It has been a wonderful 3-week vacation to the ‘Land of Down under’ for me and my sister. The 3 of us have had some insane adventures over the past few weeks and we were just recounting them before we left to India the next day. And that is when the topic of Skydiving came up again.
We had tried to go Skydiving in Melbourne a few days ago but had to cancel our plans then since the weather was not right. In simple terms, the wind velocity was not right that day. My sister and my cousin were disappointed since they really wanted to try Skydiving. ZNMD (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) had just come out a few months ago and Skydiving/ Scuba Diving were just getting to be a fad in India those days. I was secretly happy since I really didn’t want to do it. I have always been terrified of heights and this idea of jumping out of an airplane sounded too crazy. But didn’t want to be a damper and hence went along with them in Melbourne.
We were discussing this and that is when one of his friends suggested to try out in Sydney. He had done it with them and they had a good track record as well. Everyone else was happy but I was terrified out of my wits. We didn’t inform our parents on why we changed the dates. Just said that we wanted to spend an extra day with the cousin before we flew out. Basically, we knew our mothers would freak out and prevent us from doing anything so extreme.
We had to report at a central spot in Sydney early the next day where we had to sign multiple documents saying that they were not responsible if something happened to us. Again, not at all helpful for a person who was thinking of finding an excuse to back out. From there after paying for what seemed like our death warrant at the time, we were taken to the Skydiving spot around 90 minutes outside Sydney.
Since it was a Tandem Skydive (someone jumps with you), they take you through a small tutorial on what to do when you land. Everything else is taken care by the guy who jumps with you. By the way you are allowed to do a solo skydive only after you have finished a prerequisite number of Tandem Skydives. I was just glad that someone was there to take care of me because I was pretty sure that I would do a costly mistake.
But then again, we couldn’t jump immediately. The wind velocity was too strong that day and we had no other option other than to wait it out. Even though it was refundable, we didn’t have an alternative and would have had to go dejected once again if it didn’t happen that day. And the waiting was not good for my nerves.
Waiting in the Skydiving school didn’t help either since you could see multiple instructors walking around with crutches and broken arms. I ended up even sleeping for a couple of hours to calm my nerves. I am usually a light sleeper but the minute I am on the road, I can sleep like a log (except for when my husband is driving).
Finally, the moment arrived and we were given the signal to fly up. My mind had already gone berserk by then and there was fear written all over my face. All of us huddled up in the small airplane and I chose to be the last one to jump. The aircraft climbs up to 14,000 feet and then one by one each pair jumps. As the time came for me to jump, I was reluctant and if my instructor was not there with me, I would have definitely not jumped.
What do you feel when you jump?
It is a mixed array of feelings. For the first few seconds, it is a freefall and you are just tumbling in the air. And suddenly the first thought that goes in your head is if you will make it back in one piece. But then when the parachute opens and things start to stabilize, you start to understand. That blind rush of adrenaline is something you can’t get anywhere else in the world. And seeing the beautiful world from that perspective just helps you to be grateful for a lot of things and people in your life. Ah that beauty!! That feeling of wind rushing against your face and the feeling of utter and pure bliss. All my fears vanished in a second.
I had a rough landing but thankfully my instructor was experienced and was able to avoid injuries to both of us. Even though I ended up landing on top of him which wouldn’t have been that pleasant for him. People ask me if I would do it ever again. I would definitely love to do it again one day as long as it is a Tandem skydive. I am just too fickle-minded to be going and doing solo skydives on my own.
We left from there with a boatload of memories to share for a lifetime. Also, with lots of photos and video to prove the array of emotions that ran on my face throughout the entire experience. That frightened look was a little too hard to fake. :P
Written by : Soumya Nambiar.
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