Dreams! Just a word to say but with meaning so profound… I still remember my childhood days when I used to watch adventure shows on TV that showcased skilled skydiving. It was my dream since then to fly in the blue sky and the very thought of skydiving used to instill a feeling of excitement in me. The mere idea of jumping out of an airplane from 12,000 feet had this amazing appeal to me. It symbolized freedom and true adventure of life. As I grew older, the desire to skydive kept on getting stronger. It was among my top bucket list of things to do before I die. And one fine day, I decided to finally take the push and go for a tandem skydive.
Upon arrival at Skydive Ambey Valley, I checked in at the reception and completed the paperwork which basically requires you to sign your life away and waive the instructor of any liability in the event of a mishap (which could even be an injury or death). I could feel the butterflies in my stomach but they weren’t the scared butterflies, they were the “Oh Yeah, finally Let’s Do this” kinds. That’s when I met my Instructor Paul. He is the same guy who instructed Hritik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol for sky diving in movie “Zindagi na milegi dobara” Call it mere Luck or my supreme fortune that day, on entering the training room I met Farhan Akhtar getting ready to do sky dive next to me. It was nice talking to him briefly and gettig us clicked together :) Post that Paul suited me up and walked me through the procedure.
Paul and I became friendly soon and as we were about to board the plane, I turned to him and said please continue chatting as much as you want but just don’t say any thing that sounds like “Oh No” during dive. Ok I have a funny sense of humor at times. Paul just laughed and promised me a good ride and I am happy that he came through on that promise.
On reaching the altitude of 12,000 feet finally the moment was there. It was really frightening to watch the houses become smaller and knowing that we would, in a few minutes, be jumping from the safety of the plane. As the plane’s engine was cut and the propeller up front slowed to a halt, I saw the plane door getting opened. A loud burst of wind entered and we were ready for the jump. While standing at the edge of the door and looking out at the vast high space below, I questioned my sanity. Was I actually crazy enough to do some thing like this? A signal from Paul and woohhhhh we were on roll for free fall ride of lifetime.
I took a deep breath. Thanked God for this beautiful life and made the jump. Those 45 seconds of free fall actually felt like an eternity and the fastest minute of my life. If you have ever sky dived before, you know the feeling. It’s difficult for me to describe the feeling because there’s really nothing I can compare it to. Suffice to say, it was exhilarating.
It’s like you are flying through the air at a speed close to 120 mph feeling the wild wind in your face. Your thoughts are running untamed and a camera guy is capturing it all on movie. This jump gave me the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever felt. Post this 45 seconds of free fall, Paul taught me how to steer the parachute, and after few minutes of floating blisss, we made soft landing at dropout zone.
The entire experience from boarding to landing lasted only about 45 minutes, but it gave me a whole new perspective on life. It's liberating, exhilarating and gives a real rush to life.
I saw people stood around in circle applauding for me. Paul draped his arms round my shoulders as we posed. When I finally landed, I was extremely euphoric, feeling a sense of accomplishment and victory. This experience was in a class of its own, incomparable to anything else I have ever experienced.
I knew that from that moment on, my perspective on life would never be the same. I had just jumped out of an airplane at 12,000 feet, and survived without injury. I would say put your fears aside and just do it once in life. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. It’s an life altering experience and is also the closest experience humans can have to flying. It’s like you do something that most people don't even have the courage to do, so enjoy the accomplishment!
I would like to close this most special blog of mine with one of my favorite skydiver saying:
If riding in an airplane is “flying,” then riding in a boat is “swimming.” To experience the element, get out of the vehicle!
So 28 Dec, 2012 you have been officially recorded in my memory for forever now :)