Finding Nemos: The tale of Scuba divers | mumbai | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 14, 2017-Thursday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Finding Nemos: The tale of Scuba divers

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a fish? What if you got the chance to be Little Mermaid or Nemo, the clown fish and explore the open sea? This is exactly what some scuba divers in the city do, reports Shriya Ghate.

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2009 01:38 IST
Shriya Ghate

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a fish? What if you got the chance to be Little Mermaid or Nemo, the clown fish and explore the open sea? This is exactly what some scuba divers in the city do.

For those who have been bitten by the scuba bug, taking it up as a profession has been a natural progression. “I worked as a management consultant in New York before I started diving,” says Neet Shah (33), a graduate from IIM (A), “but after, I felt like I could do it for the rest of my life, and came to India to start a dive shop.”

Shah started Flying Mantas, a dive-shop named after Manta rays, with Jurgen van Duffel and Mandira Sharma in Mumbai, where he now organises diving trips. Shah's most memorable dive has been at the Galapagos Islands, where, in a single dive, he was able to see penguins, sea lions, sea turtles and sharks.

To be a scuba diver, to start with, you have to enrol yourself in a diving school where you do a few sessions in the pool, to familiarise yourself with the equipment.

When the instructor thinks you are ready, you are taken for a check-out dive, usually in the open waters in locations such as the Andamans and Lakshwadeep or even at Murdeshwar and Goa, depending on your budget. Post training, you are given a basic certification, depending on the dive associations your school has tied up with.

Anyone can scuba dive, so long as they don't have a fear of water or a physical ailment. “I have students from age 10 to 70,” says Jurgen of Flying Mantas. “And it is a myth that women don't dive much,” says Hayat Sadri (21), an HR college graduate, who had her first open water dive earlier this year. “There were women with children who were also in my group,” she says.

Scuba diving is a combination of sport and recreation. “Not only do you get the thrills, but you also discover a new world,” says Amrita Bharadwaj (31) who started diving in early 2008. “It is a non-competitive sport that allows you to enjoy yourself over an extended period of time,” says Anees Adenwala, whose film company executed underwater scenes for films such as Sarkar and Kambakkht Ishq.

The cord that connects scuba divers is their love of the sea. “Given a choice, I would live under water,” says Anees. “You realise how amazing Mother Nature is and you learn to appreciate her better,” says Romil Parekh (27), who works in a logistics company. “You can actually see the interdependence of species on each other. Living in the city, we don't understand what a fine balance it is,” he says.

“For me, it is a spiritual experience,” says Jurgen van Duffel of Flying Mantas, “all you can hear is your breathing, and you go into a calm and meditative state,” he reflects

Scuba diving is also a test of character, according to Anees Adenwala of Orca Dive Club. Being underwater can reveal things about your personality that you wouldn't otherwise see. "I have seen the most macho of men getting nervous in the open water, and I have seen the quietest people lose their inhibitions," says Anees. " You realise that the sea is too large and too powerful, and you have to maintain a healthy respect for it,” he concludes.

Shriya Ghate

shriya.ghate@hindustantimes.com

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a fish? What if you got the chance to be Little Mermaid or Nemo, the clown fish and explore the open sea? This is exactly what some scuba divers in the city do.

For those who have been bitten by the scuba bug, taking it up as a profession has been a natural progression. “I worked as a management consultant in New York before I started diving,” says Neet Shah (33), a graduate from IIM (A), “but after, I felt like I could do it for the rest of my life, and came to India to start a dive shop.”

Shah started Flying Mantas, a dive-shop named after Manta rays, with Jurgen van Duffel and Mandira Sharma in Mumbai, where he now organises diving trips. Shah's most memorable dive has been at the Galapagos Islands, where, in a single dive, he was able to see penguins, sea lions, sea turtles and sharks.

To be a scuba diver, to start with, you have to enrol yourself in a diving school where you do a few sessions in the pool, to familiarise yourself with the equipment.

When the instructor thinks you are ready, you are taken for a check-out dive, usually in the open waters in locations such as the Andamans and Lakshwadeep or even at Murdeshwar and Goa, depending on your budget. Post training, you are given a basic certification, depending on the dive associations your school has tied up with.

Anyone can scuba dive, so long as they don't have a fear of water or a physical ailment. “I have students from age 10 to 70,” says Jurgen of Flying Mantas. “And it is a myth that women don't dive much,” says Hayat Sadri (21), an HR college graduate, who had her first open water dive earlier this year. “There were women with children who were also in my group,” she says.

Scuba diving is a combination of sport and recreation. “Not only do you get the thrills, but you also discover a new world,” says Amrita Bharadwaj (31) who started diving in early 2008. “It is a non-competitive sport that allows you to enjoy yourself over an extended period of time,” says Anees Adenwala, whose film company executed underwater scenes for films such as Sarkar and Kambakkht Ishq.

The cord that connects scuba divers is their love of the sea. “Given a choice, I would live under water,” says Anees. “You realise how amazing Mother Nature is and you learn to appreciate her better,” says Romil Parekh (27), who works in a logistics company. “You can actually see the interdependence of species on each other. Living in the city, we don't understand what a fine balance it is,” he says.

“For me, it is a spiritual experience,” says Jurgen van Duffel of Flying Mantas, “all you can hear is your breathing, and you go into a calm and meditative state,” he reflects

Scuba diving is also a test of character, according to Anees Adenwala of Orca Dive Club. Being underwater can reveal things about your personality that you wouldn't otherwise see. "I have seen the most macho of men getting nervous in the open water, and I have seen the quietest people lose their inhibitions," says Anees. " You realise that the sea is too large and too powerful, and you have to maintain a healthy respect for it,” he concludes.