A scuba diver with a difference
Doing Scuba is letting go of many inhibitions and barriers for many. And, to Neeraj, it was more of a challenge to prove the world he can stand on his own, that he is still up for adventures. A man of confidence, Neeraj is a regular traveller and is fond of trekking. He has won many accolades at international events. Neeraj was diagnosed with cancer on the foot early in life, and doctors suggested amputation to prevent the spread of the disease. “But that has not really hampered my dedication or determination. I love it outdoors and I have always pushed the limits. My disability does not prevent me from enjoying life or doing something adventurous.” says Neeraj.
The differently-abled para-badminton champ, Neeraj George was full of enthusiasm and energy when he came for a scuba diving experience arranged by Bond Safari Kovalam. “I was inspired by the Barrier-free Kerala project instituted by the Kerala Tourism, which allows the differently-abled to enjoy unhindered access to more than 100 of the state’s tourist destinations,” says Jackson Peter of Bond Safari, Managing Partner, Bond Safari.
“Scuba diving was a unique experience. It was awesome. What is remarkable is the fact that every single thing about the dive was thought about and planned in very minute detail. Every single thing was perfect; the instructions were clear and helped me feel at ease,” says Neeraj.
“There were two things that haunted me in the beginning – fear about being in the water and that I did not know swimming; but I could push these feelings to background when I was about to jump. It was truly an awe-inspiring experience. I will be back with my friends when the seas will be calmer for a dive into the ocean,” says Neeraj.
“I am very happy that Kerala Tourism is taking the initiative to make tourist spots accessible to people who are differently-abled. If I can inspire some, it will add a lot of value to my life,” Neeraj is all praise about the Kerala Tourism’s Barrier-free tourism initiative.
“We always strive to set a benchmark in adventure tourism in Kerala. And we have come up with a lot of firsts, like the underwater wedding, the CEO meet and a movie release. We have also stood for the cause of the Ocean time and again. The pride and satisfaction on Neeraj’s face after the dive was one of the most rewarding experiences that we have felt. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be like Neeraj, and it is his optimism that stands as a message to many differently-abled people out there to get out of their shell and start making a difference,” says Jackson.