Friday, August 22, 2014

Of Dragons and Dragon Boating!

Today is one of those many days when I decide to get back to writing. I have not gotten to do much of writing in the recent past, other than the boring business case justifications and recommendations at office. So, I do not exactly know how much of creativity is left in me. Nonetheless, getting back to it :)

So, this is the second time I moved countries since the last blog, and I have come to call Singapore my new home. To be honest, I thought the 25 square-km island, which is a one-city-country was a bit cold for me in the initial days. Not that I blame the place but I guess that's the way of life here. People are too busy to notice your existence, always rushing and preoccupied with their own respective businesses.

My first few days on this little island was busy settling-in, getting comfortable with my not so fancy but super expensive house (oh yes, Indians have a terrible habit of converting everything back to Indian Rupees and complain how expensive everything is!), trying to figure out my way to get set in terms of my own routine. And the routine was: at-office-working, at-gym-working-out, back-home-to-crash and back-to-office-again. 

One of those days when I was performing my usual ritual of working out at the office gym, I was approached by someone who was familiar enough to exchange a smile but unfamiliar for me to strike a conversation: 

"Hey there, you are pretty regular at the gym and I see you are quite fit, why don't you come and try rowing with us?"

These words sounded so refreshing to me, as I had lost all hopes of making new friends or meeting new people by then (I did try getting hooked onto the meet-up groups/other forms of networking groups but some of them were too much of a closed-group already or too crazy for my own good or I was simply not lucky enough to find the right kind of people). By then, I had heard enough about the dragon boat team at office, had seen some mailers floating around as they keep winning races all the time :)

I decided to give it a shot and went and checked over the internal portal for the details; In the meantime one other friend had met another dragon boater and told them that they should try reaching me as I might be interested. Okay, so I joined my first training that Sunday afternoon.

The ignorant me thought its going to be an upper body affair and my arms are going to be muscular etc., only to discover that rowing is a complete body workout, its starts from your legs kicking to exert an upthrust that transmit the energy to pull waters, and the rowing motion is really generated by your core's twist; the only thing your arms do is to lock the paddle in place and dig it into the water. Alright, I realize that's too much technical details, let me stop at that :)

Apart from all the physical workout and getting fitter business, I love it for another important reason! I have made some really good friends, the people I hang out that most, in this dear city! I want to go running, or swimming, or shopping, or a relaxed dinner, or just chill out for a coffee, I have friends and great company, thanks to the dragon boat team!

This is the time I realized the power of an affinity network, the way it could help someone's assimilation in a new country, be the ecosystem and support in every which way. I am so glad I am a part of dragon boating, it definitely feels great to learn a new sport and have a sense of belonging to a good community of friends!