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The group of 8 –odd people were victors and weirdos in their own right. They came from a varied background, analysts crunching numbers day and night, consultants defining and shaping companies future, saviors, oil field experts, software designers and a weed smoking explorer.  This ragtag group of professionals was up against the best of the home squad, a Nepali rafting veteran, his young shiny eyed apprentice and a local beer sipping Himachali. The intro group briefing by the apprentice is interesting, he is smart and comic to soothe the nerves of tensed Pros J.

Rafting - The Sutlej-1

I settle in with the veteran, constantly nagging about the sport and its hazards but soon the view of the valley takes control over the thoughts and the sound of water rustling under the raft seems home.  I ask if I could take a dip and I saw angst in the eyes but he gives in to the pup face and lets me go for it. The water is freezing and I can’t breathe, holding the safety line tight as instructed, I could see why, I could feel myself being carried away in the wave, suddenly Vasundhara dives but accidentally leaves her rope in shock. She is being carried away by the wave pretty quick. She’s awestruck and won’t budge to make an effort, or was there no time, but the veteran takes control over things and speeds up the raft and pulls her in. Vasundhara suddenly reminds him of his daughter back in Nepal and he pours his heart out. We get back to the task of rowing into the rapids, trying to keep our raft afloat, Raft-Ho!

At the end of it, we stop by a bridge, perfect for jumping into the Sutlej from 10-meter board; we dry ourselves off and look around for a hot cup of tea and fags. No one carried a camera into the raft, now everyone wants a picture; is it not strange we always want more!
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