Had been wanting to do this since a long time. But things kept coming up in between so had to postpone it often. Even this weekend would almost turn out to be another postponement, were it not for my workmate and friend Anurag. As his blog would testify, Anurag is one of the most adventurous people I have known with a zest for anything and everything.
I met Anurag at Andheri near his place and we scooted off to the rock climbing pad at Goregaon. Reached there well before the scheduled time of 6.30 pm, and found two kids standing near the secluded artificial wall. I was beginning to have doubts about how good this idea might turn out to be. We went off to while away our time with a tea break. Even after that, we still had loads of time on our hands. Anurag took off on a ride down the Eastern Express Highway, telling me about Film City, National Park, and his trip to Kelwa. I felt as if he was the Mumbaikar and I the outsider (for lack of a better word) – it’s the other way round actually. We were heading to Aksa Beach when we reminded ourselves of our original purpose, so headed back to the rock climbing spot.
The sight was a fry cry from the deserted look we had met earlier. Kids in varying sizes, armed with harnesses stood waiting for their turn to scale the wall. I scanned the crowd to see if there was anyone over 20 in there. Nope, no one except for the parents who were egging their kids on. Anurag and I sure felt out of place for a brief moment. But then, when you gotta do something you just go ahead and do it. So after a basic preliminary enquiry, we strapped on the harnesses.
I knew I was short of fitness for any activity of this scale. Did a few warmups, while Anurag coolly watched the kids at play. ‘Waise bhi lagne waali hain yaar’ were his ominous words.
Anurag went in first. For a first timer, he was reasonably quick, and made it to the top of the basic route. The kids had a great time too, cheering him on. Buoyed by his success, I marched ahead, ready to conquer my own little scaled down version of Mt. Everest. The instructor gave me a few basic instructions before flagging me off on my journey. And what a journey it was. The jeans (yes, I know it’s a horrible idea to wear jeans for a climb) made it difficult to stretch my legs, so I had to rely on the upper body a lot more than I would normally have to. Reached midway with little fuss. The climb further though needed a humongous effort. Fell short of the finish by a few meters, and could feel the stiffness in my arms when I was back to the comfort of even ground.
Both Anurag and me decided to take a second go at the wall. Anurag took a different route, while I stuck to the previous one. Had to complete it before moving on to another route – ego at stake 😉 This time the climb was less strenous. The first attempt helped, though in the end I still could not get to the top. Realised I need to build up on the stamina. Nevertheless, I think this was a good learning experience.
Cooled ourselves with some fruit juices and made our way back. The feeling of wind breezing past my sweat soaked face was a heavenly one.
Am hooked on this for sure. Will try the wall at Powai soon.
If you are interested, here are the details:
Where: Arun Samant Climbing Wall,
Nandadeep High School,
Jayprakash Road No. 4,
When: 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm everyday except Tuesdays
The wall is 43 feet high, and at Rs. 30 for a visit, this is one activity you can take up regularly over the weekend.