The movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, was catalytic for me to experience adventure per se, jumping out of a plane with a parachute being one! Thrilling isn't it. I was overjoyed to learn that skydiving has ushered in India by these two USPA certified agencies- Skyriders and Skyhigh boasting of promising reviews. Well, why go Dubai or anywhere when it’s in your own backyard, the gut wrenching adrenaline doesn’t change with geography, right. Skyriders used to shuffle between Mehsana (Gujarat) and Mysore (Karnataka) but lately they have made Mysore their permanent base for dives. Skyhigh operates in Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh). (If you do manage to find other reliable agencies please mention in the comments). Skyriders charged INR 35k which is roughly the same as in Dubai (2000AED~36k) and Skyhigh charged 30k. You may get discount if you book your slot few months in advance or go in a group. I went ahead with Skyriders, for a tandem jump.
March end and a bright Sunday morning, a bus ride took me to the non-functional Mysore airport that's used only for skydiving and VIP transits (take any bus going towards ooty and ask the conductor to let you down here). I joined four other people anxiously waiting in the lounge. One by one, the manager, pilot and instructors came in. Our Russian instructor, Pasha, briefed us the dos and don’ts, ergonomics to follow. Donning the jumpsuit, while walking towards the Cessna aircraft (without door), I was shivering with fear yet ecstatic from within. The other guys wished me good luck. I comforted myself behind the pilot seat and Pasha was merrily sitting by his side with one leg hanging in the void, just another day for him. The aircraft slowly ascended, reaching heights of about 12000 ft. That curved horizon looks so magnificent, blue sky blending in white streaks with the amber earth. Everything seems so small and infinite fields are visible in such perfect geometry. Scattered mushy clouds dispersed through the aircraft. I sensed a certain chill, my heartbeats vividly audible while I looked out and down below. Pasha harnessed me to himself and jogged me through the instructions once again. I was going frenzy.
“One leg out on the landing gear”. "Steady". "AND JUMP"!
I shouted like crazy. For few seconds, the horizon went haywire like a mad compass. But vision sets in soon and you feel your weightless self going at high speeds in a winged stance. Gravity doing it's job. The freefall lasts merely a minute before the parachute is opened when the altimeter points out. Spiralling down towards a marked flag was fun. The views were ethereal. After the final touchdown I felt so elated for what I accomplished back there. All the moments were captured on go pro and I took back home something amazing. These are the things that test your limits and make for a daring lifetime experiences. Come to think of it, you practically don’t do anything, the instructor does everything. But to take that next step, out of the aircraft, that’s a real challenge and to live up to it, is what brings sheer happiness at the end of the day. Cheers!
Take that next step forward, it’s worth a try
Give your will a chance and see yourself fly