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


Whereas there was appreciable disturbance on the opposite facet 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 sources, together with biking, kayaking, and strolling.

Tackling the mammoth process 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 be capable to take such adventures,” he tells The Higher India

Discovering ardour in misplaced desires

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

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

For him, flying an plane was the final word dream, and he labored in the direction of it for many of his younger grownup life. Whereas in school, 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, typically used for leisure functions).

“The signs began to indicate in school. That’s when my life modified drastically. Visits to hospitals and consultations turned out to be arthritis. Being recognized 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 Group

Recalling the preliminary days of his analysis, he mentions that he was left utterly crippled and mattress certain. “I had misplaced using my left leg and there was quite a lot of muscle contraction which made it unimaginable for me to do something,” he says. 

Whereas aspiring to turn 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 simply accept the drastic change in my life,” he remembers.

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 cherished being outside, and I refused to let my dream be shattered this fashion. I selected to study gentle plane flying,” he provides.

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

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

The startup gave wings to Rency’s outdoorsy spirit. “I don’t know once I may lose the functioning of one other a part of my physique. I not too long ago 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 baggage and with a coordinating staff of three, launched into his journey.

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

Reflecting on his journey to this point, he shares, “I began from Gaomukh, the start line 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 kind 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 Group

“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 highway,” 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 feel the journey will be completed just a few days early too,” he says. 

When discussing the challenges forward, the one side that considerations 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 via this may pose a problem, however Rency reassures, “My staff 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 your complete expedition.

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

“After I was first recognized 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 gasoline when circumstances get powerful. It’s mentioned 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 straightforward for folks going through related circumstances like mine to lose coronary heart and cease residing. I skilled that too for some time, however I wish to convey that it’s attainable. No matter you’re dreaming, in case you push your self sufficient, you’ll be able to obtain it,” he provides.

If you happen to want to observe Rency’s unbelievable journey, you’ll be able to click on right here

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)


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