This time when we visited the Damdama Lake, it was on a whim, moreover to try an Intex Challenger boat. I was a little apprehensive about the boat, but then when we filled it with air, there was nothing to complain about. Initially, my brother Sanjay and I tried it and then, it was like everyone wanted a ride! Of course, I lead the team to a secret spot that I knew from many years back and sure there was some water. A few locals who arrived on the scene warned us that the water was too deep, but then I knew the spot and so I decided to inflate the boat and strike away. Many years back in the early nineties, there was more water, but then today, there was none! Nevertheless, I knew the spot and drove my car on the dust-covered track.
Initially, at least no one was ready to get into the boat, and a couple of locals who were leading a few buffaloes warned us that the water was too deep. I was, of course, aware of the depths of the water though I humoured them.
My wife Nidhi was not so sure about the safety of the boat, but then when my brother Sanjay and I did a couple of rounds, she agreed to get on board. The pump did fail for a moment, but then we did fix it up.
A tete a tete was due and with all due respect, we had to respect the serious nature of the conversation meant that I had to give them leeway.
Sun-tan apart, I guess they were quite happy to smile for the shutter, for once I was not the one taking the snaps, what with having to pull an oar or two!
Careful, that is not a handle, far from it, that is an oarlock! Well, he surely had a great time pulling on the oars!
Well the deflating of the boat did take some celebration even as everyone made an effort to jump up high, but then I guess the successful launch of the "Challenger 3" did call for some jumping!
The Saras Complex that we went to next doesn't have much to boast about. In fact, there seems to be less footfall in recent times, probably because Damdama is not being maintained properly. What used to be a proper lake has now become a mere pond! The unfortunate fact is that the Gurgaon region has seen a steady loss of its precious wetlands. Excess construction has ensured that the rainwater channels that once fed the water bodies have been cut off. Images that I have shared on this blog will become mere memories.
The Damdama Lake and its surroundings once supported an extensive ecology with migratory birds arriving during the winter season, and resident Neel Gais taking a wallow in the waters. What we saw instead was a pack of Jackals by the edge of the water on the opposite side from where we had camped. I did try to take a few snaps, although they were a bit far away.