It all started with my recent FB post about the decline of Cholas. Kumaran, a Geologist working in Delhi, who had been following my posts for sometime, got in touch with me to discuss more on the history of Cholas. As we got talking, I was amazed at his passion for living one with the nature. Kumaran dons many hats as a wildlife conservationist, an adventure traveller, a rider, and a trained Wilderness First Responder. And oh, did I mention that he is also a Limca book record holder for paddle boarding in the open waters of Bay of Bengal for 7 kms? Kumaran also runs the Bay of Life surfing and paddle boarding school for people of all ages in Kovalam beach (yes the surfing school that we see in the Kovalam beach is run by Kumaran and his friends).
So when Kumaran called me up early last week and said he is going to be in Chennai for the weekend and would like to take me up for a session on Stand Up Paddle boarding, I was a little hesitant being part of the “non-swimming no life skills acquired” populace of the Chennai city. But then the adventure loving part of my brain that had earlier pushed me from a twin engine plane from 13000 feet woke up again and egged me on to go ahead on it.
Ofcourse Kumaran’s assurance that the water level in the lake wont even reach till my hip helped as well.
So off we went early in the morning in Kumaran’s Scorpio all geared up. We headed out on the Mambakkam road which suddenly turned from being the chaotic Chennai outskirts to a farmland heaven with fields dotted all over. I swear I even saw a signboard that cautioned drivers to go slow as peacocks and deer may cross the road.
After 30 mins of driving we stopped at the intersection of Mambakkam road and Tirupporur-Chengalpet road for breakfast. The small push cart shop run by a couple had hot idlis and masal vada with piping hot sambar which was enough ammo for the rest of the morning.
We arrived at the beautiful lake, away from all civilization except for a Hanuman temple atop a hillock nearby which actually did provide quite a spectacular view of the lake. And Kumaran has aptly named the lake Bajrangi Bhaijaan lake. What amazed me was the fact that there is this beautiful lake just within an hour’s drive from Chennai and not many know about it. We were the only two souls there and Kumaran nudged me to get things ready on my own with a bit of his help. After a few minutes of pumping, the raft was ready and we were all set to get into the water.
The clay bed of the lake was a new experience for my feet and for the initial few moments I had a tough time to not slip and fall. Once I got used to it, it was fun to balance and walk on the clay bed.
Being a professional trainer, Kumaran helped me with the basics of paddle boarding and made me comfortable to onboard and get paddling. I was kind of expecting Kumaran to topple the boat and dunk me in the water to get my fear of water out but then Kumaran is not a banana boat rider in the commercial beaches of Goa. Being a thorough professional and not the one for cheap thrills, Kumaran was helpful and made me comfortable throughout.
After a bit of struggle, I got used to stand up paddle boarding and was quite enjoying the experience when Kumaran brought out his snorkelling equipment out. Since the water was pretty clear and wasn’t too deep we could see a lot of flora on the lake bed. Though there were a few turtles that were said to be there, I couldn’t spot one unfortunately.
After spending an hour experiencing nature at its best we wrapped up. Kumaran was quite a stickler for conserving nature as it is and hence we had to carefully check so as to not leave any garbage, plastic or otherwise.
One of the best things about my photo blogs on history is that I get to meet a variety of inspiring people. Kumaran is definiftely one such inspiration and I would recommend everyone to follow him on FB.