Sunday, February 24, 2013

In The Sky With Diamonds

I have a terrible case of vertigo. Looking down from the second floor of a building is enough to make my knees turn into jelly. I also have a terrible case of being morbid. Looking down from the second floor of a building will also make me think of scenarios where I am plummeting to my death or hanging on for dear life at the end of a fraying rope. But I look down anyway and some part of me, a chicken whom I will name Miss Puk-Puk-Pukaak(Miss Pukaak for short), calls me all kinds of names. Seven years ago I did a lot more than look down from the second floor of a building. Or even the tenth floor.

Charming log huts between pine trees

We were in Devbagh, a picturesque and untouched island off the coast of Karwar. The minute our boats neared the island I felt, as I always feel when I see a beach, I was returning home. The island was something out of a Hansel and Gretel story, with charming log huts on stilts and tall pine trees between which you could see the sea twinkling. Jungle Lodge Resorts which owns Devbagh, provide a whole lot of adventure and water sports and we thought we would give a few of them a try. We went on a banana boat ride, where we were unceremoniously dropped into the water at a thumbs-up signal which I always missed on account of being so mesmerised by the surroundings, and rode the waves on a water scooter and finally decided to go parasailing.

“What is parasailing?” Miss Pukaak asked me. She makes it a point to know as little of anything that terrifies her as possible.

“Oh, you know, that adventure sport where you are thousands of metres above land and dangling from a parachute,” I informed her nonchalantly. This part of me is quite the daredevil.

At this point Miss Pukaak had all kinds of hysterics and seizures while I smiled at the sea breeze and tried hard to contain my excitement.
We were taken to another miniscule island which was just as pretty if not a little more than Devbagh. I saw people take off into the air and become little specks in the sky. The parasailers were attached by a long rope to a boat which guided them, and to their parachute which made them airborne.  Soon, it was my turn. I listened to the directions of what to hold and how to land and Miss Pukaak went over all the worst case scenarios with the guy in charge. She was patiently informed that she would not meet her untimely death.

Looking suspiciously at the ropes I was tied to, before lift off

Then I took three big steps forward and was suddenly pulled into the air and went higher and higher. My eyes were screwed shut and I gripped the straps around me tighter than was necessary. And then when nothing catastrophic happened I slowly opened my eyes. And gasped in wonder, at the same time my heart leapt to my trachea. I was high up in the sky. Below me was the greenish-blue sea speckled little patches of green land and hills that rose from it. Miss Pukaak had revived herself after passing out and I nervously wiggled my toes and sang Climb Every Mountain from Sound of Music. I was bobbing in the sky, for the first time in my life, with black kites and amidst the clouds.
On top of the world

 It was a victory for me that day. And also for a lady in a sari who parasailed and didn’t let her sari get in the way of what she wanted to do. I realized that I could break free of Miss Pukaak and find how it was worth it. I decided I would not let her get in the way of what I wanted to do.


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