One has questionable observation skills if they didn’t notice the area between Block-4 and Kamath Circle caked with mattresses, enclosed by yellow barricades on Saturday, September 26. Even then, no one could have missed the big translucent sphere parked there, which looked something like a hollow plastic ball. The plan was to put humans inside and roll them around. Crazy? No, it even has a name: Zorbing. It’s a sport in which one is secured inside a large transparent ball which is then rolled along the ground or down hills. RED X, the official socio-adventure club of Manipal University brought together events like wall rappelling, zip-lining and archery along with Zorbing as an adventure-packed weekend called Vertigo, and all within the MIT campus.
On Saturday, which was the first day of Vertigo, only Zorbing took place. Wall rappelling, zip-lining and archery (as well as Zorbing) had been scheduled for Sunday. Zorbing was available from 1 pm to 8 pm at Kamath Circle with a registration desk set up in front of the NCC office. A considerable number of RED X members were present at the spot to take care of the orbs and to ensure that the event sails smoothly. Rishabh Bagrodia, the president of the club, explained that the area in front of Block-4 was chosen because of the sloping path, which is suitable for Zorbing events. First year students, fresh after the teaching break, were particularly in cahoots with the activity as they constituted the majority of participants.
RED X collaborated with Nisarga, a Bangalore based organisation which promotes adventure activities and natural conservation, to pull off Vertigo. They’ve conducted trips to Dandeli, Coorg and Chikmaguluru together in the past. A total of two participants were allowed inside the orb, belted and buckled to the insides by a trained professional before they could be rolled down the slope all the way to KC by RED X members in unison. Anyone’s first concern would be safety but the organisers reassured everyone and there was not a single mishap throughout the day. Even though each participant was made to sign a declaration stating that they would not hold the club and Nisarga responsible for any injuries or loss of life, adequate safety measures were taken: safety kits had been arranged and it was ensured that the orb was completely inflated before every round to prevent any injuries to the people inside.
Everyone who took the crazy ride popped out of the orb with an exhilarated, happy and a slightly red face. “It was definitely something I had never done before. It did get a little hot and suffocating inside but it was totally worth it. I really was hoping it’d last a little longer, though”, said Ayush, a first year student from MIT. A lot of people who weren’t members were bustling to sign up for RED X after the event. Not only students, but even some members of the faculty gave it a try. At the end of Day 1, around a hundred people had taken part in the Zorbing event and a lot more registered for Day 2. It remained an unequivocally successful event.