Hold your horses. I am not referring to my occasional thoughts of doing this in the hopes of escaping this adult life. I actually jumped off a bridge as a ‘recreation’- well, let’s stick to it for the sake of the story.
You need to have a proper context in order to understand why this event was so monumental in my life. I am that timid girl in a group who hates physical activities (because I am severely and embarrassingly bad at it), reluctant to take risks, I overthink alot and am a general nutcase.
To top it off, I wasn’t exactly having the best year of my life, thanks to constant failures.
I was greeted with one, just when I started my trip in Nepal. My friends and I decided on doing a few extreme activities at a place called ‘Last Resort’ in Nepal. The activities included bungee jumping, canyon swing and the tandem swing. Well of course, my friends were going to participate and I wasn’t willing to sit around and watch. So, I took the safest option available (after a LOT of research, might I add) – The Tandem Swing. It’s where two people can jump off the bridge together. Therefore, naturally, I assumed that a support is all I need.
Tandem Swing, here I come.
‘The maximum combined weight has decreased to 120kgs for the tandem swing due to rise in water level.’
The words greeted me as me and my friend stood on the weighing machine at the Last Resort Office in Kathmandu. I couldn’t do much other than cursing myself for not going through with “get fit in a week” scheme, being too skeptical about its effects.
My friend was in luck, and had found a replacement real quick. I consoled myself by thinking, “It’s probably for the best, anyway. What if the ropes collapsed and I died?”- though it was hardly reassuring.
Last Resort: a 3-hour drive from Kathmandu.
The entrance to the resort and the reception office was separated by a long bridge – the activity bridge. A bridge so high, it swayed in the wind and the river beneath looked like the vein in my hand. But the waves gave away the power of the seemingly tiny river. Walking on the bridge itself seemed like a grave task. Right after arrival, it was time for the activities. We were divided into groups- The Daredevils and The Viewers basically.
One by one, my friends were in line for the bungee jumps and the swings. The height below wasn’t visible from the viewing platform-a good trick that enticed me later to be honest.
And there was the first fall. A second of deafening screams and then, nothing. Was he even alive? My view down was covered with annoying trees. Five minutes later, he was brought up. But he looked…different in every positive way. Fear was replaced by triumph and satisfaction in his face.
I wanted that. I needed that. After a year of being in the losing side of life, this was something that was within my control.
If I could push myself to do this, I’ll literally be able to do anything in my life if I put my mind to it. To me, this would be me, challenging my life. I can’t be THAT girl anymore. Thus, I took the most spontaneous, random and daring decision of my life for doing the Canyon Swing. All alone.
I laugh now as I remember it.
In a short while, I was there, on the bridge wearing all the necessary gears. The men-in-charge briefed me on the safety instructions and I was high on adrenaline and feared that I might end up forgetting everything. There was only a second of doubt but I managed to shove it away. It was then or never.
They handed me a rope that I had to hold on to as I jumped. And then I was on the platform. The platform, a tiny area, suddenly exposed me to the river below. The unforgiving sound of the water drummed in my years as the force of the wind on my rope became stronger with each passing second and threatened to sweep me off without warning. The man-in-charge, pushed my feet from behind asking me to go as close to the edge as possible.
‘I can’t. I am going to slip and fall!’
He reassured me that I won’t. How ironic. And there were my feet, half inside the safety of the platform, half out, 160m above the water. I started breathing really, really, I mean really hard and started regretting all of these.
But then I heard my friends cheering me on from the viewing platform. It felt nice to hear the cheers- a rare occurrence in my life. It was a small but much needed boost of encouragement. I closed my eyes as the man yelled ‘1-2-3-JUMP’. And so I, jumped.
My feet left the ‘ground’. It was a ‘sleep start’ in real life.
I screamed, got out of breath, took a breath and started screaming again. It was the quickest and the slowest moments of my life, all in one.
The pull of gravity never felt stronger and the wind was never so loud against my ears. As I opened my eyes for a split second during the fall, it was impossible to decipher the surroundings. It was like how I imagined teleportation or time travelling to be.
And then in the shortest possible time, the rope jerked to the end of its length. My feet, a few feet above the water (Hah see what I did there?). As I looked up at the bridge, it was now a mere line in the sky with no people in sight. It was me, swinging amidst the river and the hills. This is what victory feels like. Serene, calm and warm inside the heart.
The folly of Triumph
Why is it that special though? Thousands have jumped off the bridge. Do I need to write an overly detailed version of 1000 words to share my experience?
Yes. Because this time, I won against myself. A year after being depressed and hopeless, it was this exact moment when I grabbed my life by the horns and decided on turning it around. These 7 seconds of fall was all it took. I smiled and laughed by myself as no one watched and felt like I was worth a billion dollars.
Now in times of despair, which haven’t stopped coming by the way, I go through all these moment sequentially and pull through. Life has got nothing on me now.
And so here was the story of the biggest victory of my life – the time I jumped off a 160m bridge.