ADVENTURE PULSE – Ten years & counting, but a lifetime in the making.

Adventure Pulse, a venture started by Sauraj Jhingan and Samir Patham, two young men who gave up established corporate jobs to pursue a passion and a dream.  That same passion saw them reach the summit of Everest in 2018 and today, complete 10 years of operations, an incredible milestone to say the least. Ten years and counting, but a lifetime in the making.

Where did it begin? A Mother’s Perspective

As an ardent adventure enthusiast and Samir’s proud mother, I have had a front row seat to bear witness to the formation of Adventure Pulse.  In truth, this story has unfolded over a lifetime, especially for Samir, probably in his genes.

Both grandfathers were in the Indian Army and as a little toddler, he would sit with rapt attention, listening to stories of their incredible adventures.  My Dad in particular, had a cupboard full of guns, used during his life time for Shikaar (hunting), a common practice when the world was less urbanized. 

When I was a child, I recall all my brother’s friends coming in to see this collection.  At a young age, we were taught the importance of gun safety; how to hold, clean, load and fire a gun.  Rules of gun handling and use were drilled into us before we even got to touch them. The fundamental Rule for all who came to see these guns were, “See but do not touch”.

Several years later, I married a Naval Officer. Samir, being brought up in this Defence environment (where his Dad besides being in the Navy was also a Deep Sea Diver), got to do a lot of outdoor and adventure activities that perhaps most children today do not have access to.

From camping on the beaches of Trivandrum (when outdoor camping was not heard off) to horse riding, he certainly did not have a conventional childhood.  One instance in 1994, we drove down to a beach in Kovalam from Cochin in our brown little Maruti Omni Van. Driven by Sam’s father, we were two adults, two small children, and our two dogs; one German Shepherd and our little Daschund. In addition, the van was stuffed with a few basic supplies like a borrowed tent inner (not even a proper tent), quilts (no sleeping bags then), a gas petromax with a small cooking cylinder, food and a big mosquito net for the night.

We lived like this on the beach for a week; two boys, two dogs and two adults without a care in the world.  We were permitted by the local Mosque to use their outdoor toilets, and even got permission to use the Ashoka hotel beach changing rooms to have a bath; though the boys would just jump in the sea. We managed with the mini gas cylinders that was used for cooking during the day and to provide light for an hour at night.

We had a lot of people come up to our camp and ask us, where were we from. When we told them, we stayed in Cochin and had come here for a holiday, they refused to believe us saying, “Indian people do not holiday like this”.

When my husband was doing the Defence Services Staff Course (DSSC) in Wellington, Ooty, the rest of the students would head out to the excitement of cities like Mysore or Bangalore during the term breaks. We would instead, head to the Pykara lake in Ooty, where the Indian Navy had a training centre with a small single room guest house and a lot of boats, such as kayaks, coracles, windsurfers etc. At this time while Samir was around 8 yrs. old, his younger brother Satyen, was only 5 years.

One morning, after we took the children boating, I went up to fix breakfast and the two kids with the dogs were down by the water playing at the edge of the lake. I made sure to keep an eye on them from the kitchen window.  After a while I looked up to see a strange craft, out on the water with 4 figures on it. Not seeing the children, I called out to my husband to check on the kids as well as warn him about the other visitors on the craft.  He ran down, only to discover that the kids had dismantled the wind-surfer sail and had launched the surf board into the water with both of them and the two dogs, happily paddling out onto the lake.

These are but a few stories of adventures from our holidays spent in the outdoors.  The fact is that both of us were working parents and we felt that when on holiday we should spend quality time with the boys, which meant no TV or phones. We really enjoyed this precious time spent together trekking, fishing, swimming, sailing, building camp fires and experiencing these adventures together.

Many years later, I worked for a river rafting company called Snow Leopard Adventures in Rishikesh.  One of the many perks was that both my sons could be sent to the campsite located on the banks of the Ganges River, during their vacations. This ensured that they were kept occupied especially as there was ample amount of work that needed to be done in a camp, from helping with the boats to assisting in the kitchen.  Samir and his brother, sometimes with friends would go up to camp and I knew that they were safer up there than in the city. These were working holidays where they worked and earned the privilege of rafting and kayaking on the Ganges river.

Adventure Pulse is born.

I was it was not surprising many years later, when Samir called to say that he was fed-up with working in a corporate job.  Though supposed to be a regular 9 to 5 job, for five days a week, this turned out be more like a 9am to ‘whenever’, with most work weeks usually spanning the entire 7 days. 

He appeared to have found a willing accomplice in Sauraj, his good friend & MBA roommate. The interesting part was that he came all the way to Delhi and spent a week explaining his Business model as well as their 5-year plan, in the hope of convincing both parents that this was not a spur of the moment decision.  At the end of the week when he had convinced us both that he knew what he was getting into, his Dad asked him, “So, how much money do you need from me to start”.  I can still remember Sam’s expression and words, “Dad, I didn’t come for a loan, only for your blessings”.

Though Sauraj & Samir were doing small treks individually and with friends, Adventure Pulse was born officially on 17th July 2010! With blessings from parents, family and friends, this self-financed ‘Private Limited was born.

My Expedition with Adventure Pulse

In the prelude to my 50th birthday, friends who had already crossed this landmark, hyped up the age issue so much, that I actually started believing that life after 50 was going to be very difficult.  Age would have finally caught up with me and I would have to give up so much; my hikes, treks and adventures (or so I began to believe).

One day while mentioning my apprehensions to Sam over a cup of tea, he dismissed them completely and began encouraging me to join him in doing the Everest Base Camp with Adventure Pulse in September.

I was shocked to say the least and had strong concerns, especially regarding my health issues at that time. My husband had his reservations too and in all fairness, rightfully so.  However, never one to prevent me from pursuing my interests, he was willing to make a pact. If the doctors cleared me physically, then it was up to me to judge my own abilities and not put myself or others at risk on the actual trip.  My younger son, Satyen added his support, but unknown to me at the time had issued a stern warning to his older brother, “You Better bring Mom back in one piece”. 

After months of preparation and Samir’s constant guidance, we were finally ready to embark on this incredible adventure to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.  Much to my relief, I handled the rigors of the trek comfortably.  On one occasion I was walking much faster than I should have on a straight stretch approaching Dingboche at a height of 14,470 feet.  Samir, actually ran after me, stopped me made me sit down and yelled at me. I knew the baton had been passed, when my son was my guide and my safety depended on how well I followed his instructions.

I walked mile upon mile with my Son, along the banks of the “Dudh Kosi” the “River of Milk” so called because the rapids churn the water making it white, like a river of milk.  At times we were close enough to feel the spray and chill of the freezing water.  The river stayed always in sight, sometimes on the left and then on the right, as we crossed back and forth on high cable suspension bridges.  In these moments, I would often look down upon the foaming waters from a tremendous height which literally took my breath away.

It was like witnessing the river of life, with its ups & downs, the turbulent sections interspersed with calm waters; every moment to be treasured and remembered for the beautiful threads that are woven together to make this exquisite tapestry.

Many years later, when Samir and Sauraj were making their third attempt to summit Everest, someone said to me “As a Mother you should stop your son in this crazy pursuit”. My reply to her was, “I would be a terrible Mother if I did”.

Ten years and counting. Congratulations Adventure Pulse!

By Christine Patham

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