Polar Plunge

 We were certified as have done an “act of indubitable courage as well as extraordinary incomparable foolishness” and that we had “temporary loss of common sense…….”.  This was when my wife, Pushpa and me tried to exhibit a brave act.

Our expedition cruise, “50 years of Victory” was anchored at The North Pole. Yes, at 90 degrees North.    The guests were given a crazy offer. They could take a “Polar Plunge”.   The organisers cleared an area of about 15 feet by 15 feet on the icy surface of the ocean. The melted ice formed a pool of polar ice water.  The water was surrounded by thick wall of ice all around.  The temperature was about minus 20-25 degrees centigrade at surface. One could see the water as it was freezing.  Even so, the passengers came out of their cabins to take a plunge.  A different type of adventure.

We were told it could be fatal to be in that water for more than one and half minutes.  To ensure the survival of the people who take the dip, they were tied to a rope before the dive.  The rope would be used to pull a person out, in case they fainted or wasn’t able to come out at the stroke of 90 seconds.   Once the swimmer was out, he was immediately made warm by towels and rum if one desired.  Then you could go to your cabin and have a hot shower and relax for a while, till the blood pressure got back to normal.

I was not confident of taking the plunge.  Not too many from our crew dared had opted for it – only about 10%.  I gave an excuse to myself, “I am from a warm place like Mumbai. We were not exposed to extreme cold.  No… no… no… not safe.”   I told Pushpa too.   But she had different ideas.

l was still considering the matter when Pushpa threw a surprise at me. She said she wanted to go for the plunge.    I thought she was joking.  Nope, she wasn’t.  For such crazy activities, usually I persuade her to join me.  This time she beat me.

It so turns out that before we left for the trip, Pushpa in a casual conversation had mentioned the Polar plunge to our daughter, Meeta.   Meeta suggested, “If you get a chance, do it!  Why do you want to miss it?  Unlikely that you will be going there again.” I wasn’t aware of this conversation.

Pushpa was determined.   And she did it too – without any fuss! To survive she had to return within one and a half minutes.  She was pulled back after a minute or so.  They offered her vodka to keep her warm after the plunge.  But being a teetotaler, she refused to take the drink and survived comfortably.

Pushpa’s plunge inspired me.   After watching her doing the feat so comfortably, I had to do it too! I went to the cabin, changed into swimwear and took the plunge. I’m not sure I’d have taken the plunge if it weren’t for Pushpa.

After the plunge I realised it was one of the most exciting, adventurous and crazy events of my life.


We were given certificates from the organisers for the brave act.  The certificate also stated that we “did an act of indubitable courage, as well as extraordinary, incomparable foolishness… “   It further said that Ship’s Doctor had confirmed that it was an act of absurd heroism and we had “temporary loss of common sense”!

Having the plunge at 90 degrees North was a life time opportunity and achievement.  Having done something that not many would do and being the first Indians to do that, we were extremely happy to have accomplished the feat and fully satisfied with our efforts to go on this expedition.

This incident further confirmed my belief that if in doubt, ask yourself, “If others can do it, why can’t I?”

Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa
Edited By : Meeta Kabra
This entry was posted in Adventure travel, Challenge, Contentment and Happiness, Inspirations, Will Power and tagged by badri. Bookmark the permalink.

About badri

As I approached 68 (2013), my son, Anand insisted that I had proven enough in my 45-year long career and it was time I took life a little easier; enjoy traveling (that I love) and social life. Yet, I somehow wanted to contribute positively and was exploring my options. My son-in-law, Navin suggested that I should write and share my experiences, “being a self-made man, you should tell the next generation how you overcame various obstacles to reach this position, in both, business and social circles.” He pointed out that while I was sharing my experiences with family and friends, as they approached me, a blog had the potential to take your voice to many, many more. He also insisted that I start mentoring youngsters who were new in their businesses. I was convinced. I offered my services pro bono, as part of a Guidance Program. Also, I started writing on this blog, bringing out figments from my memory as experiences that might be of value to the readers here. My daughter Meeta is sweet enough to spare her time to edit what I write. As a youngster, I thought one meal a day, one set of school uniform a year, a public place to study, lack of finance and basic shelter would keep me from achieving my dreams. To compensate, I started giving 110% of what was normally expected. Yes, 110% even in bad deeds! This worked. The very limitations started inspiring me in different phases of my life – meritorious results in studies; strength to shoulder family responsibilities; satisfied employers; establishing a successful business of my own; and in my adventure trips and other travel plans. Having done what I wanted to, I agreed it was time for me to expose myself! I felt, through this blog, I could and should share my expereinces. Hopefully, readers would find some bits useful and if not, they’d enjoy reading. Look forward to interact with you. Happy Reading, Badri Baldawa

6 thoughts on “Polar Plunge

  1. heyyyyy you are truly inspiring, and pushpa aunty also . . . i would also like to thank you for sharing your stories and adventures, they are very refreshing simple crisp and good to read, and feel connected. keep it coming !!
    pls share your experience once you are back – hopefully we will be able to carve time and courage sooooonnnn !!!

  2. Thanks Mr Badri for your mail, I would hv love to join but I am going in Himalaya for a spiritual Treck hence Though Desire to join you but it possible. I also had visited with my three friends to Leh Ladak from pune in Maruti Ertiga. Do keep me posted on future for such drive. Wish you your parivar. Ekda.

  3. If at all I knew of your plans earlier I would have postponed leaves and joined you instead of Russia.
    But i am glad I will have someone to share 1st hand experience when I decide to do that 🙂
    Bon Voyage….. !!
    Curious for your pics, updates

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