I Went Parasailing And I Survived To Tell The Tale!
The travel bug didn’t bite me till much later in life. My sister spent about 15 years in the US — Chicago and New York — and not once did I visit her. I think, at the back of my mind, travel was far too expensive for me, so I just stopped thinking about it.
Until a few years ago, when I actually did start travelling internationally. I tell you, those stamps on your passport are works of art.
My first (and so far, only) trip this year has been to the UAE to visit the husband. We decided to live a little, so booked a weekend at a luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah, the Hilton Resort & Spa. SEVEN swimming pools, a white sand beach, and an azure blue sky awaited us.
The morning after we checked in, I spotted a sign offering an array of adventure sports. Now let me tell you right off the bat that I’m the least adventurous person you will meet. I’m not into hiking, water sports, or anything that gets my adrenaline going, really.
But, off late, this has changed. After a difficult 2016, I decided to push the envelope and do things outside of my comfort zone. What if I didn’t make it to tomorrow? I didn’t want to live (or die) with any regrets.
So, when I spotted this sign, I knew I had to try it. And who better to do it with than the man who promised to stay by my side for better or worse (I’m guessing this was the worse, the sickness, all of it combined)?
When I suggested we try the most adventurous of the sports, parasailing, the husband looked at me like he had seen a ghost. Firstly, I was suggesting something so out there, and secondly, he was as petrified as I was — I was just better at hiding it.
As we sat by the beach, drink in hand, wind in our hair, we saw a young girl go parasailing above the shiny blue waters of the Arabian Sea — the problem was that she was a little too high above for my liking.
Of course, it was at this inopportune moment that the husband decided to enlighten me with a frightening story — about how a girl he knew became paralysed after a botched parasailing incident in Goa. Great, I thought, I guess I’m going back to being a fattu.
But suddenly, the husband was having none of it. I don’t know where he suddenly found a burst of courage, but he grabbed my hand and took me marching through the burning hot sand to the adventure sports registration arena.
After signing a form that basically said that if we died, they could not be held responsible, and we parted with approximately Rs 13,000 to put our lives into the hands of complete strangers, we were ushered onto a small boat.
Here, we were strapped on with life jackets (please note that I was dressed in a bikini, a flimsy top, and a sarong), and then taken onto a bigger speed boat, from which we would be taking off. Yes, taking off is right, given we would soon be suspended 100 feet above sea level, mid air.
The boat was a party boat, with pop music blaring from its speakers, evidently to pump us up. I could literally hear my heart pounding against my chest, even above the loud music.
We were then asked to step into a rope-like harness and, once the 2 boys on the boat (one of whom turned out to be Goan and started rambling in Konkani with the husband) opened up the parachute, we were attached to it with two suspect-looking clips.
My only question was “HOW WERE WE TO SUSTAIN ON JUST THESE?” The boys laughed and told me politely to calm the fuck down.
One minute we were sitting on the edge of the boat, and the next, the boat was moving further and further away, and we were going higher and higher. Higher until we could see the entire resort below us on one side and the vast sea on the other.
The boys decided to play around a bit, and drove the boat around in circles and in a zig-zag, us moving helplessly along with them, even as our screams got lost mid-air.
Once up there, it was silent; all we could hear was the vastness of the sea below us and the wind whipping us in the face. It was like sitting in an airplane, just without the actual airplane. It was surreal.
After about 15 minutes (longest of my life), the descent began until our feet were dipped in the water, skidding on it like a surfboard of feet, and finally we were back on the boat.
I don’t think I can really say anything that will aptly describe the exhilaration we felt that day. In short, it was terrifying and liberating at the same time. The silence of the world when you’re up there is unreal. Maybe the video below will do more justice to the experience than I can.
Would I recommend parasailing, at least once in your life? Yes! Would I do it again? Hell yes! Trust me, this is one experience you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Plus, how cool does it sound to say, “Hey, I went parasailing”?