Lub dub lub dub…I could hear my own heartbeat. I got a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach.
Oh my GOD! I am literally losing ground under my feet! We jumped off the cliff. We are F-L-Y-ING! The houses, the trees, the rice terraces and the lake were becoming smaller and smaller. The horizon looked perfectly round in shape.
“We are over 1000 feet above the earth”, shouted my paragliding instructor from behind. “How does it feel?” I kept mum. I was awestruck. I really did not know how to describe my feeling at that moment. I was paragliding over Lake Bhimtal, in Uttarakhand. Finally, I did overcome my biggest fear – Acrophobia, the fear of height.
Until that moment I was a poor girl terribly scared of height.
“Stop, stop, please stop the wheel… I want to get down.” Now, as I think of that moment I can imagine myself how silly I looked while crying like a child. Everyone on the ground was looking at me. Some were laughing too. I could hear my sister saying, “Didi, what’s the matter? What’s happened to you?”
It was a fairground. I was riding a huge Ferris wheel with my sister sitting next to me. As the wheel started turning I felt my palms sweating. Just when our chair reached the top I started shouting. God knows why I felt I was falling down. I felt weightless. I felt like vomiting. The operator had to stop the wheel in the middle so that I could get down. He was grumbling. So was everyone else on the ride, perhaps. I was ashamed of being such a nuisance. And that’s when I realized I had a fear of altitude. It happened around 20 years back. I was in school then.
When I was younger we used to pay visits to my father’s uncle almost every fortnight. On the way to his home we had to cross a long, narrow footbridge by a rail yard. There was a canal flowing below, may be 80-100 feet down. Unfortunately, it was the shortcut to my grand uncle’s house; hence my father preferred that route. Every time we walked on the bridge I would hold my father’s hand tight and look straight in front, walk fast, very conscious about not to look down by mistake. Every time a train passed the bridge would shake and I would think this time the bridge is going to collapse and we are going to fall. But nothing like that ever happened. Pretty soon my grand uncle shifted to another house. I thanked God that we won’t have to walk that ‘deadly’ path any more.
So, that was I – a poor, timid creature lacking self-confidence until I saw this ad of Mountain Dew.
‘Kyunki Darr ke aage jeet hai!’ – this simple six-word tag line of Mountain Dew India rocked my mind. It touched my soul. In short, it taught me to think differently. Then I followed their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia to find a series of posts on sensational adventures. It inspires everyone to rise above fears and take the leap of faith. But how can I overcome my fear and taste victory? I kept asking myself.
Last October we had a trip to Nainital. One day while boating in Bhimtal something caught my eyes. A few paragliders, looked almost as the size of a tiny bird, flying high above the sky. I got my ANSWER.
While returning to hotel our car was running past the diving spot. I asked the driver to stop the car and got down with one of my friends accompanying me. It was nearly half an hour tandem flight that changed me as a human being – happier, stronger and more confident. But first, I could not believe I was literally in the air, flying like a bird. It felt so light, like a feather. Was it because I was airborne or was it because I could finally get rid of a burden called ‘fear’? I still can’t figure out. But now I know victory lies beyond fear and I have risen above my worst fear – ‘Acrophobia’, the fear of height. It feels great!