Ever since my friend Arunima Sinha went to Dubai for her maiden SkyDive in September 2012 I was inspired to do the same myself! She was the biggest inspiration for me to overcome my Fear of Heights which has plagued me since childhood and beat the shit out of it with a SkyDive…couldn’t find any better way!
Bandita was going to be my partner-in-rhyme this time too! The ever so brave woman! We did our maiden Scuba Dive during our Honeymoon Trip to Andaman Islands in November 2011 and with our SkyDive we were through with the Diving Duo – both above and under Land!
I had already booked the flight tickets in August 2012 itself for our February 2013 Trip (yeah, yeah I know I am an obsessive planner)! And then the SkyDive Booking was done in December 2012 for the both of us along with our Trip Bookings…
This was going to be my first Dubai Trip after spending almost 3 years in the region here and I wanted to make it a memorable one…met so many old friends there and had a wonderful time but the most amazing part about this trip was the SkyDive which happened on Tuesday 26th February 2013.
And like so many other things in my life this was going to be a ride which almost got cancelled but somehow got savaged at the last time! I just don’t like smooth roads you see! What’s the fun without some “bumps on the road” as they say!
The Lull before the Storm!
We reached the SkyDive Campus at 9 AM and waited for the registration process to begin and admitting that I was shit scared would be such a gross understatement! Maybe I would have to find some more extreme superlatives for the fear which I had! We did our registration and then the wait began and also my innumerable attempts to the washroom! I can recall almost 8-10 trips to that ever-so-welcoming washroom! And all that while Bandita was so chilled; I definitely got to learn from her about how to stay so cool and unaffected in such seemingly frightful situations!
Ready to Rock n Roll!
We went through the simple training demonstration session and also got the gear on while waiting for the first Dive Group of the day to come back…My instructor’s name was Kenny, he was an American and had been diving since 13 years when he was just 17 years old & had completed almost 8000 jumps since then! With that mind boggling diving experience I knew I was in safe hands with him…he tried his best to calm my nerves before we finally sat on that plane but still the fear was not willing to leave my mind! Jordy, a Belgian was the photographer for my Dive and he was such a chilled out guy too…and as you would read later he was the guy who single-handedly who made my dive a reality else……….
Kenny and Jordy
Bhangra to banta hai!
Inspiration – Jai BoP!
And then the moment of reckoning arrived at 11 AM…we sat in the plane and it started the take-off! Bandita and a South African Girl were my group members on that particular dive! And surprise-surprise…I was going to be the first one to make the dive as I sat last! And I was just not ready mentally! Jordy took a short interview and the words came out of my mouth so gingerly which rarely happens! (Watch the video for that fear-filled interview)!
Confidence for the Camera!
Kenny made the final preparations with me & my gear and tried his best to keep me motivated and brave just before I was ready (or was I?) to jump…I went till the edge of the plane, the door opened and then I made the BIG mistake of seeing down and then I just couldn’t do it…I refused to jump and backed out! It was the perfect example of the mind going completely blank and just not allowing the body to budge! Kenny told me “Don’t jump if you don’t want to” and my heart-mind-body-soul all together replied “I can’t do it” so he aborted my jump and we got back to our seats and then Bandita got ready for her jump! She gave me the thumbs-up before her edge of the plane final moment and jumped without any issues! And the South African girl jumped too…and I was left wondering WTF I just missed!
And then reality struck, I thought after planning for so long, paying all that money, getting adequately trained, getting so close how I could I let this opportunity go! Icing on the cake was when Kenny told me that only 2 people had backed out like me before in his SkyDive Instructor experience! And I made up my kind that surely I didn’t want to be the 3rd one and gave Kenny the go-ahead! But there was a major roadblock thanks to this flip-flop! We had already passed the designated spot for the Dives and the pilot was getting ready for the landing! Kenny told him that I want to do the Dive but he gave a very vociferous thumbs-down and I saw the moment of glory passing my eyes that very instant!
But Jordy was in mood to let that happen! He asked me “Do you want to do it” & I replied “Yes, for sure” and then he got up from his seat, walked up to the pilot, tried his best to convince him and guess what! The Pilot changed his mind, took a U-Turn and soon we were hovering above the diving spot in the Air! Right above the Palm Islands! For the second time Kenny made all the preparations and conducted all the security checks before we made the final move!
I thanked Kenny and Jordy before I got to the edge of the plane – for the second and hopefully the last time lest I changed my mind again! If I would have, then I am sure Kenny would have pushed me down! He asked me one last time “Are you ready?” and I shook my head in affirmative!
No Escape now!
I said “Jai Bajrang Bali” in my mind and then jumped…most importantly without looking down! And yes I was shit scared this time too but the moment I jumped just can’t be defined in words! It was by far the most exhilarating moments of my life…those 50 seconds of Freefall where I was hurtling down at some 220 kmph speed 13,000 feet above sea level! And yeah the Sea was right below me! I shouted those special words “Jai BoP” like mad while Jordy was busy clicking pics and shooting the video! I kept shouting through those entire 50 seconds and feeling the thrill which was unparalleled! There was no fear but just pure adrenaline rush! Unforgettable moments for sure!
After those blood rush moments Kenny opened the Parachute, sanity prevailed and I could witness the sights below me and enjoy those moments! The Palm Dubai looked so beautiful from the top and slowly we got ready for the touchdown!
And all this happened in a matter of 30 minutes (from sitting in the plane to the touchdown) but it lasted much longer for me in my mind! I landed safely and thanked the duo of Kenny & Jordy without whom the SkyDive wouldn’t have been possible! The way Kenny motivated me and Jordy convinced the Pilot was definitely worthy of much more than the words I spoke to them after the touchdown! And then gave my signature pose, the one which I always give during my special milestones!
I hugged Bandita and told her the entire story! She was surprised too as she did the jump so comfortably! Even her instructor told her “Looks like your husband has chickened out” but when she finally saw me jumping from the plane she was mighty relieved that I finally did it afterall!
I removed the gear and then called up my Mother and Arunima telling them about my experience! Both of them were damn excited too and congratulated me! Arunima laughed like mad when I told her the entire story of my jump!
Even though a Tandem Jump isn’t too big a deal for many people as you don’t jump on your own and the instructor is tied to you but for me it was ultra special as I have always been afraid of the heights! And after those flip-flop moments I ensured that the jump became even more memorable! And the fact that Bandita also jumped with me made it further special!
The post-SkyDive Elation Pose!
We waited in the Office while our Video & photographs were being edited, customized and burnt on a DVD for us…we also bought SkyDive Tees for us and I also got one for Arunima as she had asked for it…we also bought some memorabilia items for memories sake, had a light meal and then got ready to leave after experiencing the thrill of a SkyDive! We got the DVDs and then left the campus for a well-deserved & celebratory lunch at the famous Pakistani Restaurant named Ravi and had a hearty meal of Seekh Kebabs, Mutton Korma and Biryani!
BIG thanks to Bandita for being the partner-in-rhyme, Arunima for the inspiration, SkyDive folks for the awesome planning, scheduling & the arrangements and most importantly to Jordy & Kenny for making the dive possible in the end! I had never even dreamt in the wildest of my dreams that I would be diving like this ever but in the end I finally did it!
My SkyDive Video
Bandita’s Dive Video
Facebook Album Link:
Details about SkyDive Dubai:
Official Website: www.skydivedubai.ae
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SkydiveDXB
Fees which we paid: 1750 AED or Dirhams (Inclusive of the DVD of the Video and Pics)
So till the time we meet again…Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…