Recognized With Arthritis At 20, I’ve Spent 100 Days Kayaking on River Ganga


Whereas there was appreciable disturbance on the opposite aspect of the road as a result of poor community, I might distinctly hear the enthusiastic voice of Rency Thomas. 

The 36-year-old out of doors skilled, Rency, is on a singular mission: a solo voyage to navigate the Ganga River in 100 days. This one-of-a-kind expedition depends solely on human-powered assets, together with biking, kayaking, and strolling.

Tackling the mammoth job of masking the Ganga, which spans over 2,600 km, Rency’s journey turns into much more inspiring when contemplating that he battles rheumatoid arthritis.

“I’m racing towards time as I’m not certain for the way lengthy my physique will have the ability to take such adventures,” he tells The Higher India

Discovering ardour in misplaced goals

Born and raised in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, Rency had all the time been an out of doors fanatic.

“I liked the outside and had nurtured just one dream all my life—to develop into an Air Pressure pilot,” he recollects.

For him, flying an plane was the final word dream, and he labored in direction of it for many of his younger grownup life. Whereas in faculty, he was already an NCC Air Wing Cadet, flying the Microlight Plane (a small and light-weight aeroplane designed to be easy and simple to fly, usually used for leisure functions).

“The signs began to indicate in faculty. That’s when my life modified drastically. Visits to hospitals and consultations turned out to be arthritis. Being identified with such a illness at a younger age can break or make your perspective on life,” he says.

Rency's expedition of tapping the river Ganga is completely human-powered
Rency’s expedition of tapping the river Ganga is totally human-powered. Image Credit score: Rency Thomas Crew

Recalling the preliminary days of his prognosis, he mentions that he was left fully crippled and mattress sure. “I had misplaced using my left leg and there was a whole lot of muscle contraction which made it inconceivable for me to do something,” he says. 

Whereas aspiring to develop into a pilot and becoming a member of the Indian Air Pressure, Rency acquired medical recommendation to keep away from bodily actions.

“I used to be heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Everybody emphasised that the Air Pressure wouldn’t settle for somebody with an sickness like arthritis. It was a harsh actuality, and it took me a while to just accept the drastic change in my life,” he recollects.

Amidst the wrestle with ache and psychological agony, Rency misplaced the one dream he had ever nurtured. “It’s virtually like restarting every little thing,” he says, acknowledging that “the signs can reoccur, and there’s actually no stopping this illness, solely stopping.”

Regardless of the ache and the shattered dream, Rency determined to emerge stronger. “I had all the time liked being outdoor, and I refused to let my dream be shattered this manner. I selected to be taught gentle plane flying,” he provides.

“Coming from a middle-class household, and after finishing numerous programs, I realised I used to be burdened with a whole lot of scholar loans. I needed to do one thing,” he explains.

He initiated a startup in Bengaluru, which sadly needed to shut because of logistical issues. He then moved to Manali to ascertain his journey startup, Live360 Adventures.

The startup gave wings to Rency’s outdoorsy spirit. “I don’t know once I would possibly lose the functioning of one other a part of my physique. I lately had an episode that left little or no mobility in two of my fingers,” he shares. 

When Rency mentions a time crunch, he actually means it. “I had been on a motor expedition throughout the Ganga in 2015. Since then, I’ve felt this sense of urgency in my head to undertake this solo journey with out the motors,” he provides.

Traversing the majestic Ganga

On November 4, 2023, Rency packed his luggage and with a coordinating workforce of three, launched into his journey.

Twenty-five days into the journey, Rency is at present in Sangara, about 25 km downstream from the Narora barrage.

Reflecting on his journey up to now, he shares, “I began from Gaomukh, the place to begin of Gangotri, and accomplished the trek in a single day. The subsequent day, I started my biking journey from Gangotri to Devprayag — the place the place Alaknanda and Bhagirathi converge to type the Ganga.” 

Until Devprayag, Rency used a mountain bike after which switched to kayaking. 

If the weather conditions are clear, Rency is expecting to finish his voyage within 100 days if not earlier.
If the climate circumstances are clear, Rency is anticipating to complete his voyage inside 100 days if not earlier. Image credit score: Rency Thomas Crew

“There are two kinds of kayaking — sea kayaking and white water kayaking. Given the Ganga’s robust currents, a small, extra controllable kayak is used. The stretch from Devprayag to Rishikesh is a white-water part, and I accomplished it in three days,” he says.

There are two barrages in Haridwar and Rishikesh that the adventurer drove his mountain bike on. “After Haridwar, I switched again to kayaking. The waters are calmer, so I’m sea kayaking right here. Each night time, I camp in a spot accessible to the river by street,” he explains.

Whereas the river has been tough and foggy with low visibility prior to now two days, Rency anticipates that with higher climate, he can end the voyage inside 100 days.

“To not sound too assured, but when the climate is with me, I believe the journey will be completed a number of days early too,” he says. 

When discussing the challenges forward, the one side that issues Rency is the tidal exercise of the river as soon as it crosses the Farakka Barrage.

Near the Bangladesh border, because the river approaches the ocean, it experiences tidal actions. Navigating by this would possibly pose a problem, however Rency reassures, “My workforce is ready for that.”

Whereas alone on the river, admiring the majestic landscapes, Rency acknowledges that there have been moments when he questioned the aim of the complete expedition.

“I begin to marvel why I signed up for this when the circumstances develop into robust and painful. The river is so huge, with quite a few channels, and abruptly you end up caught alone in a sand mattress,” he displays.

“Once I was first identified with arthritis, I felt like I had misplaced one thing. It was no fault of mine how my life turned out. The thought that I’ll by no means lose in my life is my gas when circumstances get robust. It’s stated that ‘zeher hello zeher ko katata hai’ (The one antidote to poison is poison), and that’s how I’m approaching my ache. I’ll beat it with ache,” he declares.

“It’s simple for individuals dealing with related circumstances like mine to lose coronary heart and cease dwelling. I skilled that too for some time, however I need to convey that it’s doable. No matter you’re dreaming, should you push your self sufficient, you possibly can obtain it,” he provides.

Should you want to monitor Rency’s unimaginable journey, you possibly can click on right here

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)


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