Last winter vacation you went camping with the school team. Describe your experience.

Last winter vacation the school adventure squad decided to go camping to Mathaburu in Purulia. We jumped to the idea and preparations were taken to set off. We packed our rucksacks as instructed which included a penknife, sleeping bag, undergarments, mug, plate, extra sweat shirts, six pairs of socks and walking shoes.

Camping is basically an act of leaving the luxuries and amenities of modern life for a few days and spending time outside in more primitive conditions even without electricity and proper houses. It is a thrilling outdoor experience for all ages.

We set out by the night train and reached Purulia early in the morning from where we boarded a chartered bus and reached Mathaburu by 11 in the morning. It was a hilly region but full of trees and birds. First we were all divided into ropes (that is how the groups are called in camping terms). Each rope had to share a tent and each rope had the name of a bird. Our tent was called Hornbill. We pitched our colourful tents and decorated the outside with pebbles and nice designer dry twigs and leaves.

After some light snacks we were given all the necessary instructions and dos and donts. We bathed in the nearby shallow river under the close watchful eyes of our instructors. Lunch was simple hot khichri and scrambled egg followed by a sweet. The afternoon passed with another round of instructions on how to light the fire, survival tactics, watching out for wild tracks and how to avoid them. The practical was very thrilling I must say. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

This was my first camping so I was very excited to sleep in a tent. But as night fell I began to feel scared of the darkness around me. Kerosene lanterns were the only source of light. I clutched onto my friend's sleeping bag and fell off to sleep. The morning broke with all kinds of birds chirping in unison and the sun peeping in through the tent flap. It was a marvellous sight. I began to cherish the moments and enjoy the silence of nature. There was never a dull moment in the wilderness. Nature at its full glory was very invigorating. I came back after five days happy to the hilt. I will never forget the thrill of my first camping adventure..

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