“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
Keeping the above quoted thought in mind, I decided I need to go somewhere. I dint know where I wanted to go, I just wanted to go. So, I Googled very subtly, “Places to travel alone in India”, I came across a very beautiful blog and one of the suggested place was Pondicherry. And I liked what I read about it. Then the question was what will I do in Pondicherry. Sure, It is a beautiful place. But it is quite small. I cannot spend days in Pondicherry admiring the same view. May be some people can. I cant. So again I Googled, “Things to do in Pondicherry”. And something very interesting caught my eye. Surfing. I have always been fascinated with surfing. Source: Movies. So, after two Google searches and a hunch, it was decided; I would go to learn surfing in Pondicherry.
The first thing that strikes you as soon as you land in Pondicherry is heat. Not that Pondicherry is very hot, but July normally brings rains in most parts of India. But in Pondicherry, July brings heat. Another special shout out goes to the Pondicherry airport. Its small. Really really small. I have seen houses that are bigger than the Pondicherry airport. We literally collected our baggage from the flight itself. There was a conveyor belt and everything in the airport. But they thought it would be more convenient to just hand it out to the passengers as soon as they get off. Also there were only two more people in the flight along with me, so it was okay. I made my way to the hotel that I had booked after paying 500 Rs for the taxi for a 2 km journey. There has never been a time when I have regretted my decision of being an engineer more than that moment. You can be a rickshawala in Pondicherry and earn probably more than most newly graduates can earn in a month ( Also you can be a bootlegger in Gujarat).
My surfing lesson started from the next day at the Kallialay Surf School. I was pretty excited about that. So, I went to the school, after applying loads of sunscreen on myself expecting to see a sophisticated set up with loads of hot chicks and surfer dudes hanging around. But, I saw a small house with the sign board of Kallialay hanging on the door knob. I was disappointed. But I was wrong. Pleasantly wrong. Kallialay Surf School or KASS is the perfect example of a pocket start up. The founders Samai and Juan literally started this school with their own pocket money in 2006. Initially they dint have much students, but slowly foreign tourists took a note of this place and decided to give it a try. Slowly, through word of mouth publicity, this place grew. And now KASS conducts three courses a day with 5-6 minimum students in each course. So, in simple words they are doing pretty well for themselves. And the reason behind their growth is also elementary as Mr. Sherlock Holmes would say. The instructors there give a fuck. They actually want you to learn surfing. They could easily give up on students like me, who suck. But they dont. The more you fall, the more they would try to help you out. And I don’t think, they have had any student who failed to learn. They are that good. KASS is still a passion of theirs and has not become their business. And that is why it would always work.
Surfing. Is. Life. Life. Is. Surfing. The similarities between life and surfing is mind boggling. Now basically Surfing is about paddling and pop up. Paddling is when you lie flat on your surf board and paddle with your hands in a direction that is perpendicular to the wave. The harder you paddle, better you will surf. As Samai would often say ” There is no such thing as over paddling”. Then there is the dreaded pop up. The part where you have to stand on the surf board and take complete control of it. But then there are some things that you have to keep in mind, when you are surfing. You have to commit yourself fully to the wave. You HAVE to choose your wave and devote yourself completely to surf over it. If you are not confident about getting on that wave, you will not be able to catch it. So, surfing is like life. Paddling is perseverance. Waves are the obstacles in your life. Pop up is success. In order to succeed, we have to commit ourselves fully to the problem at hand. Take the bull by its horn and work towards solving it. If we take half measures, we will fail. And also we have to choose our own battles. You cant catch every wave you see. You can only catch the waves when you are fully prepared and in position to do so. Again, we have to choose our battles. We cant win at everything. We have to be smart about the battles we want to win. But when we do everything right and are standing on the surfboard, then nothing else matters. You feel infinite. And that feeling matters. Nothing else.