Absurd though you might feel, but I’ve always had this insurmountable urge whenever I was standing on a high platform – a funny feeling throughout my body which kept on forcing me to throw myself down from that spot. So be it whether I’m standing on a rooftop while enjoying the cool breeze or the top of a stepladder while fixing a light bulb. This urge has taken me to the observation deck of the Canadian National Tower and called to me at the cliffs of the Rockies. Thankfully I never jumped, but this urge never went away!
No, I’ve never felt that I was bordering on insanity. It was just something I had to do at least once in my life. And the dream turned into reality when I opened my eyes to see the ridges and glaciers of the Southern Alps of New Zealand thousands of feet under me!
I was in New Zealand last month, and it was then when I heard about the township of Franz Josef, just a few hours bus-ride away from Queenstown. I made up my mind to visit the town with only one purpose in mind, because the township promises the finest skydiving experience in the country. On a day with clear sky, I boarded the plane. Sitting quietly in an orange and black jumpsuit, it was that funny feeling coming back. As the plane rose higher, my instructor started explaining the important things I needed to keep in mind when in mid-air. I don’t remember keeping anything in mind though!
When the altimeter strapped to the wrist of my instructor hit 19500 feet, he gave me a small nod and opened the metal hatch of the plane. As the icy wind slapped my face when I somehow managed to stand at the doorway, I knew that there was nothing between me and nearly a four-mile fall. Strapped together with my instructor, I closed my eyes and we jumped into nothingness. The 125-mile per hour wind and a feeling of emptiness inside my stomach were bringing out a scream from my throat. I opened my eyes when we were smoothly floating miles over the planet. I will not talk about the scenes I saw… I am sorry! That is something which cannot ever be put in words; it needs to be seen by going up there.
Feeling no less than the Almighty, I remember making all kind of facial expressions possible – from a wide grin to being dead scared. My instructor opened the parachute almost 2 minutes later and expertly steered us to a landing spot near the runaway. I was so much overtaken by the thrill and excitement that I kept seated on the ground for five minutes. And still cannot forget a single bit of it.
I know that some people go for skydiving because life seems to get boring for them. Maybe this was the case for me too. But no matter what it was, I am just glad that God gave me this life and I had the courage to put that weird urge finally at rest. But I’m also in a dilemma, did I just increase it?