Regretted being at a spot in your life? Like you paid for it and now you wonder if you were high on alcohol to do something like that to your life. We all regret something in life - a late night pizza while you are hooked onto the new show you discovered on Netflix or that over possessive man you love, that one extra tequila shot because you are drinking after a long time, one cigarette in a day that will slowly progress to a box...
I had the same feeling when I reached the top of the crane I was supposed to jump off. It's a real task for a girl who does a desk job every day and the only time she uses the word 'crazy' is when she has to describe the traffic on roads.
Ever since I saw the board of Bunjee Jump in Rishikesh, I wanted to jump to feel the thrill of doing something out of my comfort zone. But then laziness took over and got me into the usual lets chill by the river zone.
But when I got my confirmations for Thailand and the bookings were done, browsing through some random blogs on things to do in Phuket, a window of Bunjee Jump popped into my face. I read no further because I like surprises. Whenever I read about something I am about to experience, my expectations are suddenly formed on the basis of the reviews. Therefore, I try to create my own experiences, good or bad.
So here is how motivated I was to do it, I worked really hard to complete my hand over on a Friday, packed for my first international trip with friends and got on a plane to Bangkok from New Delhi at 11.30 pm. Landed in Bangkok around 4 am and got into an hour long line for Visa on arrival. Got on another plane to Phuket from a different airport in the city and took a common mini van that took close to 1 hour to reach my villa near Karon Beach. Took off my clothes, took a cold water shower and jumped straight into our personal pool, catching up on how my friends had fun a night before and got ready to experience my thrill. Mind you, I hadn't slept a single second in this entire arrangement. My friends were keen on spending the day with Tigers and their cubs at the local tiger temple ( I guess ) while I headed to a place in a country that did not speak the global language and ended up running into Raj, a Manipuri Indian guy selling sun glasses and beachwear on a roadside by the beach. He helped me get a the iconic TUK TUK to the Changu area in Phuket where a couple of adventure sports companies located their bunjee jump arrangements.
On a regular day, crossing an emerald water lagoon surrounded by wilderness, I would just say wow, let me take a picture for my Instagram, but then I soon realized that the beautiful lagoon is going to become the base and I will jump over it ( and hopefully not drown in it ).
That's where I met Tony, the British guy who came to Thailand 10 years ago and never went back home because his first jump brought him to a revelation. Being a true Indian, I requested him to give me a better deal ( after all I come from a country where you earn peanuts amount of money unless you are an IIT IIM package ). That really put him off and he expressed his disgust very openly. The same guy eventually helped me find a cab back to the main city road where I found my friends.
Just when I thought solo tripping could be my thing, my phone gave up on me. Here I was, in a foreign land for the first time, trying an adventure sport all by myself and now I couldn't even record it.
While waiting for my turn to jump, I saw the guy who was registered before me jump and his family and friends cheering for him from down below.
Coming back to this boy who had just presented to me what I had signed up for. I went like " Oh my freaking God. What the fuck am I thinking?" Right there was another girl thinking the same thing and we both looked at each other to sort of acknowledge that. That gave me an idea, I did not want to experience this alone, you know being brave and cheering for myself at the same time. I can only do one thing at a time. So, I went over to meet these amazing americans who were there to experience the adventure themselves. I immediately used my public relations tricks and made friends with them eventually begging them to take a few pictures of my fond memory.
My generous, new American friends were more than excited to help. They took a few pictures and video and cheered for me as much as my friends would do. Honestly, I learned my lesson there. It's really simple to make friends. All you need to do is say 'HI'. We all are so similar and seek love and friendship in all forms of life.
It was now time to experience all that I had come for in my amazing Tuk Tuk ride in a beautiful and very well developed hilly landscape of Phuket. My instructor got me on a weighing machine and wrote my body weight on my arm as a brutal reminder of how heavy I was. The funny bit was he wrote it in the opposite direction and as much as I want to reveal the number, I was too ashamed and amused at the same time. He asked where I was from and had a grin on his face when I said India. He asked me if I was travelling solo and I said for now ' yes '. I have never traveled solo, therefore, for me this was also an act of subtle solo till the time I was prepared to actually do it.
He told me 100 baht extra for the push! Would you want that? Honestly, I took that on my ego. He wrapped around the harness really tight to ensure I don't die but it was tight enough for my realization that I am very close to the border of an adventure. I could not walk with the harness and jumped like a rabbit. I am so happy I was alone or my friends would have got that on tape and ruined my social media for life. This guy gave me a look of a frustrated teacher and lifted me and dropped me on the crane elevator.
Now came the dude who was going to force me to jump. It was almost 6, he had the same rush that I experience at 6 pm at work. I was like that extra slides your boss asks to add to the presentation at 6 pm when you don't give rat's ass to it. He broke the ice and asked me if I was scared in his broken English. I said ofcourse, it's my first time. His evil smile followed with an opportunity. He asked if I wanted a push, he would only charge 100 Baht extra. I politely turned down his offer and he was impressed. Now something happened that really freaked me out. I asked him how many times has he jumped? And he said NEVER. He had a serious vertigo issue. So my obvious question was how does he know it's completely safe and his answer was 'I don't know, nobody has ever died here'. Very motivating before my first jump.
At last, with the fear in head, some new friends I didn't even remember names of cheering for me and this dude who pushed me to the edge, I spread my wings and looked up to the divine blue sky, and felt my comfort zone slipping away. .
To some it might sound funny because they have experienced extreme adventures, to me it is really pushing hard as I live in a life so protected and unadventurous. I really spread my wings, balanced my body so I don't fall for my clumsy self and jumped at the count of three. The minute I was off my feet, my heart sank and mind collapsed. My brain could not stop screaming- You are about to die!!!!!
But then how life always pulls you back as you fall hard, I stopped right before I could touch the emerald water. I remembered Tony's words " don't forget to enjoy the view". I looked up and I saw beautiful green hills upside down. I felt like a spring jumping up and down above very scary looking pond and my mind went into some sort of trance which was an intriguing combination of some chatter, sound of the air, my heart pounding and the looking at the world upside down. I was brought back to reality when one of my new friends Britney shouted at me and asked me how was it? It took me good 3 seconds to comprehend that and respond," It was AMAZING...but can I please come back to land now?" It's beautiful and strange as how fear and thrill bring out the best and the worst in you.