Thursday, December 22, 2005

Flashback 2003: Bungee jumping in Nepal

"If you 'r watchin this, you should be here."

Those are my last words into the video camera before I take the jump over the Bhote Kosi river in Nepal. I step onto the wooden plank, 500m over the rushing river. I am on this wooden bridge which connects the two hillocks on either side, dark green. Below, the tributary of the Brahmaputra is surging ahead, white and clear. Rocks on the banks, light brown.

"Don't look down, look straight", he says.

I look straight.It’s about 4'o'clock in the evening and I see the sun straight ahead. It’s watching me jump, orange and very near. A few birds are making their rounds. Out of the corner of my eye, I can make out those who opted out of this, on the hill. They are shouting something. Suddenly it’s quiet, except the wind in my ear.I follow his instructions. I move my feet so that half of it is over the plank for the take-off. I lift my arms sideways till they are at shoulder level. Now I am afraid.

"1..2..3.." and I jump. Really jump.

I see later in the video, that I take off at a 45 degree angle, arms outstretched, legs together.Everything's a blur now. I can only hear the wind, pulling me back, screaming in my ear. Free falling. I experience pure exhilaration and terror for 5 seconds. Then the elastic rope weighs in, decelerating my fall and I know I will not die today.I am now laughing as I reach the nadir and as the rope pulls me back up, I am ready. I turn, look up, see my friends on the bridge waiting for their turn, and wave.The second fall, its not fast enough now, extend my arms straight down and now I am showing off when I come up. I make flying motions with my arms and shout and point at them when I come up for the last time.Now I see a man below on a wooden ledge holding a 10 ft long wooden stick which I catch hold of. I start making the long climb back up the hill a few minutes later.

It was a good jump.

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