I’ve always been afraid of heights, ever since I was a little kid. I remember going to the mountains in Manali with my family when I was just five or six years old. (I’ll try to find an image from this trip in some old album, once I’m back home)
We parked our cars on the side of the road, right next to a cliff, and I looked out to see a few creatures flying in the sky. At first, I thought they were birds, but as I looked closer, I realized they were humans with some sort of structure attached to them. It was like a large, hollow head.
Confused, I turned to my mom and asked her, “Mumma, kya vo vahaan birds hai?” Translation: “Mom, are those birds out there?”
“No, they’re humans”, she replied.
Later on, I realised that just like my mom told me, they were no birds, they were just some daring humans performing an activity called paragliding :)
That moment has stuck with me all these years, and I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to fly like a bird. So, as a way to face my fear of heights and fulfill my dream of flying, I decided to go skydiving on my 22nd birthday.
So, fast forward to a few months later, I planned a trip for Dubai along with my parents, boarded the plane, landed here on March 1st and the next day I was supposed to go for skydiving!
I remember the moment I was sitting in the plane, all suited up, looking down at the earth below, feeling my heart racing in my chest. dhakdhak. dhakdhak. dhakdhak.
I was nervous, anxious, and afraid. I remember thinking, “What if the parachute doesn’t open?”, “What if this harness breaks?” But then, I remembered something that I learned from playing Assassin’s Creed PC Games - sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith.
For those who haven’t played the games, the “leap of faith” is a signature move where the player jumps off a high point, often a tall building, into a pile of hay or leaves below. It’s a metaphor for taking a risk, trusting in your abilities, and having faith that everything will work out.
As I prepared for my jump, I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between the game’s leap of faith and the real-life leap I was about to take. It was a moment of sheer terror, but also one of complete trust.
I had faith in the equipment, hundreds of engineers who wrote the code for automatic activation device the training, my instructor and lastly my own abilities to handle the situation.
As we ascended higher into the sky, my heart was beating faster than ever before. I couldn’t believe that I was about to jump out of a plane at an altitude of over 13,500 feet.
When my instructor asked me to take a step forward and look out of the plane window, I was paralyzed with fear. I was shit scared!. It was the most terrifying moment of my life.
I could barely breathe as I looked down at the ground below, so far away. It was then that I realized that “I might actually die.” I wanted to back out, to call the whole thing off, but I knew I couldn’t. I had to face my fear head-on.
I might have dropped hundreds of F-bombs for sure! Holy F***!
Wearing a watch or a fitness band wasn’t allowed, but I can promise you my heartrate might’ve exceeded 180bpm at that point!
and thennnnn, it happened!
As I fell through the sky, I felt a sense of exhilaration that I had never experienced before. The rush of air was overwhelming, and I felt like I was falling to my death. I screamed and cried, convinced that this was the end. I couldn’t believe I had been so foolish to think that I could conquer my fear of heights in this way!
The wind whipped past me, and I could see the city spread out below me. For a moment, I felt like I was flying, just like those creatures I had seen in Manali all those years ago.
👆🏻 POV: The ‘I think I’m gonna die’ face.
But as we hurtled towards the ground, something miraculous happened. My fear began to fade, and for a moment, I felt like I was flying, just like those creatures I had seen in Manali all those years ago ✨
Won’t try to sound like a narcissist, but the first few seconds of that freefall allowed me to think about different topics and some life decisions in a different way and that’s when one of Steve Jobs’s quotes hit me,
"What if today was my last day, what would I have done differently in my present life, if I had gotten another chance?"
It made me realize that life is too short to live in fear and that taking risks can lead to some of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Perhaps, Just like this skydiving one?
Then suddenly, my instructor deployed the parachute and I felt a jolt that brought me back to reality. The next few seconds, made me think of all the happy memories that I had lived upto this point and me appreciate whatever I have so far, even more.
Now, that we were plummenting at a slow pace, I started thinking about all the other leaps of faith we take in our lives. Don’t you think that our parents actually take the biggest leap of faith?
The moment they decide to invest their time, energy and resources into our education and upbringing. Seeing their faces in my mind’s eye reminded me of this picture that I had clicked, moments before they were about to board their first plane ❤️
The moment I landed, I felt a sense of accomplishment and gratitude wash over me. I had survived the jump, but more importantly, I couldn’t be more grateful than ever before that I got the chance to enter into the 22nd year of my journey 🥂 :)
It’s funny how just a few seconds of freefall can make you think about life in a completely different way. I realized that life is too short to hold back and that sometimes, you just have to take that leap of faith. We never know what tomorrow holds, but what we do know is that we have today.
We have this moment, right now, to make the most of it.
In the end, my first skydiving experience taught me that sometimes, the things that scare us the most are the things that we need to do the most. It taught me to take risks, to trust in my abilities, and to have faith that everything will work out in the end. And most importantly, it taught me to: