Rayna Aranha, 34, can easily
qualify as the poster girl for
adrenaline junkies. Unlike colleagues
with home loans and
sizeable savings, this
Bangalore-based IT professional admits
to not having the 'right' bank balance
for her age, but that's only to be expected.
Aranha has bigger things to tackle,
like life's several neglected fears that
add up over the years with the potential
to leave us incapacitated -- fear of
heights, fear of depths, fear of the
unknown, even motion sickness.
For Aranha, there's only one thing
to do when faced with such a fear --
take up an adventure sport that brings
her face to face with it.
"I have motion sickness, and the
best way for me to beat my inhibition
is to take the wheel and go," said Aranha,
who learnt driving at 13 and soon began
to take road trips across the country.
It was on one of these driving trips
that she met the group of people who
introduced her to rallying. "Rallying
is a hard sport to be in, not to mention
expensive, but I enjoyed my two years
of it thoroughly," she said. "It was a
now or never moment for me, but I
knew I didn't want to get chained to a desk job, "she said
It was a similar decision that Badal
Doshi -- currently India's second ranking
Super-Cross champion -- took in
1994 as a 16-year-old. "I come from a
Gujarati family -- we're meant to make
money," he joked. "My parents were
very unhappy that I chose to pursue
something where you spend a lot money,
but make very little," said the Navi
But the 33-year-old MotoX and rally
champion, who represented India at
the Asian Scooter Grand Prix in 2006
and 2007, has no regrets.
"I eventually had to help out in the
family business, because even though
I was bringing home the trophies, I
was making no money," said Doshi.
Whatever money Doshi made, he'd
pump back into his sport. In the past
17 years, he has participated in over
150 events, garnered more than a 100
wins, and visited "every city between
the Himalaya and Tamil Nadu."
While for Doshi, extreme adventure
sport was a way of following his passion
in the face of parental displeasure,
for 38-year-old entrepreneur
Arachana Trasy, it offered a muchneeded
break from her hectic work
schedule. Trasy, who owns an entertainment
design firm, went skydiving
in Australia in January.
To drive home the point, she rented
a Harley Davidson and rode 45 km
to the skydiving institute, where she
underwent a rigorous training of 'knee
bending, shoulder tapping, hand opening
instructions and exercises', before
being flown 25,000 ft high for a jump.
"You jump and freefall at a speed
that you've never been at in your life.
You're so high up in the sky falling with
no control -- the feeling is astounding,"
The freefall may have lasted four
minutes, but the experience gave Trasy
a high that lasted for days after.
Sports commentator Charu Sharma,
50, was one of the first Indians to climb
Mt Meru in an Indo-Swedish expedition
in 1986. And while Sharma has
been an avid mountaineer since college,
driven by "the incredible attraction
of the topography, the weather,
the scenery and the loneliness" of a
mountain range, his passion for mountaineering
is not to seek adventure.
"One of the first things you realise
when you attempt a climb is that you
may not return. In that context, I've
made some of the best friends of my
life," said Sharma.
"And once you return," he added,
"You have a greater appreciation of
what you left behind."
"Mountaineering is way of breaking
free from the small unnecessary
things we get caught up with in our
everyday lives. It's a great way to get
rid of the notion that we are indispensable,"