Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | February 2, 2009


I have always admired a person who doesn’t think twice before experimenting with something that is absolutely new. Despite lot of encouragement from my parents, I have hardly ever indulged in any adventure. It should not have been the case though, but the embarrassing reality is, it is.

As a child, I was very scared of giant wheel and roller coasters. In fact, my cousins still joke with me about how as a child, I shouted on top of my voice while riding one. I learnt cycling when I was in junior school but motorcycles never attracted me. I learnt to drive a car when I was about 13 and drove quite consistently, but I am not an enthusiastic driver who loves to drive long. I have always enjoyed visiting the Himalayas and went to Bhutan too to reach closer, but I have hardly ever trekked. I know how to swim but I have never done wild-water rafting. In fact, my only pony ride at Mussoorie, when I was six year old was a disaster too. When it comes to adventures, I am indeed a black sheep. It is a shame and it gets magnified when I complain of a knee-pain (acquired through some insignificant cricket matches), back pain (due to bad sitting posture) and breathlessness (due to a habit which doctors in SSKM don’t approve of).

As always I am the one to be blamed because like I said before, there was no dearth of encouragement. Indeed, I have some other unique qualities (interests), but that does not justify the reality of my aversion towards adventure. Why did not I do it? Was I scared? I cannot say I was scared but may be I thought why I should physically exert myself in order to enjoy. Also, I did not have a set of friends with whom I could make such a trip. Therefore, over time this has created an apathy to adventuring.

After coming to NZ; this embarrassment has assumed a greater proportion. Every individual here is much fitter than an average Indian. Our lack of fitness has much to do with our eating habit. Having said that, it does not feel nice when you see your fitness level actually equates the fitness level of a Kiwi who is double your age! It is a horrendous feeling to see old men and women beating you consistently on uphill roads. It is all the more weird to see when you are the youngest person riding a bus to go to the top of a peak (other than possibly a new born baby!), while all others are walking up.

One of my friends quipped recently, ‘Have you ever walked at a stretch for more than thirty minutes?’ I found it really hard to answer that question though I have walked but may be less than five times.

In all these finally I decided that before I sink into much more embarrassment, it is time that I indulge into some kind of adventure. Decision making was not that easy because options are too many. Very near to our place is a bungee jumping point. My trip there was not very fruitful as it looked scary. The sky jump from the top of Sky tower, next to the bungee point was scarier. Options of diving from helicopter, underwater diving did not excite me much either. Finally, after lot of discussions and deliberations we decided on something. The joke made by my friend on walking helped it seemed. We decided to walk.

Coming weekend, we shall visit the Tongariro National Park. Globally, rated as one of the best sites to visit, the Tongariro crossing is a 17.2 kilometre stretch through volcanic fields, craters and mountains which can be crossed only by feet. It takes a minimum of seven and half hours walk to do the cross, because the roads / climbs are through uneven surfaces. Even the weather throughout the walk is a mix of heat (thanks to volcanic craters under the summer sun) and cold (thanks to chilly winds and altitude).

If you manage to see the pictures posted on the website then you shall see it is worth visiting. Perhaps it may also give me a bit of confidence when I finish the walk. I would write about the details of the trip and post pictures only after I have visited the place.

For many of you, it may not be a big deal but I have been thinking about the walk a lot. I have booked tickets and I am waiting to feel proud after the walk. However, sometimes I am asking stupid questions to my better half (just to irritate her) such as, ‘why don’t they have “mules” to take us up, like they have in Vaishno Devi (incidentally I have not visited the shrine too)?’ or ‘should I finally bring out my Indian flag from my baggage and take it there?’

Of course, the family in such times behave as if they have been superwomen and it is I who is the only dud! That is fine as long as they are happy.

In all laugh and games, I hope we don’t get too much muscle pain. I hope the weather holds up and surely we are bound to have a memorable trip.

We are taking the intercity bus through Hamilton. It takes five and half hours to reach National Park. We are returning by the Overlander train , which too takes five and half hours to reach Auckland. Somehow, because of the beautiful route that the train promises and for a natural Indian fondness for railways, I chose the train for my return journey though it was a bit of expensive!

A Kiwi would look at my itinerary, ‘Mate, why are you not hiring a car and driving down? None travels by bus or train out here.’

I would say, ‘Next time. Perhaps!’

At least there should be a start.


On another note, I hope this effort for senior citizens in Kolkata is implemented. However, when I remember some of the extremely ill-behaved cab drivers on Kolkata streets, I wonder how far my hope shall be realised.



  1. I wish you have a very good adventure without hurting your knee. There is much truth in the fact that a man is moulded by the environment he is a part of. Over here in Bengal, we have the best intellectuals and the worst workers. Very few are like our dear Suvro Sir who is not only an intellectual but a true worker. If all of us had been like that, Bengalis would not have been much different from the people over there in Auckland. I will be eagerly waiting for some pictures from your part. I wish I had been on that trip. Perhaps I will never have the money to go over there. I will visit it on your blog.

  2. 🙂
    nicely written. you know what, there are also few bengalis who did n number of adventures and doing it regularly. I started my career in Bangalore and met many bengalis (prabashis you may call them) in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai etc. I have seen them very active. Bengalis in Bengal probably are the laziest and always scared of everything. At least most of them are. But at the same time they travel a lot. They are different, very different. And about the fitness, nothing to do… Gangetic plain do not offer much to train them. But for you, this is probably the right time to experience the different stuffs. Bungee jumping is a cool option. Take care! 🙂

  3. Dear Tanmoyda, after your observation, I have processed the picture again to reduce the red tint. I hope it is al right now. There is also a cute wallpaper in my recent post. You may have it for your desktop. I am also surprised to see that Mr. Khasnabis happens to know you. I am very much impressed by his works at Flickr. I had also commented on one of his recent pictures. Though he has not replied, his pictures are truly good.

  4. Dear Tanmoyda,

    I have made a new profile at Flickr. You may check it out. I hope you will like it. I will come up with some of those images later on my blog. In the mean time you may see them on Flickr. I have not made it much public. A platform with thousands of photos being uploaded everyday by thousands of people hardly has any significance as hardly anyone takes time and patience to post any proper criticism. Yet, I uploaded my pictures there as I needed a flash presentation of my pictures, because I can not afford to have a personal website as of now. You may check my pictures on this link:



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