The Lacadives team is a diverse group with two things in common: we love to dive and we love the sea. And we do everything we can to share the magic of this liquid world.
Rahul Mitra, Dive school Manager and Dive Instructor (PADI MSDT #366882)
From the moment he surfaced from his first dive as an Advanced Open Water diver with Lacadives, Rahul was sold. That was 2013. He fell in love with the ocean and its inhabitants – no surprise since adventure and nature defined Rahul’s childhood. Rahul joined the marketing team in 2014, and is now Lacadives' Head Instructor and Dive Center Manager in Chidiyatapu. In addition to holding down the fort, Rahul is a PADI MSDT (Master SCUBA Diver Trainer) who teaches a number of specialties - Deep, Wreck, Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Project AWARE Shark Conservation and Drift.
Shaurya Tarni, Dive instructor (PADI MSDT #359158)
Shaurya has always been a bit of a nomad, never staying in one place for more than a few years. To her, then, home is wherever she feels accepted. She loves diving for the simple fact that it renders all people equal - it breaks down linguistic and national differences, stereotypes and prejudices. In addition to being a MSDT with PADI (she teaches Wreck, Night, Underwater Photography and Navigation) and DDI (Disabled Divers International), Shaurya also received her field guide's qualification in South Africa, where she worked with reptiles, assisted with mammal research and is now learning how to track and trail animals on foot. As if that isn't enough, she's looking for someone to teach her how to identify the constellations!
Myra Khanna, Dive Instructor (PADI OWSI #395373)
The stillness, the weightlessness and the meditative feeling underwater is what stole her heart in 2015 . After experiencing the silent magic, trying to imitate the grace of a fish and being overwhelmed through every second of it she couldn't wait to share that magic with others and see the pure bliss on their face upon surfacing! After working with Lacadives as a divemaster for two seasons, Myra went on to becoming an OWSI - there's no greater joy than bonding over nature and all that she nurtures.
She recently decided to try and extend that experience onto land and discovered the practice of yoga. The body and it's potential is almost as mesmerising as the ocean and all that she carries. In our fast paced, busy and noisy lives - she learnt to explore and experience the silence in between, whether it's with just her and the sound of her bubbles or it's with just her and the sound of her breath. She looks forward to taking everyone on this journey with her over the next few years!
Prudhvi 'GAli' Choudary, Dive master
Gali is an ambivert on the move, and is inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road and his 'crazy buddies'. Gali loves the outdoors - he has followed and monitored herds of wild cattle (Gaur) in the Nilgiris as part of a research program, and was an educator at the Nilgiri Natural History Society. He believes his fear of water was a powerful asset in getting him to dive. Prudhvi "didn't know how to swim even a little bit", and spent a couple of months in a pool under the tutelage of good friends. And then, he moved to Komodo National Park where he was baptized by the currents, the 20-foot mantas, and the tiny sea slugs that make the ocean such a magical place. Over 150 dives later, and ever the educator, Prudhvi is a Dive Master who loves to teach his clients about marine life, SCUBA diving, and the natural world.
From right bottom to left bottom: Rajesh, Thagay, Hemron, Bo are the hardworking staff who keep our dive center running. We also have Ashe who is a little bit camera shy. They are up before dawn to make sure that the boats and food are prepared for the day. Ashe, Thagay, Bo and Hemron are all from Mayabunder in North Andamans, and are incredibly agile captains and swimmers. Ashe is our most senior captain, the quiet, fastidious Thagay captains the Wahoo, and will soon receive his Dive Master certification. Rajesh, a native of Chidiyatapu, cooks up a storm every day to keep our hungry team and divers sated. Typically shy, Rajesh lets his cooking speak for itself - particularly his knack for figuring out recipes on the fly!
Two Kitties and a dog
Two tabbies, Banshee (the ginger) and Haze (grey) and a dog (Padi, no prizes for guessing why) punctuate our existence in Chidiyatapu with some much-needed cuddles, hilarity and naps (usually in inconvenient spots, like our closets or laptops). Haze and Padi occasionally frolic in the surf under a watchful eye, while Banshee prefers eating and sitting on you, if you'll let him.
Avanti Maluste, CEO
Avanti learned to dive with Lacadives in 2009 in Kadmat, and never looked back. After a career in management consulting, and a fateful trip to Komodo, she joined the Lacadives team as CEO in late 2016. She is a PADI Rescue Diver, passionate about marine biology and conservation, and has been known to spend 90% of her vacation days underwater. At Lacadives, she oversees the firm's administrative functions, sales team, and kick started its travel vertical. Working at Lacadives has turned her into an Instagram addict (yes, the posts are hers - feedback is welcome), and she is the team's resident cat lady.
Sanjana Kapoor, Dive instructor (PADI MSDT #365154) and sales
After finishing her undergraduate education, Sanjana became a Divemaster. Now a MSDT and having spent nearly 4 years in the Andamans, she is still as excited about getting into the water as she was on her first dive. She has returned to Mumbai, but not wanting to disconnect from diving, she joined Lacadives to manage their sales and conduct pool training over weekends. We think she uses only one lung (or perhaps half a lung) to breathe because she always comes up with more than half a tank no matter how deep or how long the dive goes. If you ever run low on air, you know who to look for!
Prashant Desai, Office assistant
Prashant has been with Lacadives since 2009, making him the team's longest-standing member, other than Sumer and Prahlad. He holds the Mumbai office together - with coffee, bank runs, deliveries, Lacadives lore, equipment maintenance and absurd ideas about food. Prashant is a PADI Advanced Diver and Emergency First Responder, and is often seen at the pool side on weekends managing our confined water sessions.
Yes, the Mumbai team has a dog - Kanchi is a Himalayan Bhutia, a sheepdog of the region. She is the in-house therapist, is largely nocturnal and her sweet temper will steal both your heart and your chicken, if that's what's for lunch.