All excited – I got on the flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on Friday.
Was met by Sourin, Narottam and Harnish at the airport and we were
off to Deesa.
Met up with a few more trainees in Deesa – mostly from the army.
Nothing much to say about that night – don’t remember much of what
happened as it was all wiped out by the experiences next day.
Got up early morning – had breakfast – and went to to the Deesa
airfield (with a slight detour as we lost the way and reached a dam
The winds were perfect – the weather was absolutely clear – just one
small hitch – our plane was stuck in Ahmedabad as it could not get a
take-off slot 🙁 — then started a long wait – a few warm-up
exercises and another loong wait. Finally the plane touched down at
By now the winds had become faster and all the first-timers were told
that we would have to wait till the winds died down and were to watch
the experienced jumpers and learn by watching them. To cut a long
story short – watching them was very informative – but by now we were
getting impatient and waiting for our turns. Finally I got my name
into the 7th Sortie – I was to jump second.
I was excited – got my parachute on (fit-chute) — and was ready for
the jump. Soon I got into the plane with Surya sir and Narottam –
perfectly normal till now. Then as the plane started going higher – my
heart-beats started getting faster – I was actually afraid – it was
the beginning of a sheer terror an almost panic and I could not
believe myself – it was like one part of me is terribly afraid – and
the second part is looking on and wondering why he’s afraid. We
reached a height of 3500′ and Narottam jumped first – I got into
position – the position being keeping one foot on the strut of the
plane, the second inside and looking straight. I looked down – and
almost panicked. Surya sir tapped on my back and shouted ‘GO’. Against
all instincts – against everything I ever felt – against my TOTAL fear
– I stepped into thin air and made the exit position.
Took a few tumbles and heard my parachute opening above me. As soon as I jumped
out the fear vanished (at least for the time being) – I was out of the
plane – I was safe (i.e. alive) and I was back in a state when the
panic was not controlling me anymore. I looked up and saw that the
lines of my chute were twisted as I had tumbled – I took hold of the
risers and pulled them apart to untwist – got my bearings and started
experimenting with the canopy – left turns – right turns – and finally
landed safely and nicely (about a 100m ahead of the target). It was
all amazing. But whenever I thought of the time I jumped I felt the
panic come back immediately – it was almost as if a fear was the only
thing !! I could not believe myself – on one hand I was telling myself
that I loved it had a lot of fun blah blah blah — on the other hand
there was nothing but terror at jumping again.
Imagine stepping into that
I had brought the cash for the second jump thinking that I might go
for it if I enjoy a lot – I had enjoyed a lot – but found myself
making excuses for not jumping again – its too expensive – how will I
get to Ahmedabad – etc etc. However deep down I knew I was panicking –
I had managed to control the fear once in the air – but now it was
getting hold of me and I knew that if I did not jump again today – I
would never sky-dive again. I controlled myself again – paid the money
– asked them to get me on the earliest sortie possible. I took the
second jump not just because I had enjoyed the first one – but because
I had to control this fear.
I was on Sortie 11 – went up again with Surya sir and Jitin – again
jumping second. This time I kept calm – kept repeating the exit drill
in my mind – “GO – jump – slipstream position – 1000 – 2000 – 3000 –
4000 – 5000 – check”. I fumbled a bit while coming into position – got
my wrong foot ahead at first – corrected myself and jumped at the word
“GO”. This time it was perfect – there was no fear – a certain amount
of anxiety – but not the shear panic I had felt the first time – I did
not tumble – the chute had opened perfectly – I had time to experience
the flight – I tried 360 degree turns – made a full circuit pattern
for landing and landed safely. It was the most amazing experience till
date. Best of all I knew I had conquered my fear – I knew that now I
would be absolutely addicted to sky-diving. I was part of this group –
and not an outsider looking in.
The entire experience was a learning experience – not just about the
art of parachuting – but about myself.
|2008_02_09 Parachuting – Deesa|