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Showing the ropes of a new sport

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

By Prasanta Phukon

​Shillong boy Chandan Deka is walking a tight rope, literally. The 25-year-old techie turned adventurer is on a mission to popularise an activity that is still known among a handful of people.

Deka started slacklining only last October. It was his elder brother, Dhiraj, a rock climber himself, who initiated him into the adventure sport.

“Slacklining is the act of tying a flat rope between two anchors or points and walking on it. It is usually practised by tying the specially designed rope between two trees,” explains Deka. The first time he tried walking on a rope he failed. But he did not give up. “The process was very easy. It was a 2 inch slackline that I had to balance on. I kept going at it for a while and in about 6 to 8 hours I was able to stand comfortably on the rope and then walk from one point to the other,” he recalls. Two months into slacklining and Deka was already participating in highlining.

Today he is able to perform at many intermediate “here is still much more to learn”, he says. “There is a bunch of people in our country who you may see performing crazy tricks.”

​In countless cities around the world, slacklining has been widely accepted by people of all ages as a form of exercise that is also fun, therapeutic and environment-friendly. “Moreover, it’s an activity that brings one close to nature and instills a strong sense of community,” the young slackliner adds.

As a slackline enthusiast, Deka is trying to make this popular among youths. Almost every Sunday, Deka converts a portion of Golf Link into his training ground. The response so far has been heartening. “People from all walks of life, irrespective of age, gender and social standing have tried slacklining and I have welcomed everyone who has wanted to try it,” says Deka relaxing on the slackline. Deka left Shillong after his graduation in BTech from NEHU in 2017 and went to Bengaluru to seek better opportunities but never felt at home. “While I was working in Bangalore, I always remembered home and wanted to go back,” he remembers.

Being an IT engineer, it became difficult for him to stick to his career and pursue his passion for slacklining. It was at that time of dilemma that Deka got a job offer from Pumpkin Rooms in Shillong. The new job gives him enough room to continue slackli