I know,I know, the folks from Greece came up with the stuff about earth being a sphere and all, some 5000 years back. I just happen to see it myself. Yes!! I jumped off a plane. Literally.
When I shared my penchant for sky diving, fiance retorted,”Can’t you hold it off until after the wedding? I do not want any crutches in our wedding pictures.” I came up with my own theory:
a. There is no possibility of getting crutches, if things do go south ( and by things, I mean me, up at 11000 feet), they will really go south.
b. It is better to have no wife at all than having one and then, not having one.
He pretty much threw his hands up after b. After this repartee,there was no telling the parents about planes or jumping off them.
The date was set to first Saturday of October. I kept thinking about the impending adventure from day 1 of the week before. My excitement was tantamount to a child’s very first visit to Disney or a teenage boy’s first peek at you know what magazine. No fear had crept in yet. So, far I was pretty bad ass.
So, the day arrives, a beautiful one. I meet up with my friends, Dave and Jenn at the skydiving place, around noon.These two are my great friends and in general awesome.They are kind of veterans at sky diving(they ditched me last time they went).This time I made sure that I wasn’t left behind. It was hard to decide if, it’s reassuring that they are coming for a re-dive or the fact that they kept scaring me off with their goof up tales from last time. Mostly, they were just messing with me. We all decided to take pictures and videos of our jump.
The lady ushered us to a room with a huge television and told us that we are about to watch a safety video. The screen came to life and a stern looking lawyer started talking. All the talk was about, how you could die/become cripple skydiving and that if you do, you can not sue them. She said this in may be 50 different ways. When every one was about to fall asleep, a guy came up on the screen and gave the actual safety instructions. We bolted out the door as soon as the video ended.
I meet up with the guy who was gonna jump with me and the videographer. I get into my jump suit. I was hoping for it to be orange but settled with a deep blue. Next, I was harnessed up and ready to roll. No fear yet.
I waive at the camera and get into the plane after my instructor. Jenn and Dave will jump first and then me. Plane wobbles a little on the runway and then takes off. It is a pleasant change to not to listen to any tiny humans crying during the take off. Soon, we are at 5000 feet up and the views are spectacular. I am feeling great, still.
I am sitting on my toes at the sill of a moving aircraft’s door.The wind rushes at a pace of 150 miles/hour, at my face. The guy starts counting.. 3-2-1! My heart skips a beat and I am off the aircraft, twirling like a leaf. A little perplexed as to my surroundings and then it hits me. I see the curvature of the earth. I see the first of fall colors, dots of reds hiding amongst yellows and greens. I see a river, the water is blue like the bluest of skies and glistens like myriads of stars on a starry night. The guy with the camera appears in front of my face and I come back to reality. I am still up in the sky, yet carefree. Not being scared, scared me a little. I started smiling, waiving, blowing kisses at the camera, and a salute too!(Don’t know why I did it?). Will have to find a way to erase that from the tape. Okay, time to pull the rip chord, I waived my rights to pull the cord myself at the plane so, the guy did it. The parachute opened, we lurched up a little and then started going down at a steady pace.This probably was the most serene moment, I have ever experienced. I am moving slowly through the atmosphere, all the adrenaline rush is gone. I can feel the gentle breeze on my face. I see a flock of birds flying right next to me. I pretend to be one of them. I keep falling, slowly. We do a few turns, I see the ground rushing at me. Time to put my feet up, o oh too late! I was so lost in getting the most out of this little journey that I forgot, it was about to end. I land abruptly on my feet. No major harm done.
I say good byes to my instructor and the camera guy and rush to hug Jenn and Dave. We exchange our experiences, Dave shows off a little about his picture perfect face and Jenn sulks about missing the rip cord by a few seconds. We high five and wait for Vishesh(fiance) to land, who happens to be the co-pilot of our plane :). He looks happy to see us all in one piece and makes me promise that, I will never ever jump off a perfectly good plane again. That is still in question. If we ever go to New-Zealand, the promise will automatically become void. Just saying.