Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s youngest scuba diver, Dubai-based 11-year-old girl Tisya Panigrahi, along with her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi dived into the Arabian Sea in the Gulf Of Oman on the east coast of UAE at Fujairah to send out their ‘Nuakhai’ wishes on the eve of Nuakhai.
Tisya and her father — also a trained scuba diver — dived into the sea at the ‘Dibba Rock’ dive site and wished people on the occasion of western Odisha’s most important festival.
Both the divers travelled on the diving boat to their dive site and jumped into the sea in full diving gear. After descending to a depth of around 40 feet amidst colorful coral reefs and beautiful marine life, they took out some celebratory placards and sent out their wishes.
One of the placards read ‘Nuakhai Juhar’ while the other one read ‘Happy Nuakhai’.
Diving instructor Hani El Hajjar from Lebanon helped them take photographs and videos using a special underwater camera.
Sambalpur born Tisya became Odisha’s youngest scuba diver August 22, 2020 when she obtained her Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Junior Open Water Scuba Diver License in UAE at the young age of 10. One can attempt to get this license only after turning 10.
Tisya was inspired by the scuba diving exploits of her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi who has been diving since 2012 after getting his PADI Open Water Scuba Diver License from Vietnam.
“If a licensed scuba diver doesn’t dive for more than six months, he/ she has to do a refresher course. Our last dives were on the April 4 and we were itching to dive again. We chose September 10 for our dives and then realised that September 11 happened to be Nuakhai. Being from Odisha, particularly from Sambalpur, Nuakhai holds a very special place in our hearts. We decided to do something unique and special on this occasion and this idea germinated,” Priyadarshee said.
“An underwater message on Nuakhai has never happened before and I thought this is a good way to popularise Nuakhai at the national/ international level,” he added.
According to Tisya, “Nuakhai has many memories for me. I particularly like the festival because we get to dress in traditional clothes, dance to peppy Sambalpuri songs and get great traditional foods”.