Navadha Pandey

They say one should dream with eyes closed but live them with your eyes open. Well, I do both. Other than that, movies keep my heart alive, I really believe in the power of retail therapy. A dose of laughter, from sit-coms or otherwise, is my quest in life.

Navadha Pandey

The beat that skips the heart

| Updated on April 08, 2014 Published on April 08, 2014

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There are times in life when your own courage surprises you. On a recent trip to Rishikesh, I went bungee jumping. Calling it life changing would be a bit of a stretch, but it is without a doubt one of the coolest things I have done in my 23 years.

If you are the adventure loving sorts, this should be a must-do on your list (that is if you haven’t done it already).

About 15 km from Rishikesh’s Laxman Jhoola is a village called Mohanchatti, where Jumpin Heights, India’s first cantilever bungee platform built over a rocky cliff overlooking a tributary of the Ganges, is located. It boasts having the country's highest 83 metres bungee jump.

“Who wants to go first,” Marc, our jump instructor, asks. My hand rises. Are you crazy, I ask myself. But going back would make me look stupid in front of the other journalists. Two people from the crew escort me to the jumping site. It is a couple of metres walk on to the crane from where one has to jump. I start walking. I can feel my steps becoming smaller by the second. Deep breaths, I tell myself. Thousands of people have done it. Marc starts strapping the harnesses on my feet and back. My feet are tied to each other by the harness and I hop like a penguin towards the jump site.

My mind goes blank. “I am not scared,” I tell Marc. He smiles, “You will be.” I gulp. The place from where I have to jump is about 30 inches away. But the walk feels like the longest in my life. Keep walking, the instructor says. Are you kidding me? If I keep walking, I will fall. Not jump, but fall. It’s not called bungee falling, right? But the instructor holds the harness on my back and keeps nudging me. The front half of my sport shoe is in the air. I stop walking.

Stand straight, and don’t look down, he says. I immediately look down. Whoa. I gulp again. It’s gorgeous. I can see the river, a mattress and two tiny people. In that microsecond, all incarnations of God in Hindu mythology run in my head.

Take a deep breath and jump on the count of three, I am told. One….two….oh my God. I jump. The wind slaps my cheeks as I shut my eyes. Don’t shut them, my brain tells me. I open them and see the river coming closer to me. I feel a jolt, as the free fall stops and I swing back upwards in an arc. I come down again and swing like a pendulum for about thirty seconds. I see the mountains on either side. I realise hanging mid air is quite a thrill. It’s a high, difficult to describe in words. A million thoughts about life and death and beyond rush through my mind in a millisecond while enjoying the picturesque view upside down. A couple of seconds later, I stop swinging, the bungee cord is lowered and I clasp the iron rod as two people pull me down. Try to see your knee, they say. I lie back on the mattress, feeling like a conqueror as my harnesses are unstrapped. I get up, stretch myself. The best part, you ask? It’s the I’VE GOT GUTS badge that you get after the jump.

I pin it to my chest proudly as I start the 20 minute trek back up.

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Published on April 08, 2014
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