I have never fancied heights. To be honest, I am scared of them. On the other hand, I had always wanted to skydive. It seems ironical for a person like me who is dead scared of heights and still holds the desire to skydive. However, the day to realize the thrill of skydiving was not too far.
During last week of August, I drove from Austin, TX to Baton Rouge, LA. For those who have not yet been to Baton Rouge via I-10, this would be a wonderful piece of information. On the way, you’ll have to cross Lake Charles bridge which looks inclined to about 75 degrees. As I was driving over the bridge, I got chills in my spine as I looked out of my car’s window. Alas! I had never been that fearful of heights before. “Now, I can’t even look outside if I am driving over flyovers and bridges”, I said to myself. This was not looking good at all. I had to perform some remedial actions ASAP.
So, my phone rang last Friday. It was my friend, Hari, who recently graduated from TAMU. “Dude, got any plans for the weekend”, he inquired. “Nothing so far, dude”, I replied. He said, “Awesome, we should go skydiving.” He hung up the phone leaving me befuddled. I have always wanted to go skydiving which was always the plan and I liked it that way. Mixed feelings emerged in me as Hari said that we’ll be skydiving the very next day.
So the plan was finally made and we hit the road to Lexington, TX on fine Saturday morning. I was still not able to believe that I was going to skydive. “Will I survive?” I asked to myself. Do I need to call my closed ones and let them know that I was skydiving? Will I really be able to skydive and come back alive? As Hari was driving, I was pondering upon these questions. I knew all these questions would not matter after I jump off the plane. Pheww!
We were at Texas Skydiving Center in Lexington, TX after an hour drive from College Station. After filling out the forms and signing the form that said, “I will be responsible for any injuries or death”, my anxiety was at the peak. One of the jumpmasters came over and briefed on what is expected of us while we are in the sky. The time finally came and Hari went first. After 30 minutes or so, he came back, smiling. He said, “I was in complete peace, you’ll like it.” I was glad that he came back alive. That boosted great confidence in me and I boarded the aircraft. That was possibly the smallest aircraft I have seen or boarded into my entire life. I, my jumpmaster and the videographer boarded the plane. The plane took off and I kept looking out of the plane’s window every once in a while. “There is no going back now”, I said to myself. I prayed to the lord and was just ready to skydive.
The plane reached an altitude of 8000 ft. when my jumpmaster asked me to sit in front of him so that he could attach his harness to mine. The plane then reached 12000 ft. and that was the height we were jumping from. The videographer opened the plane’s door and stepped outside in the air. As I moved closer to the exit door, I could feel the wind blowing at my face at tremendous speed. Boy; I was seconds away from my experience of a lifetime. My jumpmaster signaled me that we’ll be jumping now and……… A FREE FALL.
It was just an amazing experience. I thought I will have an adrenaline rush but there was nothing as such. I was in complete peace, embracing nothing but air and approaching the earth. After 40 seconds of free fall, I started having some fun in the sky by posing myself for some pictures. After sometime, my jumpmaster opened up the parachute and we were pulled up again at a great speed. Once the chute was open, our position changed from horizontal to vertical. Earth’s surface looked very tiny and I could not see anything but bare grounds. The jumpmaster then said that we’ll be landing soon. I wanted to be in air for some more time but I said, “OK”. He asked me to lift my legs as high as possible for proper landing. And, after 5-6 minutes high up in the air, we finally landed on the ground. My ears were clogged because of sudden change in air-pressure. When I stood up, I was not able to believe what I had just done. Yeah, I freakin’ skydived!! I was beaming with happiness that I came back alive. Moreover, I thought that my fear of heights would have abated by some extent. It was just incredible and that was indeed, the best experience so far. Those of you who are reading this, and have wanted to go skydiving, I say, JUST DO IT. You’ll be happy that you did and the memory will last a lifetime.