It was one of those days when I went to the fancy birthday parties of one of the kids at this posh place in Gurgaon which was a technical modern extravaganza! The kids (and us adults) sure had a ball, especially in the 3-D simulation where we were strapped up, hanging a foot above the ground in a virtual paragliding simulator. Made me wonder how exhilarating the live actual experience would be!
Chasing the wonder like a sweet obsession and a dream, I began to search for a great option. And who would have thought that it would pop up not in the sandy beach locales of far-off Goa, but closer home in the mountains of Kumaon, possible as one of the weekend getaways from Delhi? Actually I had stumbled upon paragliding in Pandegaon, a little known cousin of Naukuchiatal, near Nainital in Uttarakhand. Off I went!
Cutting out the weary details of travel, let me get to the part when I actually saw the majestic winged beauty! Oh it was mind blowing! And believe me, scary too! My guide and pilot was quite used to such last minute cold feet, I guess. His smoothening tone and encouraging words egged me on. Strapped up well for safety and reassured that I was in experienced hands with my pilot, I let the adrenaline rush smother the apprehensions!
Lo and behold! It just took a few seconds and I was off my feet! What ensued is beyond words! Believe me, the virtual simulation is no match to the real thing! The feeling of being free, soaring high like a bird – oh simply awesome! The view below is not the same as one from the window of an airplane! No sir! This is pure bliss, makes you feel on top of the world literally!
With the misty clouds touching my face and even obscuring my view at times, I felt one with nature and space. For the mountains were my new friends, and the wind’s song was on my lips! The bird’s eye view was mine own now.
It was over all so fast! I had to have one more go. The winds were perfect, who knows how the mood of the weather gods might be the next day. Feeling confident like a pro, I took another mesmerizing glide. Boy, the thrills I got!
It was good that I had heeded the advice of my instructors well, because when you are up there, the laws of gravity on the ground seem to work in reverse order against the levity you feel and all the principles of physics that you may have studied slip right out of your brains! It is only the latest parroting of the instructions that come handy, so that’s what I did!
The paraglide experience has taught me more about nature than anything else I have read or done. I will come back again to take more lessons from one of the best adventure activities ever….