A lot of people ask me if it’s lonely out on the water paddling for hours.
As the evening sun began to sink and I was into my 9th kilometre of the day. I looked up at my watch to see how far out I was.
Out of the corner of my exhausted eye I spotted the tell tale signs of something making its way back under.
And my evening was about to get infinitely better.
I made for the spot which my fellow mammal had so recently vacated, and stood still. I was rewarded as 1,2,3 dolphins made their way to the surface 30 metres from where I stood (or floated presently). And what a playful lot they were. The water was warm and, like self aware actors that enjoyed their craft, they loved the audience.
Sitting right between me and swiftly dimming light on the horizon, they rose and fell, ever so gracefully. And it was clear they weren’t coming up just for air. As the first came up, the second had his snout out and playful nuzzled him, pushing him out and over the side.
One can only imagine how playful they were under the water.
I sat the for a full three minutes lost to the spectacle. Then I kayaked back. Knowing I was not alone on the water.
Raj Bhavan sits on the edge of Malabar hill and looks out on to marine drive. On a 3 km run I stand facing the whole of it, with a Mumbai Police buoy to give me company.
On Thursday, the 20th, after a long afternoon of training, I found myself at the house I’ve spent many a kayak session outside. (Albeit on the water.)
The Governor of Maharashtra, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, was exceedingly polite and made allowance for the traffic in Bombay. Rushing in, the ADC gave us a sharp reprimand about the time, but the Governor didn’t bring it up even in passing. His only concern was his evening conversation he had to have with his daughter. Terribly humbling.
Our conversation took place overlooking Marine drive, with it’s soft yellow lights and the soothing sound of waves lending a tranquil setting to the evening.
I informed him of my kayaking, and my representing India at the Dragon Boat race in Thailand, 2012. I told him about the secular team we at the event, with people from Kasmir, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and how often our practice used to bring us far out enough to see his house. The boys had all been curious about it, and it was a point of discussion of many a training.
The hospitality offered was exquisite and extended well after our meeting. The PRO was prompt in giving us photographs as memories of the evening and lent a ear to my coming expedition.
Mumbai was overcast today. Lovely weather after the days of may heat.
Conditions were perfect to take a kayak out and I didn’t need a dry fit with the cloud cover. Slapped on a little sunscreen and after a quick warm up I was out with the wind behind me and the cool water rising over the sides of the kayak.
Heading out to the yacht was a breeze and I pushed it a little further to break the 2 km barrier. (I often do this to gauge my speed on runs to and fro) But you turn back to the shore and I could feel the strain on the arms and the wind hitting you square in the face.
I completed 3 trips. Covering a little more than 12 kms in an hour and a half.
It’s a steady beginning.