
That is how the concept of pucca khana came about. Foods fried in hot oils had no chance of harbouring any disease causing bacteria. It is to this wisdom that we can possibly trace the evolution of bhajiyas, bhajas and pakoris, not to mention aloo ki tikkis, samosas, vadas and pattods (colocasia leaves pakoras) as monsoon delicacies.
In keeping with the tenets of ayurveda, fermented foods were avoided in the rainy season. So, plain yoghurt was not advised. Curd or lassi prepared with a tempering of either garlic, ginger or hing was allowed.
This perfectly made sense as fermented foods are most susceptible to bacterial infections. Tempering them at least partially cooked them.
Naturally sour, astringent and bitter foods were supposed to be included in the diet— supposedly to benefit the stomach and keep diseases at bay in this season. The use of tamarind and mint was encouraged. Spices like hing and tumeric were considered antiseptic and digestive.
Taking the cue from our rich traditions and keeping the present-day conditions in mind here are a few diet tips that can be followed during monsoons.
Make sure that you drink safe water. One can boil water with mint leaves or cloves and drink it instead of plain water. Light teas with ginger or mint are also healthy.
Include naturally sour food (not fermented) like tamarind, tomato, lime, and thin buttermilk in your diet — in soups, dals and vegetables.
Garlic, pepper, ginger, asafoetida, sonth, turmeric, coriander and jeera enhance your body’s digestive power and improve immunity and have antibacterial actions.
Eat moderate quantities of food.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, particularly leafy ones.
Drink only pasteurised and boiled milk.
Avoid frozen milk products, as one is not sure how long they have been kept in the freezers.
Sprouts, especially moong and moth, are very healthy snacks for this season. Just steam them and saut`E9 them in a little oil with a dash of hing and salt. These are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B and fibre.
Dried roasted grains, chana or roasted corn are healthier than curried and watery preparations which are more susceptible to infections and infestations.
Avoid raw salads. Choose vegetable stew or steamed salad.
Choose grilled sandwiches instead of cold ones.
Fried snacks seem really tempting in the monsoons but keep it in moderation once in a while. Instead of deep frying, one can use a nonstick pan and make some low-fat versions of corn cutlets and pakoras.
So, try some of these interesting recipes to spice up your rainy day!