Amruta Raje had been a thrill-seeker all her life. For her bucket list, she had competed in the treacherous 3rd Ganga Kayak India Festival where she was awarded the Best Indian Women Paddler in 2015.
Most of Amruta’s youth was spent outdoors exploring the wild, looking for reptiles and often rescuing them. She had always wanted a life full of adventure and thrill and struggled for the same. But the life of an adventurer often had her listening to remarks of discouragement.
“I have heard so many people tell me that I cannot do something because I’m a woman.”
This eventually pushed her to participate in the Annual Ganga Kayak India Festival in Rishikesh on a bucket list and prove herself. She accepts that her husband has been a constant source of support all throughout her adventures.
Her memories are still fresh as she recollects how the international white-water kayaking event began. It all started at Phoochatti, a camp on the banks of river Ganga. She competed with a total of 71 paddlers in various categories from India and abroad – Nepal, England, Canada, USA, Wales, and Russia. The paddlers had set off from India’s highest iron seal launch ramp at 22-24 feet.
“The experience has been overwhelming and I have learned a lot of things about life and myself.”
Amruta accepts that the race has brought a great change in her. Earlier, the realization of being a part of such a difficult adventure sport and competing with international athletes made her skeptical of her abilities. But now, when she has held the trophy of the Best Indian Women Paddler at the event, she feels to have acquired the ability to face them head-on.
A lot of difficulties laid ahead of this bucketlister but Amruta was no quitter either. Financing her adventures have been the primary road block for her. Amruta narrates of a such a situation where she fought her way out of.
Amruta was working as an outdoor instructor when the organization that had employed her, out of staff shortage decided to shift her to the reception desk. Within 2-3 months of the job, Amruta started to feel the need of being outside on her bucket list adventures and not trapped indoors. Eventually, it was too much to take and she called in a quit. This meant that a steady source of income was no more there to support her.
“I had to sacrifice everything. I had no support or proper equipment for the Ganga Kayak India Festival. Even if I had to get a used kayak for practice, it would still require me to spend what I couldn’t afford.”
The bucketlister feels that she has the skills to become a professional kayaker and has been honing herself since. She indulges herself in safety kayaking and rescues people as well.
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Amruta wants to put out a message to the world. She wants to inculcate the idea of bucket lists. She believes that the 8-6 job schedules that we have are not where our lives should end.
“There are other options too. Trekking, biking, kayaking, skiing, ice-skating, rafting and so much more. I could just go on and on.”
The bucketlister also wants to change the mindset that demotivates women from playing a sport based on gender.
Earlier, she had a go at the ice-skating arena at Essel World, Mumbai. Kullu, where she is settled now doesn’t offer any opportunities. So, for her next bucket list, Amruta wants to ice-skate in Leh.
The adventure bug bit Amruta had a very early age which eventually turned into a passion. If you too have been bitten by the adventure bug like our bucketlister Amruta, and have a story to share. Tell us and get featured here!