Nayantara (fondly called 'Tara') Jain is a coral reef researcher, a dive-instructor and a true soul-searcher. Hailing from Bangalore, Tara has lived in the Andamans for over half a decade to pursue her research on marine biodiversity and conservation. She holds a Masters in Marine Biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Tara has featured in a TEDx talk, where she spoke about her most passionate cause - ocean conservation. She also serves as the Executive Director of Reefwatch India - a not-for-profit organisation that is involved in research, education and outreach activities towards the protection of India's coastal and marine environments. In our Original series 'Away From Home,' Tara regales her heartfelt experiences while introducing the many wonders of the Andamans through her eyes.
“I’ve been diving for many years with Lacadives. I started diving in ‘97. So now for almost like 20 years, I’ve been diving. There’s obviously a great desire to share what you see underwater. It’s very very beautiful. Most of the people in the cities, even friends, don't know what these great creatures are, how they look or exist. So I think the desire to share what we experience was the reason to start filming underwater initially. And then when you realise that it’s very addictive, very enjoyable, always challenging, always new, you’re totally hooked. I’ve been doing both photography and filming underwater, for more than a decade now. ”
“I live in Little Andaman, Netaji Nagar and I own a small resort, it’s called “Hawva Beach Resort.” The tourism of Little Andman is not very developed so tourists seldom come here. We get work only two-three months a year. Those few months go by smoothly, we have to sleep through the rest of the year because there’s no work. The best part is that the place doesn’t get crowded and all the people living here are really friendly. Everybody helps each other out. If someone is in trouble then almost everyone volunteers to help. That’s what I like the best. If anyone has come to travel around Little Andaman, then the first thing to see is Kaala Patthar and Butler’s Bay Beach, then there’s Big Waterfall and Hut Bay Beach is also nice – it’s small and has a waterfall too. You’ll find beaches here on all four sides. “Little” Andaman is indeed quite big. If you come here, you’ll see it too.”
“I’ve been away from home for almost 20 years, so I wanted to back to my own house. It’s called “Kaw-hi,” – it’s a Karen word which means “Island Home.” Karen are actually one of the largest ethnic tribes in Burma. They were brought by the British to the Andamans in 1925. Initially, six families came and now, the Karens are spread out in eight different villages. Total population is about 3000. All the Karens here are rice cultivators, so the downstairs of a typical Karen house is used for rice harvesting and we live upstairs. This house (homestay) was built by my father in the 1960s, the woods are all matured wood. All the beams and planks are made of Pema, like a stromier species – it’s superior hardwood. The land here is about 5 acres. Every Karen family gets like 5 acres of land. And in our community, the youngest family gets the house and the field; ancestral property. I just wanted to combine my farming with a homestay experience. I hope it will set a model for others to follow.”
“I’m Tanaz Noble and I’m from Port Blair. I run a kayaking tour operation. So basically, I’m a guide and an instructor here for Kayak Tours. When I started kayaking, I thought it was like a passing obsession. But it was definitely an obsession like – I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. If I slept, it was for a certain number of hours for kayaking, if I ate food, it was in order to be able to kayak better. Then I played for the Delhi team, got selected there and I trained with them and that actually changed a lot. It turned into a kayaker from somebody who was just chasing kayaking, then I went on to become an instructor. You learn something new everyday. And you’d be surprised – you think that you’re the instructor when you go on tours, that you’re teaching them but they’re learning very little, like a limited amount from you. What you are learning is so much more – you’re learning about different countries, different people , you’re learning that it takes different types of people to make up this world which is something you don’t learn through your everyday, normal activities. 90% of India does not know how to swim; most of the guests we get are non-swimmers. So my job becomes to send their fear on vacation for one day so they can enjoy this.”
Away From Home was made in continuation of the Way Back Home series, where Rohan would travel to different places and meet people who have made a home away from home. This was TheVibe’s first original series to get brand support from High Sierra from the Samsonite group – one of the first branded content initiatives for the industry amongst digital natives. It also brought about the collaboration of Thought Over Design, our design studio partners.
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Showrunner & Executive Producer
Filmed & Edited
Filmed & Edited
Scuba Instructor & Line Producer
Drone & Underwater Filming