I’m turning 21 years old this year; it’s arguably the year you officially become an adult. So I thought, life is too short to live in regret, it’s time to do things that you always wanted to do but never had the guts to try.
I spent the start of the new year in Goa, and one of the things that I was adamant to try was paragliding.
It always seemed like so much fun.
So here's what happened. First, I was strapped into a life jacket, which was tied so tight, I could barely breathe. My father and I were rushed into a boat, where we had to climb on while it rocked unsteadily. At this point, I was terrified.
But as the wind whipped my hair, and the salty cool waves sprayed my face as the boat chopped through the sea, I started to enjoy myself. I was a daredevil, I was going to tell everyone what an exhilarating experience this was when I got back to Dubai!
We kept venturing deeper and deeper into the waters. I heard the engine sputter and then stop, until we were bobbing along in silence.
“Dad, if we have to, do you think we could make it by swimming back to shore?”
“Dad, do you think there are sharks here?”
We approached another boat, which had the parachute thingy attached on, and everyone took turns getting onto that boat. Again, with the boat rocking, and the men going "Aram se, aram se. Chalo chalo." This made me more uneasy than anything.
One by one, men were strapped on with another contraption, which frankly didn't look very safe. In fact, it looked like it wouldn’t be able to withstand the weight of a 5 year old, much less a grown woman who had indulged in a lot of Christmas goodies over the holidays.
While the rest of the men moved forward to take their turn turn in the air. I was more concerned with the movements my stomach started to make.
Suddenly, it was my turn and I shakily stood up and felt myself being hooked me up to the parachute and I barely had time to let out a small squeal of sheer fright.
But then, it was quite alright for a few seconds. Paragliding is weird, it looks all sporty and adrenalin junkie-like, but really, it’s like you’re sitting on a swing. Only you're just really high up.
Then I started hearing creaking sounds from the parachute and my paranoia started kicking in.
I wanted to yell out to the men below, "Hey guys! This was really fun. Really! Now please, TAKE ME TO SHORE."
Then they were pulling me back down and it looked like I was going to collide with the boat and I wanted to yell "No! Leave me out here for a while longer. That's totally not worth 800 rupees!"
After my feet hit the boat, my knees buckled so without even attempting to get up, I wriggled to the nearest seat, weakly smiled at my father and said “that was quite fun.”
“Yeah I’m fine. I just feel a little naus-“
And then I proceeded to throw up a glass of piña colada, a club sandwich I had for breakfast, and what looked like partially digested seafood pasta from the night before.
Some daredevil I was.