Yea, I want to do more rafting and in more challenging rivers. Bhote Koshi, I will see you soon!
Bindas over water: Wagle waves at camera while rafting
That was my first experience with rafting. I was excited and was too eager to board into one of the raft boats anchored on the bank of Trishuli River. At the same time, I didn’t want to miss any of the ‘useful’ verbatim that I may hear during rafting because I was there to write a story for my newspaper. So I was ready to raft with camera, notebook, pen (and iPod) on my handbag that was air-tightly packed and hooked into the boat. Apart from that, I had carried a few blank pages from the notebook and a ball point pen with me. I soon realized it was very challenging to save notebook from the waves of water that suddenly pour over you as the raft dances over water. Still, the good reporter in me successfully kept those pages in my pocket unwashed and kept on noting down anything that I deemed important and useful for my stories. But the most important challenge was to find a good story- not just the reporting the event (organized by an organization called KTM cards of singer Deepak Bajracharya that sells membership cards to fans and brings them near to the celebrities in occasions like this and other gatherings in Kathmandu.)
Shake your body! The guy in the middle is Avash Karmacharya of the Kathmandu Post. The other guy on right is a very pleasing reporter from Channel Nepal.
A local woman watches as guys and girls in colorful dress twist their bodies in various styles.
Naresh Rai, 32, of Dharan was the our rafting guide. I wrote a story about him and the rafting world in Kantipur. (see the box below)
धादिङ- ‘मैले फोवार्ड भनेपछि प्याडलले पानी पछाडि धकेल्नु होला,’ प्याडललाई कसरी दुवै हातले अँठ्याउने भन्ने सिकाएपछि उनले निर्देश गरे- ‘अनि डुंगा अगाडि जान्छ । म राइट ब्याक भन्छु, दायाँ पट्टीको प्याडलले पानी पछाडि धकेल्नु, बायाँपट्टीकाले अगाडि । याद गर्नुस् है, र्यापिडमा मैले भनेजस्तो गर्नुस् । फरवार्डभन्दा ब्याक गर्ने होइन । (र्यापिडमा) एउटा बाटो हुन्छ, त्यसलाई फलो गर्नुपर्छ ।’
परिचय गरौं नरेश राईसँग । उमेर-३२, घर- धरान । अफिस- नेपालका केही चर्चित खोलाहरू, काम- हावाले भरिएका ठूला डुंगा चलाउँदै पानीको बहावसँगै दक्षिणतिर हानिने साहसिक शौखिनहरूलाई सहयोग पुर्याउने । शनिबारको घमाइलो दिन नरेश तयार भएका छन् धादिङको मलेखुबाट खटौतीसम्मको तीन घन्टे जलयात्राका लागि । आजको डुंगामा नेपाली पत्रकारहरूको एउटा टोली छ र नरेशका हरेक निर्देशन छचल्किएको पानीले भिजेको डायरीबाट च्यात्तिएका पन्नामा नोट गरिने छन् । (continue reading this Kantipur story about a rafting guide and Nepali rafting world here.)
The reporting of the event in Kantipur
खोलामा तैरेपछि बालुवामा नृत्य
खटौती (धादिङ्)- त्रिशूलीको त्यो शक्तिशाली प्रवाह निरन्तर चलायमान रहँदा पूर्वी किनारको बालुवा मैदान (बीच) मा केही दर्जन तन्नेरीका खुट्टाका बुढीऔंलाले थपथपाइरहेका छन् । व्यस्त राजमार्गसँगैको त्यो खाली स्थानमा तीव्र गतिमा दौडेका बसका यात्रुको ध्यान तान्ने गरी कुनै पुरानो लोकगीतको रिमिक्स संस्करण घन्किइरहेको छ । ‘अब नाच्ने बेला भयो,’ डिजेको माइक हातमा लिँदै गायक दीपक बज्राचार्यले घोषणा गरे- ‘सबैजना चौरको मध्यभागमा आइदिनुहोला । लौ म सुरु गछर्ु ।’
तपाईं पढ्दै हुनुहुन्छ, शनिबार त्रिशूली किनारमा भएको एउटा मनोरञ्जक घटना विवरण जसमा दुई सय ५० तन्नेरीले र्याफटङ् गरेपछि किनारमा ओर्लेर डान्स पार्टीमा सहभागी भइरहेको दृश्य समेटिनेछ । बज्राचार्यले केही महिनाअगाडि ख्यातिप्राप्त र तिनका प्रशंसकहरूलाई नजिक्याउने उद्देश्यले थालेको ‘केटीएम कार्ड’ योजनाअन्तर्गत आजको साहसिक र सांगीतिक जमघट भएको हो जसमा कम्तीमा १५ जना गायक, कलाकार र ‘कार्ड’ लिएर सदस्य बनेकाहरू सहभागी छन् । (continue reading this Kantipur story about the event here)
We started sailing and I had tentatively figured out about my storyline. At one point, after seeing some of fellow rafters swimming in the muddy water of Trishuli, I also jumped over and tried to swim. The lifejacket and helmet weren’t taken off which made my swimming efforts easy. I was happy. I wanted to dive. I dived but fell over a rock and that hit on my belly. Ouch. It was more than ouch actually. I was hurt badly but didn’t let anyone notice my foolishness and/or childish misadventure. I soon realized I shouldn’t have swum because I was not feeling cold. But that was okay, once a while.
It’s a team work and you all row the oars in a perfect order so that the raft goes in right direction at right time.
Again it’s a team work. After you get off the rafts, you take them to the bank.
Where is the character of my story? I found the answer in our captain raftman Rai. (I did one story about the life of raft pilots- apart from the event reporting- in which Rai was the central character. People appreciated that piece because, they said, they learned about the inside story of rafting world through that story.)
Unlike Bungee jumping that I had done a week earlier, rafting was cool and fun. I was enjoying it. More so in the waves, bigger waves. I suddenly felt that Trishuli was too easy a river for me to raft. I wanted to do the same in more challenging rivers like Bhotekoshi. I am looking for opportunity to go there and raft. Rai told me that rivers are classified on the basis of the strength of current of their waves and Trishuli falls in the beginners’ category. My conclusion: I am not a beginner in rafting. I need to upgrade the waves. I need to raft in Bhotekoshi.
The guy on the left is Sharad Chirag, a journalist with Nepali Samacharpatra. I met a few very interesting and friendly guys like Sharad in the trip which was another hallmark of the day.
Dinesh Wagle, self portrait. Rafting.
Photojournalist Bikash Karki (right) uses his muscles to push the boat ahead.
Just for the camera, before actually starting to raft.
To row continuously is indeed a challenging act. Body and arms ache if you don’t do it properly or do it for longer period without taking rest. In the beginning I was eager and excited to fiddle with oar but as we went down, the excitement waned because I was getting tired. But that was a good experience especially after the disappointing Bungee saga.
A dance-on-the-sand party was supposed to be organized on the Royal Beach, the place where we get off from the boat after about three hours of rafting. But it was time for wind and brief rain that not only blew away the loosely tied tents but partially ruined the party venue. Many said the food tasted weird as it was filled with sands but everyone was hungry so the food wasn’t wasted.
The dance indeed happened after the lunch, and after a struggling DJ finally fixed the music system. The host of the program, Deepak Bajracharya, invited folks for the dancing session and a few went near the sound system and started twisting their bodies. I wasn’t interested in dancing and instead kept myself busy taking pictures. When you have an iPod, you find even the best DJs boring. I felt the same but there was no point in turning my iPod on.