Sunday, December 14, 2014

Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai!

Few things are simply hard to do. Something in us pulls us back when we try to attempt them. We call it 'fear', a feeling that simply overpowers us. I too had a fear of few things. Gladly, I have overcome some of them and working on the others. In my journey of conquering the fears that I have had, adventure has played a major role. I love doing new and exciting things, anything that sets my adrenaline high would be best to deal with my phobias, I thought. With the help of few adventure activities, I have overcome two fears - fear of being in the dark places and fear of swings. 

I had an acute Nyctophobia, fear of darkness. I couldn't go out in the dark or do anything in the dark. There has not been a single day in my life that I have slept with lights off. But in January 2014, I made a list of things I wanted to do and purposefully included many such things which would help me overcome my fears. So, in October 2014, I did cave exploration at night. It was the most daring thing for me. I did the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves Tours in New Hampshire. We were a group of 22 people including 2 guides. We only had a head lantern to guide us through the woods and find our path on the broad walk alongside the river. We had to pass through those caves which ran along the river. A part of the caves was underground where the river mystically disappears from the surface of the earth. And, as you might have guessed, that's why the river is called - Lost River.

There were close to 16 caves that we had to cross before reaching the camp ground. While some of the caves were easy and we just maneuvered our way through them, others were so difficult and tiny that we had to crawl on stomach to reach from one end to another. One cave was so intricate that we had to find our passage all by ourselves - we climbed the steep stairs, ducked many a times to avoid hitting the sharp hanging rocks and walked sideways for most part of it. What made all that extremely difficult for me was the eerie darkness inside those caves.

Our guide explained the techniques to be used before we entered each cave. Like to enter Squeezer Gauge, we had to take the upper body first. Also, he also asked if anyone wanted to skip any cave. Some caves looked so scary in that secluded New Hampshire cold that I was so tempted to say no. But then, I asked myself - wouldn't you not be disappointed later on? And I knew, I would be. So, with courage from my husband, I just entered each cave, braving through each and every fear I had about darkness. Since I am claustrophobic too, I was doubly scared. It was pitch dark and the caves were so small that we had to squeeze ourselves many a times to fit into the opening of the caves. I can't explain in words, how good it felt when I exited each of those caves. It was like a big big victory. Now, I know why people say - Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai! There is no other word than ‘victory’ to describe the feeling of joy when you overcome your fears.

Here are some pictures from the adventure - 

Our Guide explaining the details

Walking down to the river from the grounds

On the board walk

The most difficult cave

Squeezer Gauge 

Walking down to the underground caves

Me, quelling my fear

Celebrating at the end with fire and marshmallows 

Though I still sleep with lights on but now,  I can go out at night and I don't panic when there is a power cut. Fear, I realized, is a state of mind. Braving through it, you have to risk few things but conquering your fears brings many happy changes in your life. If you have any fear, face it and win over it. That's the only way to quell them.
*This post is written for #RiseAboveFear campaign sponsored by Mountain Dew India. Check their Facebook page for more action.


  1. Nyctophobic and you thought of overcoming it with cave adventuring in the night, Kudos.
    Rising above fear definitely makes us feel truly happy.

  2. Great to hear that you could successfully overcome your fear. In the long run, light pollution (switching on the lights at night) is not good for our health. We get sleep but not the deep sleep. You can also try an eyeshade/mask

    1. You are right, I never get sound sleep. I will buy eye mask and try it. Hope it will work.