Jump!

A profound experience, even if it lasts just a few seconds, can create a major change in you. I learnt this in May last year. It began as a typical day in Kathmandu would, cool and nippy. My friend Vidyyut and I, were on our way to have our biggest, most exciting adventure yet- Bungee Jumping. We left Kathmandu by bus and 4 hours later, we were at The Last Resort, the place where we had to take our jump. (Called so, because it is the last resort before you enter Tibet. Ironic huh?) Considering I was going to do such an exciting thing, you might expect me to be really excited right through that 4 hour journey. Wrong. Turns out, mountain roads, buses and my stomach aren’t the best of friends, so i spent those 4 hours is deep discomfort. When we finally reached, I was so relieved. “Finally”, I thought, “now things should get better!” I was mistaken. The setting over there was something like this. There were two huge mountains on either side, with a deep gorge in between. The only thing connecting the two mountains, was a narrow, swinging bridge. 500 feet below that bridge, was a raging river, the Bhote Kosi, one of the most violent rivers of Nepal. The resort was on one mountain, while the bus stopped on the other. I’ll be honest, I was really excited about this whole thing! I couldn’t sleep all night last night thinking about my jump. But when you see that bridge, and are asked to walk across it for the first time, your excitement takes a hit. Walking across it knowing there is just one step and 500 feet between you and death is NOT fun. And here’s the irony. The safety talk about what to do, and what not to do on the bridge was going to be given on the other side of the bridge. I somehow put on a brave face (so as not to be teased like crazy by Vidyyut) and walked across. Once on the other side, my excitement and swagger came back. “Pah!”, I told him. “Piece of cake!”. We immediately went for the safety talk, and the jumps began. We were divided into two groups based on our weights, and I was in the second one. So I had to wait for an hour and a half, before i finally heard an instructor shout, “Group 2! Get on the bridge!” I rushed on, excited and nervous. Yes, it was scary, but I was the lightest person in that group. So I figured, I’ll be the first to jump. I won’t have to stay on the bridge for long, and I can get over with this quickly! I was mistaken. Again. The instructors, for some reason, decided to go in reverse order. So I had to wait  another hour and a half for my jump, this time, ON the bridge. Well, it took a while, but I got used to it (almost). I had to kill time and distract myself, so I began to think of cool ways to jump. After some deliberation, I decided to do the Batman jump. (You know, the one where he jumps of a building holding his cape at its hem on both sides). And my excitement was back, as it was like Batman’s spirit came into me! Finally, it was my turn. The instructor called me forward and asked me to sit down. He tied the harness onto my legs. I was brimming with excitement. He helped me up, and walked me to the platform on the bridge, from where we had to jump. But as I was walking, a strange thing happened. Batman’s spirit decided, “Okay, this is not really the best body I can be in. I should leave.” And just left! The closer and closer I got to the edge of the platform, the lower and lower my excitement went and the bigger and bigger my fear grew until, on the edge, I was paralysed with fear! I couldn’t move! At this point in time, two parts of me, Reckless Saurab and Sensible Saurab, decided it was a great time to have a debate. Reckless Saurab: Come on, Saurab, you came all the way for this moment! Do it! Sensible Saurab: Dude, seriously, you don’t want to die. Turn back. RS: Don’t listen to him! This is the coolest thing you have ever done! Jump! SS: Uh, this is the stupidest thing you have ever done, and that is saying something. You have surpassed all previous feats! RS: Oh come on! Where is that Batman spirit? SS: Batman Shmatman! Turn around! This went on and on, and I was still…stuck. Should I turn back? Should I jump? Should I just close my eyes and fall? Turns out, in the end, none of that mattered. Because the safety instructor behind me, pushed me. Just like that, he counts down 3…2…1…and Bham! Just like that! Who does that! And as I began falling, shock and fear hit me! I was going head-first into that river, I was upside down, completely disoriented, with the cliffs right next to me. I didn’t know if I would make it alive! And then the rebound started! “Boing…Boing….boing….” But as this continued, slowly, that shock and fear, turned into exhilaration. It turned into thrill. It turned magical. And before I knew it, I was screaming in ecstasy, feeling more alive than I had ever felt in my entire life! Just like that, in a few seconds, the jump was over. And I was being lowered down to the shore of the river, hanging upside down, I kept thinking to myself, “Man, I’m never going to be the same person that I was, before I jumped!” An experience, that led me to discover an adventurer’s streak in me. Definitely a turning point.

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