Adventure Tourism

Meet Pooja Agarwal – scuba diver with a difference

As Kerala Tourism has already been putting an effort and highlighting ‘Barrier Free Tourism’, allowing the differently abled to enjoy unhindered access to destinations in Kerala, Bond Safari, Kovalam, a pioneering adventure water sports organization, has hosted an event of a lifetime recently. Bond Safari had the differently abled Neeraj George, a person who is a powerhouse of energy and dedication go on a scuba dive into the depths of the calm blue waters.

In this season they came up with another differently abled person, the Pride of India, Pooja Agarwal, the lady shooter who has bagged multiple medals for India. She is one among the top physically challenged women shooters in India, and has won medals in National and International competitions. She holds 12th position in world ranking and 3rd in Asia. She stands as a strongest competitor (SH1) category in the 10M Pistol event.

Pooja with her silver medal in 10m shooting at the 2017 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup

She was excited about Scuba diving, but due to her disability she was hesitant to explore it. When Pooja came to Bond Safari, she was extremely trilled to dive and explore the marine life. She wanted to feel like a mermaid absorbing all the positivity of blue sea. She had once tried a swimming and the dive session in Chandigarh for disabled. It was a swimming pool session. Since then she always wanted to dive but due to her disability it was getting difficult.

In 2012, Pooja met with an unfortunate train accident and this lead to losing her left arm and both the legs. She has 100% disability that turned her as a trilateral amputee. Yet she did not let her disability stop her achieving success. She doesn’t show any signs of remorse for being physically challenged lady. Rather she comes across as a happy go lucky person.

Pooja during the training session prior to diving

She did not let this accident take away her future and affect her dreams. She fought with the situation and survived rather than being a victim of the accident. She was upset as wasn’t getting the opportunity to dive due to her disability. Bond Safari trusted her will power and she put the leap of faith in them. Finally Pooja went for her first Scuba Diving Session.

“This has been one of the best experiences I had in my life. I was mesmerized with the underwater world. Felt very much relaxed. I was happy with the introduction and the briefing session given to me before the dive. Instructors were very clear with their instructions, which made me feel ease while shallow water training. Everything was so good, have no word to express. Right form beginning till the end was an amazingly beautiful experience with Bond Ocean Safari,” said Pooja after the dive.

“I am very happy about Kerala Tourism taking the initiative to make tourist spots accessible to people who are differently abled like me. I will be glad, if I could be an inspiration to all the people across globe that are differently abled and wants to spread out the message that anyone can do scuba diving if you have the will to do it,” said Pooja, while commenting on the initiative of the state government to ensure ‘Barrier Free tourism’ for all.

“We have always strive to set a benchmark in adventure tourism in Kerala. We have come up with a lot of firsts, like the underwater wedding, the CEO meet and movie audio release. We have also stood for the cause of the ocean time and again,” said Jackson Peter, Managing Partner, Bond Safari.

“The pride and satisfaction on Pooja’s face after the dive was one of the most rewarding experiences that we have felt. Being a customer centric company, we not only look at our guest getting the best diving experience but also take away the overwhelming experience of good customer service and memories so that they could cherish for their lifetime,” added Jackson.