I agree. Yes, this was a long long break. And I blame myself for this. But it’s not that I didn’t have anything to write about. There is always so much to write about. But I so love creating my own imaginary stories and love living in them, that I keep forgetting to document lest loose them to my dreams.
So, this was just the second in my long list of escapades to cover. An unexpected spontaneous urge to try Paragliding.
A lazy time over Google on a Thursday evening and an extra pinch of good luck landed me to this awesome deal from AdventureNation (that’s the name of the club). I could see that a tandem ride was being offered at a place known as Kamshet, at a very minimum cost . “Sweet!”. I wasted no time and booked a slot for the weekend.
The real problem started now.
So you see, Kamshet is a place around 64kms. from Pune and I am in Bangalore. So yeah, what’s the big deal? I could take a flight (nah, too expensive for me), or a train (yup more preferable) or a bus (last resort, but acceptable).
I logged into IRCTC (and all you Indian companions know what a challenge it is booking a ticket through IRCTC) but got only a ‘Waiting 6’ ticket. I thought that I still have a day until the chart is prepared, so there’s a good chance my ticket will get confirmed. I was relaxed. Only to be panicking the next day. Friday afternoon and the status was still ‘Waiting 6’.
I casually logged into KSRTC, over confident, to book an overnight Volvo for Pune. What did I encounter? No tickets there as well. Well, what I missed to consider was that it was holiday season and a weekend. Gosh! No seats in any buses. Panicking, I tried RedBus for private buses, but to no avail. Lastly, I thought to try goIbibo. Luckily, one bus, which was to depart in an hour, had 2 vacant seats. Without a second thought, I booked a 2-way ticket and sat back to breath in peace.
That bus j’ney proved to be the most uncomfortable experience ever. This was a lesson for me to book even bus tickets well in advance.
With aching limbs, I, somehow reached my friend’s place by Saturday evening. I was so glad to see her apartment. It was so comfy!!! I took a nice quiet nap while she prepared food for me (how sweet, I knw).
Later in the evening, I got a little suspicious because my slot was for Sunday morning and nobody from the club had called me up to give the details. No mails either. No even to confirm the payment I made. That worried me. I dropped them an urgent mail and started to pack for the morning. An hour passed-by and no response. Just when I was thinking to call them up, I got a call informing me that the morning batch was cancelled due to weather conditions. They offered me a slot in the evening. I got upset because my return ticket was for 6pm in the evening. They promised to make some arrangements. Several calls back and forth and I got a slot in the afternoon. Just half an hour. If there’s wind enough, I will be lucky; if not, my trip was doomed. Afterwards, we did a little research on the local train timings for transport between Pune and Kamshet. Anxious about what my fate would be, I went to sleep.
I reached the location well before time the next day. I was bubbling with joy imagining I’ll get plenty of time in the air. All hopes shattered when we reached the hill (at 1000 ft. from ground level) to see there was no wind at all. Although I still had an hour, my instructors weren’t looking very confident. Almost half an hour went by without any improvement in the wind speed. I started to bug the instructors with all kinds of weird questions, like, ‘Can’t we start the glide? Maybe we’ll get wind when we are airborne.’, ‘Can’t we equip ourselves and be ready so that just as a gust comes, we can run?’. I could see even they were getting anxious. I pleaded and cried that I don’t want to waste my trip at all. I came all the way for this experience and I cant go back dumb-faced. I saw that I was able to convince them to take a risk.
We had just 15 mins. left to test our luck. We prepped ourselves and were waiting for just one strong gust to fly. And it came. At the signal, I ran at full speed for about a 100 mtrs. and I was flying. My heartbeat stopped for a minute when I thought I was going down. And just then, I realized I was soaring!!!
Oh! That feeling. It’s beyond words. I cant say it and I cant write about it. No. No words will justify that freedom. 15 mins. in the air. No machines to control your movements. No navigation to guide you. It was a dialogue between me and the wind. A divine connection. I was in control of the wind to take me wherever it wanted, yet I felt free. From 1200ft in the air, I was just a speck of a shadow when I looked down. Just a passing mote on the ground. How insignificant; yet so powerful. ‘Exhilarating’ and ‘Ecstatic’ come close but no, not really.
P.S. : For details about reaching Kamshet and other logistic/transport details, refer to my next post coming soon.
Edit : The post is published! All details about what, when and how. Refer to : https://figmentsofrealityandalittlecrazystuff.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/paragliding-in-kamshet-what-when-and-how