Yediyur lake became our first involvement with a water body; getting acquainted with the family of lakes within our vicinity would help us relate better with our project that we’re already knee-deep in. Although the scenic park was closed, we managed to squeeze in a short walk in the boulevard of trees. It was ideal for joggers and bloggers alike.
Captain Preetham pointed out the opportunity to look for potential respondents for our survey; we had come prepared with printouts and personalities in place. Yediyur lake provided its visitors an option for boating, and while we waited for the ticketing office to open, one of the apprentices found her first candidate and presented the questionnaire to the lady while she turned around and gave us a thumbs up. I smiled. It was heartening to see the enthusiasm with which this survey was being done. Everyone had a set goal to achieve – 300 completed surveys for the week, the end of which would earn us a reward – a mini celebration for our efforts and achievement. In this case it was watching a movie in the theatre. The apprentices were quite confident that they were going to fulfil that goal by the end of the day. “You may as well book the tickets, because we’re anyways going to cross that number,” was one vote of confidence. I liked that spirit. 🙂
The slight drizzle didn’t dampen our chances of the boat ride, so after we strapped on our life vests and exchanged a few swimming/boat quips, we piled in to two colourful boats and pedalled our way around that charming lake. We spotted the Indian Cormorant sun-bathing on one of the tethered boats a few feet away and several types of ducks waded in and out of the lake, discussing about the humans who just ventured into their aquatic territory. The perimeter of the lake swayed with thick groves of trees and we heard their hushed talks interspersed with moments of birdsong.
To propel the boat forward, two people were required to pedal and steer it using a lever which controlled the rudder. The pedalling gave our legs a great workout and we compensated for that with several moments of aimless floating. The strong breeze gently nudged us along, and the island of trees in the centre of the lake gave the illusion that it was moving sideways with the breeze. I enjoyed dangling my fingers in the water till one of the mentors asked if there were crocodiles beneath.
The pedals were clearly not built for speed, so instead of trying to race on the water, we surrendered to its slow pace, savouring the scenery and the easy conversation. I wondered how many people took time to travel this way – slow, rather than the fly-to-Italy-for-lunch options. Such modes of transport provide time to plug into the local culture and exquisite scenery instead of racing through a list of tourist spots. After half an hour of pedalling, we rested on the park benches and refuelled ourselves with ghee cake and some almonds; a sweet end to our Yediyur experience.
We made our way towards Shaswathi Women’s Heritage Museum, but found out that the women’s college had swallowed up that wing and grew in size to accommodate more classes for the students. So, we settled for an early lunch at Hari Super Sandwich. While we were munching away, the young apprentices were scouting the area for potential respondents. A group of college guys spent their next ten minutes answering the survey while we were getting sideways glances and secret smiles from the satisfied apprentices.
We set our sights on the adjoining neighbourhood which was peopled with shoppers and diners. We got our second wind. We learnt how to stake out entry-exit points for getting people to answer the questionnaire, gauge people’s body language and how to pitch our reasons for the survey in five seconds or less. Even though we encountered a few rejections, we received a grand total of 43 respondents (God bless their souls), taking our total survey count to over 400+. These are still early days so we have a lot to learn and a lot more places to go to achieve a sizeable sample for our data, but today’s efforts proved quite encouraging. We may have all come from different ports, but we’re in the same boat now. Those who are willing to shed inhibitions and take a chance are the ones who will go places. In our case, quite literally.
From this day’s experience, we learned that a boat may be safer anchored at the port, but that’s not its purpose is it? As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbour. Explore. Dream. Discover.”