You might not have heard what tubing is. It is not a popular sport and you have few adventure sports organizations that would offer to take you on tubing. It is a sport like rafting where you sail down the river, sitting in a tube. Tube as in, tubes like the ones you find in a truck’s tyres.
It must have been around 8 years ago. We were in early years of college with a mind for adventure and fun. We wanted to go out and do many many things but did not really have money for all that. One day, of my friends suggested the idea of tubing down the river Kaveri. It sounded like a good idea but we never thought we would actually do it. But we kept thinking of it anyway and decided to get working.
The dangers involved were plenty. We had no life jackets with us, and at that point of time, none of us were confident swimmers. The truck tubes being a very raw device not meant for such purposes, things could get bad easily. It could hit something and develop a hole, or just go out of balance and drown us. But the expectation of adventure out powered the dangers. And to make things better for us, we decided to do this in the peak of the monsoons when the river was running to the fullest.
It did not take us much to get ready. All we had to do was to get some old truck tubes and get going. We got into the bus to Mysore and got down at Srirangapattna. Soon we found a place where we inflated the tyres, tied the three tubes of three of us together, got into the river below the Poorvavahini bridge and started moving.
We were in the middle of the monsoon season and there was good rain in the days we went tubing. We did not encounter any rain on that day but plenty of water was flowing in the river. While in the bus, we had noticed Lokapavani – a rivulet that joins Kaveri a few kilometers ahead – was full and the water was moving down pretty fast. In Kaveri, there was just enough water for us to sail through. There was flow to keep us moving but it was not too fast to make us feel troubled.
We felt pretty elated when we started moving. We felt good and confident. A few minutes and we were at the Sangama where water from Paschimavahini merged in. A little later, water from Lokapavani also merged into the river and the water level became much higher. There was more water and we were moving faster and faster. In some occasions we could no longer control our tubes and we just kept moving as the river carried us. But it would slow down at times when the river was wider or deeper. We continued in this uncertainty for a few hours. There were times when we were bugged by mild panic attacks. We wondered about chances of tube getting a leak or that we could no longer manage to steer the tubes to the shores in the current. But it was more fun than panick. We went through fast and shallow regions, mild turbulences and wide and slow moving waters. All the time we noticed that the water level in the river seemed to be rising. We decided to pull over for lunch around noontime. It took us nearly 45 minutes to actually steer the tubes to the shores!
After eating the packed lunch, we decided to hear back to town instead of continuing. When we came back to Srirangapatna later, we realized that a lot more water was released from the dam(krs) and water level had actually rised almost 10 feet from the time we started! We went home with a feeling of having accomplished something. It was fun, but we never got back to doing it again.