My Month in Mulki

What I learnt when I was supposed to be learning how to surf

Chapter 1: Initiative

“Hey Adi, I need to talk to you.”

Adi looked up at me from his bowl of chickpeas, with that everpresent mischevious glint in his eye.

“Go ahead bro, tell me.”

“Not here man, it’s a little serious. Can we speak after lunch?”

The glint in his eye dimmed by half a degree, but his smile seemed unfamiliar with the concept of fading.

“Oh. Serious… Sure bro, let’s meet outside.”

It was the middle of December 2020, and I was about two weeks out from quitting my job. Back of the envelope calculations suggested that I had a runway of about 36-48 months, and I was fully intent on grinding out my shoes till my socks had some extra holes in them.

My first foray out of home was a three day surfing course in Mulki. The word ecstasy does some heavy lifting in describing how surfing feels, but it really isn’t able to do it justice. Deep inside, there seemed to be a craving for more, and three days was barely enough to get me started, so I had to have more.

Over the period of my course, I had learnt that they offered volunteering opportunities, where they provided food, lodging, and surfing in exchange for a vaguely unspecified set of tasks.

I was extremely interested in an opportunity like this. However, I also knew myself well enough to know that if I went back home, and gave it some serious thought, my expertise in finding excuses would flex its muscles, and it was likely that I would be surfing Youtube videos as opposed to the gorgeous waves in the Arabian Sea.

Hence the need for one serious conversation.

“Dude, do you think I can volunteer in Feb?”

When a pressure cooker is fully pressurised, it whistles to relieve some of that pressure. Adi whistled. The glint was back with a vengeance.

“Oh yeah bro, sure. You know what it includes right?”

“Umm. I think so…”

“When can you get here?”

“1st Feb? I’ll stay the whole month.”

“Done bro.”

“Should I send a mail or someth…”

“Nope. It’s done.”

“But one of the other boys…”

“It’s done bro. The serious business has been conducted.”

And it was done. I was headed back to Bangalore that night, but I had secured myself a vaunted volunteering gig. Now it was only a matter of waiting till February.

Lesson 1:

Sometimes, it takes a small burst of sustained courage, and that can completely transform your life. So if you ever find a fear of discomfort blocking your path, just breathe in, and take the plunge.

As recalled by Samarth Hattangady | List of Chapters