Brother-sister duos save lives on Goan beaches

Times of India | 6 months ago | 20-05-2022 | 02:40 pm

Brother-sister duos save lives on Goan beaches

When 27-year-old Harsha Naik from Bicholim would wait for her brother to come home to ask him about his day as a lifeguard, she would enjoy the thrill, risk, respect and responsibility that her brother would get. This inspired her to be one of the first woman lifeguards in Goa. On the other side was 21-year-old Shriya Karekar from Margao, who was getting fascinated with jet skis and her brother’s heroics attempts to save lives that pulled her towards this profession. Both women are currently lifeguards and are a part of the new program - Swim with Lifesavers. ‘We were inspired by our brothers’“The respect that I see my brother getting when he is at the beach is just amazing. He would come home and tell us about how he saved the tourists from drowning, the different measures and precautions he takes. A few weeks after I joined as a lifeguard, I told my father and he was very unhappy about the step I took. My mother is a swimmer and encouraged me to go ahead,” says Harsha. The family is into the business of sweet making and Harsha used to handle this, and there was some initial opposition as she was leaving the family profession. For Shriya this was a cool job to take. “Though the job had its own risks, it had a cool element too. As a kid, I was always fascinated by jet skis and I would go to Colva beach and admire the water sports. Here I can use the jet ski and save someone too - it’s a perfect place for me.” Shriya recently joined the services run by Drishti Marine Lifesavers and is posted at Benaulim beach. ‘As brothers we protect and guide them’“I told Shriya about the responsibilities of the job, you have to be mentally and physically present. If you snooze, you can lose a person to the tide. And I know that my sister is much more responsible than I am and being a swimmer by profession, she was fit for this post. I try to teach her techniques and ideas which she can use on the beach,” says Damodar Karekar, 27, captain administrator, who overlooks Arossim-Baina Beaches. He adds, “I asked my superiors not to post her and me at the same place as there could be misunderstandings created among teammates.”As a lifeguard they have to use various strategies to ensure that people are safe. “Working for around four years, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge how and what to speak to guests. I tell my sister what has to be done even though they are trained. I’ve asked her to be acquainted with the water sports and shack staff. They all help when we are in need. This is what I keep telling Harsha,” says Gautam Gajanan Naik, lifesaver who is currently posted on Baga Beach. ‘Our bros warned us about the tan’ The job comes not with just responsibilities but with a lot of tan, face allergies and other health issues. “When I wanted to join, my brother had told me about the tan and the other skin ailments. Being a student of fashion designing in the past, when I look at myself now, I’ve tanned a lot. But where will I go with all that fairness? I’m happy about what I’m doing. This job has given me a great feeling,” says Shriya. For Harsha - it’s a different deal. “More than me, My sister is concerned about my skin. She takes me to the parlour. But the next day, I’m back on the beach and I tend to get tanned again. Before I used to get scared of rescues, but a year into this, people treat us with a lot of respect,” says Harsha.

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