Guest Post by Neela Bhaskar.
Neela is one of those souls who has diving written in her bones. She is absolutely in love with the blue and she just loves to instill this passion of hers into others as well. Inspiring countless girls around the country, India’s first female Sidemount Instructor loves teaching and is ever ready to discuss anything remotely related to diving. When not diving, she teaches dancing and is very good with the instruments too. She is a very very talented person, and we are very proud to have her in our team 🙂
“It was two years ago that I first came to Temple Adventures, Pondicherry, for my Discover Scuba Diving experience, a one-day trial course. 12 meters under the ocean, surrounded by the infinite blue and its marvelous life forms, I fell in love. I succumbed, and a year and a half later, I found myself in line for the Instructor Course at the very same Dive Centre.
It was with the intention to inspire others to dive as I had once been inspired before, to teach what was close to my heart, and to learn as much as I could about scuba diving. I soon met Mark, our Course Director, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was far more in store for us during the two week instructor course then what we were expecting. The IDC was in October along with the annual monsoon, and amidst gathering clouds outside, all the staff at Temple, including instructors and non-divers alike, met at the classroom to listen to Mark’s introduction; something that had a message for everyone. The schedule for the course was given to us four candidates – it was certainly packed, and what excited us most in this detailed itinerary, was the promised Instructor Party for the new instructors at the end of it!
Every morning, the pool sessions were under a strong drizzle, and encouragement found its way through Mark’s wise words and a regular supply of croissants from one of Temple’s Staff Instructors, whose arrival was duly waited for! Skills, slates, notes and plenty of questions made the day run faster, until the afternoon came for theory sessions.
One particularly interesting seminar by Mark was that on Marine Resource Management – here too, not just IDC candidates but several members of Temple joined in to listen, as we have always been involved with artificial reef building. This has proven to encourage marine life and provide them a safe habitat to breed in. So productive was the discussions then, that over the last few weeks we at Temple have been working on developing a new reef with few helpful suggestion made by Mark. You have to visit here to know whats cooking beneath the blue!!
The IDC soon ended, and the Instructor Exam was to begin. Our Examiner, Rob Scammell, arrived, and the weather cleared just in time! Day one of the IE was the theory exams and then the pool test, and day two was the final demonstration in the ocean. The exam was an adventure in itself, with a dramatic shore entry in to the Pondicherry pier to mark its beginning.
Following that, a short debriefing and congratulations was given to us by Rob, and that was it – the end of our Course! We were now all done! With all four candidates passing the exam, we were excited to finally begin our careers as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors. I was especially surprised to learn that I was one among very few women Instructors in India, and therefore had plenty of room in history to make an impression. Since then, my career has been wonderful, and inspired by the ocean first and potential divers next. Provided those two remain in my life, the inspiration will certainly never die!”