Adventure Camps 2016
Class 12

Class 12 - Alaknanda River Rafting Expedition 2016
There couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the journey of the several adventure camps we undertook as students of Vasant Valley School. Four days of getting into the same wet life jackets, sleeping under the stars, screaming ganga maiya ki jai and singing kajrare as we emptied sand out of our ears was all it took to create memories that are going to last forever. From the (possibly overhyped) Wall to Daniels Dip to Roller Coaster, these four days of rafting and building our own shelters and toilets brought us together (despite the occasional yet expected drama) in a way nothing else could have. Whether it was the water fights, the lovable instructors, the 'agori baba' stories or the complaints on being drenched - as we entered back into school at 1am, sunburnt and tired, each of us came with many memories made and many more stories to share.
With pillow creases still marring our faces and eyes reflecting dreams of giant Zzz's, the eighty-eight of us piled into school at an unearthly hour on a Tuesday morning. We left families patiently waiting outside the white gate to embrace the ones that awaited us inside with impatience. For the ninth and final time, we sat huddled on the centre steps and listened to Mrs. Krishnan call (and berate) us out. And for the last time we ascended the bus and train with shoulders leaden with "tuck" filled bags (shh), ready to undertake our final journey together.
The next four days were a repetition of starry skies, glimmering sands and the endless beauty of River Ganga. A sea of red, blue and yellow lifejackets, we eagerly piled into rafts that served as our makeshift homes at night. Equipped with (now lost) Go-Pros, water balloons and a crazy amount of energy ("props" to all the "eggs" we ate!), we gave everything we had into making our last the absolute best.
We picked up a lot along our journey downstream. Screaming "Ganga maiya ki Jai!" at the top of our lungs (and leaving both the Jai's basking in the spotlight) was one of them. Getting 'shark-attacked' into the icy water was definitely another. Paddles became our weapons of choice, which we used to start mulitple water fights. But the highlight of our 'education' was learning how to survive one of the most dangerous rapids on the Ganga, 'The Great Wall'. And we can proudly say that we all did (barely) make it out alive, with only two lucky rafts flipping over during the perilous venture. With reluctance we'll admit that every battle fought with the Ganges did not result in absolute victory (dislocated shoulders and hairline fractures stand testimony to that!).
The Expedition was an ode to all the gandi games we played and learnt to play and a postponed farewell party that continues to carry on. We cribbed together as sand wiggled its way into every single pore of our body, laughed together as we dug perfectly squared toilet pits in remote locations of the campsite, cried together as we used dettol to soothe the nicks and cuts that dotted our battered bodies and exclaimed with wonder together when we took in the beautiful view that awaited us at the end of an arduous trek. When 'sentiness' threatened to permeate the air, it was immediately pierced through by the loud chorus of 'kajrare' that became the anthem of the trip.
It's hard to believe that what had once been seen through dreamy, childlike eyes became a thing of the past so soon. With sunburnt faces and darkened skin, we returned home in the wee hours of the morning, bearing the evidence of a battle well fought. With the awaited Alaknanda Expedition under our belts, it's exciting (and nerve wracking!) to see what the future holds in store for us.

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