What the hell am I doing here? What was I thinking? There is no way I will be able to pull this off. There was no reason for me to ask for this. I did and how I regret the moment, I decided to jump off this bridge. What was I trying to prove? And to whom?
Earlier in the morning, I had asked Sujan, our Jump Master, if I could do the Canyon Swing later in the afternoon. He, of course, welcomed my foolishness. Little did I know, jumping a few times the week before, would not make this effort any easier.
So, after deciding on the canyon swing, I went off for a rafting trip with a team of students from Dubai. It was not a perfect day but was not too far off from it as everyone seemed to have a great day on the river with plenty of rapids, a few falls and loads of river games. Every once in a while, I would think of the canyon swing, that was waiting for me at the other end of the day, but it did nothing more than to excite me further.
It was around 4pm I got back to The Last Resort, tired and content, back from the rafting trip. I was crossing the bridge to get back to the camp when I had my first doubt of the day. Maybe, this was not such an amazing idea, after all. While crossing the bridge, I mentioned this to Sujan and said, maybe I can not do this, I would like to change my mind and I no longer would like to do the swing. Sujan, being the optimist he always is, asked me to come back to the bridge after weighing myself and with proper shoes on. He told me that the feelings I was going through were quite normal and that he would help me get over them. I agreed, like a fool.
I don’t want to do this, I remember myself telling Ramesh, one of the crew members who was busy harnessing me. I really do not want to do this, I repeat numerous times, while I was dock taping the 360 camera on my hand. His response was nothing more than a wise ass smile that said, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Sujan comes over to me and says, “Dai, you have to jump Superman style. I will set up the swing rope on your back instead of the front and you will have the best experience yet.” All I remember saying is “no, no, no”, numerous times but somehow I was still not walking out. I wanted others to stop me. I wanted someone else to be the cause of my failure to jump, not me. That was not happening.
“One more step”, I remember Sujan telling me as he was encouraging me to the edge of the jump platform. “Don’t look down”, I remember one of them say but that was hard not to do. That was not the problem either. I was not afraid of the height. My problem was that I could feel exactly what I felt one week ago when I jumped off the same platform. Hurling through the air, the knots on my stomach, the freezing terror and the never ending swing, these feelings were not something one could learn to enjoy. At least not me, it seemed. I decided that, once Sujan started the countdown, I will jump at one. There can be no turning back! Sujan raises both my arms parallel to the bridge and asks me to hold my head up and lift my chin.
Sujan says, “now, here is the countdown”! I say, “wait, wait, wait, do not start the countdown yet”. He gives me a few seconds and says, “here is the countdown”! I again begged him to wait. I try to explain to him that I will jump at the end of the countdown but I need a little time. If I did not jump at the end of the countdown, I will not jump. Sujan, explains how this would be my greatest jump so far and how I would enjoy this. I am listening to every word he is saying, but none of them mean anything to me.
Sujan says, “now, here is the countdown, 3, 2, 1…” I am falling, I am dying, I am frozen, I am at a speed that I can not comprehend and it seems to be never ending. I remember punching and kicking the air with all of my four limbs. I remember screaming. Screaming really loud. It truly felt disgustingly like I was plunging to my death. I hated it. Then, I felt the pull of the swing rope just before I started swinging. For some reason, I had a big smile on my face. I was screaming, “I hate you Sujan!” and I was loving it. A few more seconds of the swing and my scream of terror was slowly turning into a loud joyful cry of victory. Why do I keep doing this to myself, I thought. I should do the bungy next time I am here, I convinced myself.
I pulled myself across to the swing recovery area where two other guys were waiting for me to walk back to the camp together. One of them said,” you sure did take your time on the platform.” The other said, “Don’t take it the wrong way, but you were hilarious in the air with the movements of your arms and legs. You looked like a swimming dog and your scream was amazing.” I did not respond as I was still recovering from the adrenaline overdose and trying to piece together everything that happened in the last couple of minutes.
This jump did not make me stronger, braver, better or whatever. I could not find any answers to the complicated questions of this life because of this jump. All I know is, I just did something really stupid, it felt nice and I hope will do something like this again, soon.