A bunch of similar people from different parts of India ( including Me ) moved to California, USA on employment two months ago. We had to spend some hard time on settling the basic things such as adjusting to new office environment, finding the shelter with a decent price in this Hot real estate market, adjusting to new culture, rules of USA and so on. It was tiring 8 weeks but at the same time has been a learning curve for all of us. Now that things are looking fine after 8 weeks, We decided to make this long weekend (on account of Good Friday ) count by taking a long drive to Tahoe City-famous for a lake by its name and Snow fall.
With all set, Pritam and Sameer wanted to include Sky-Diving in this plan. Hmmm… What!! Are you Crazy?? was the first reaction from many of us. But it was their dreams. We questioned ourselves, whether we wanted to join them for this crazy adventure. While the answers were Yes and No, I just chose to delay the decision until that particular moment than thinking of it from now whether to do or not. Its the good lesson which I learnt in the recent past.
So we are all set for the drive where we started at 6:30 AM and reached Lodi – Sky Diving in about couple of hours. Finally the time to make our decisions. Pritam and Sameer stick to their plan. I was blank until I heard Raghavendra is doing it. It was a shock! I was under assumption that he being the father of a kid, would not do this Stupid Crazy thing. Alwin was in the same state until his wife, Sangeetha, got ready which is another surprise to me. So with those two guys decision, it inspired us to do this what you might call a stupid act. Finally, All seven of us which includes Vishal was ready for this crazy act.
Follow your heart – I have neither seen any video nor have listen to the experiences, esp. the bad ones, of Sky-Diving. After seeing the environment over there I wanted to experience the thrill, So I decided to go ahead. Hmmm.. Do I sound crazy?? Hun??
The Interesting Part.
What I observed in U.S.A regarding Sales and Marketing, in my short stay, is that they sell the product first and then enable the customer an option of Return Policy which allows him to return back without asking any questions. Well it has its advantages. In this case, it wasn’t. We paid $100 + $75 (for jump + dvd & Photos ) and then they made us to watch 15-min video. In summary, this video contained an old man sporting a long beard, who makes a statement –
NOTHING IS PERECT or GUARANTEED-the Aircraft, the Trainer, the Parachute, whichever thing is involved. There is no prize to guess what the outcome might be, if any one of the thing failed in next few minutes. You would get a refund until the time you wear the suit, but no one was ready to return assuming that, it will be a step back which would lead to a sort of feeling, where everything goes fine and then you are the only person who missed out to experience the thrill. Well.. that is what happens when you are in a group and I bet we would have not done it by going there individually.
In U.S.A everyone is aware that the Law is very strict and anyone can sue anybody if they can prove it. The old man ends up saying the agency is not responsible for any kind of disastrous or even a minor injury and we have to sign a legal document agreeing for the same. Add to that, there is no insurance coverage as this does not cover under accident.
Get ready for the moment
Once we signed the papers, we all geared up with suits except me. The instructors took a video while interviewing each one of them asking Why would we need to Sky-Diving?? Hmm.. Its because, We have gone crazy 🙂 Isn’t it?. The plane we boarded looked like its on its way to graveyard, but none of us gave attention(?) to that as we were pretty excited, Really?? :). While we were smiling looking at each other faces, I just realized that the plane already reached certain height within no time.. That is the first time I saw the ground from that height. The previous one which I took to reach USA was my first ever experience in the flight, but I was unlucky to not get the window seat & hence I could not see the ground.
This is the moment..
Each person was accommodated with the instructor & videographer. As the Altimeter clocked 13000ft, the instructors got ready and within no time Alwin, and other guys were out flying in the air. I was the penultimate one to go and once I reached close to the door, I got a full view of the ground with naked eyes and my heart-beat stopped for a moment. By the time I said NO… I was out flying in the air!!. I did start to panic with the wind blowing toward my face and started to take as much as air through my mouth. However, I did manage to give a thumbs up to my videographer in front of me.
For a couple of moments, there was a fear with all sorts of negative thoughts coming up, But I remembered the words of CEO in my past company, where he was giving an example of Falling off from a mountain without a parachute and how one should try to find his way back to the top of the clip. He was actually comparing a similar situation in life.
Well!! I never thought It would be real, of course I had the Parachute, but then you never know how things turn around. That is when I decided, the best thing is to enjoy the moment as this would come once in a lifetime (it needs a lots of guts to do it for next time ) without worrying about what would happen in future.
We did a turnaround during the free flow before the parachute was raised. It became easier then, where we had control against the wind force. I was also in a position to see down. By this time the fear of height had literally gone and I started enjoying the view of the ground from the top. It looked like a beautiful painting with the green square farm fields taking much of the space & vehicles and people moving around were so tiny. The instructor started doing some stunts by tilting and rotating the parachute, which was both scary and at the same time thrilling.
Be Positive! Enjoy this moment – By Enjoy means “It is to do what you like the most!”.
One thing I would like to say here is, There will be many decisions we make, and there is no such thing called as a bad or a good decision. It depends on what it turns out to be when it is executed. If things had gone wrong here, it would have been different scenario. So, Follow what your heart says and Be Positive.
More Pictures here
DISCLAIMER: I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO DO THIS TASK