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Ice, Ice baby: Things that make you feel alive!

There’s something about the cold and sub-zero temperatures that’s both spine-chilling and exciting at the same time. It makes you go “brrr” and yet the chill in the bone also gets you high (in the good sense!). When you see mountaineers climb the Everest, wrapped up in many, many layers of warm jackets or people visiting the coldest places on earth, it makes you wonder – are they really enjoying the extreme cold?

Road to Tawang

The higher you go, the colder it gets…

More importantly still, how do they even dare to take a bath?

This week’s Cinthol ad, where 3 intrepid people plunge into a polar bath literally made me shiver… The very thought of jumping into a pool where the water is many degrees below zero brings on the goosebumps, or gooselumps, as it says. It takes some courage, added with a bit of craziness to pull it off. And probably shouldn’t be attempted without parental supervision! (Or someone to pull you out, since once you’re in the freezing cold water, you might not actually be able to get out on your own.)

It reminded me of an adventure we had in the North East, a few years ago. Though we didn’t actually take the plunge, it was the closest we got to it! Four of us, intrepid travellers, decided to go and visit a few places including Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), Shillong (Meghalaya) and Guwahati and Hajo (Assam). The travel to Tawang is an ardous though very scenic journey, which takes all of the day in a cab, along the most winding roads you’ll ever experience. In fact, you wouldn’t really want to roll down your window and look down at any point of time. Especially, if you suffer from vertigo.

It was March, but never the less, the temperatures in Tawang were already hitting the low digits. Our plan was to take a jeep and go further up the hills where we would see snow and also skirt very close to the China border. Both rather exciting propositions for us!

Misty day near Tawang

The cold and mist makes for very low visibility

As we ventured towards the colder climes, the mist in the air made it almost impossible for us to see anything. All we could feel was the cold seeping through our jackets and sweaters and into our bones. We tried to keep warm in the vehicle by huddling together, but there’s little you can do to beat the cold.

We came across a frozen lake bed. Further down, we came across another lake, but this one had melted slightly – the sun had managed to beat it down. The water looked cool and inviting. But jump in? No way! In fact, it was torture to even put a hand into the cold waters.

A close encounter with sub-zero temperatures

A close encounter with sub-zero temperatures!

Will he, won't he!

Will he, won’t he (jump)? He definitely won’t! And thank goodness, since none of would have been able to brave the cold and fish him out!

We skirted the lake, went around it, even posed behind it. It was possibly one of the remotest, coldest places I’d been to. I was freezing and yet I felt a sense of being alive and whole and what a feeling it was.

Exploring the frozen lake

Exploring the frozen lake and hoping there aren’t any gaps!

The frozen lake

Doing a quick jig in the ice!

So I can well imagine what would happen if I got the opportunity to plunge into a polar bath. But if I ever get a change, I’m definitely packing extra dollops of courage and lots of warm clothes to get into, “afterwards”. And if I survived to tell the tale, it would definitely be a very cold and wet one!

(This is a part of the blogging series for the Alive is Awesome bathing project by Cinthol)

Fancy a polar plunge bath? Head to:
– Lake Hudson, Canada
– Outer Glaciers, Iceland
– Beardmore Glacier, Antarctica
– Northern Borders, Greenland

More in the Alive is Awesome series:
Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

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  1. Pingback: The magic of travel and why I do it | Just a little something

  2. Nice account of memories. I have been to many such places, and even tried to put my feet in freezing Lake Geneve. And yes, it’s an awesome moment of your life. 🙂

  3. Nice experience. I had a similar one in North Sikkim during December last week when the temperature was below zero.

    Definitely would love to visit Tawang during winter if roads permit. 🙂

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