Free fall.
The ecstasy of free fall.

On a wonderful day of 15th June, after a lovely night of camping in Hickory Run State Park (PA)…

Our camping site, Hickory Run State Park, PA
…I jumped off a perfectly good plane from a height of 10,000 feet. And flared a parachute 6000 feet later. Like I was already not livin’ on the edge doing my doctoral studies.

Hazleton, PA. Above the Poconos skydivers. Taking along 13 other people, it was an exhilarating experience for everyone. Falling at speeds of over 120 mph (close to 200 kmph) makes your ears go deaf. Really deaf.

Words cannot describe it. You have to be there. Trust me.

It started with a basic training exercise as to what do do when we are airborne. After a slew of papers to sign and places to write our initials, the legal stuff (which basically relieves them of liabilities in case of accidents). Next thing, we are being sorted into flight numbers. Gaurav went first, and quite the ride of his life, making complete flips at 10,000 feet. Beautiful landing. He then talks of possibly undone zippers at 10,000 feet. Saumya has some real nice tips for skydiving, that involve flying kisses and flying boeings. Soon, lots of people were flying up and falling down 25 minutes later… all happy and smiling and extremely excited. Some said they were doing it again. Some said, never again. By the time it was my turn, I had no clue how it is going to be.

The plane was crammed with 7 of us, one of who was the pilot (and the owner of the place). Who needs a comfortable plane anyway? Why the other six? Two of us, me and my friend. Two tandem jumpers, guys “harnessed” onto our backs. Two photographers, who jumped with us.

After 30 seconds of deafening falling and flipping stomachs, there was a sudden jerk and absolute silence. The parachute opened. The contrast in sound was astounding. Five minutes of peaceful sailing in the serene quietness watching over the Poconos mountains.

A day before my jump-off, I informed my sister-in-law. (And thereby my brother). After the jump, I told my parents. Guess what my dad’s fist question was…
“Was it cold up there?”
“That’s the last of my worries up there, Dad!”

The Free Fall. Soundtrack: Bruce Springsteen – Long Walk Home

Was I terrified? Yes. When you are at 10,000 feet, and the door of the plane opens the same deafening sound with a spectacular view of the earth below. That’s terrifying. My smile vanished for a second. Then it was back.
Free fall.
The ecstasy of free fall.

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Filed under Activities, Grad life


2 Responses to “Jump!”
  1. Saumya says:

    Love the way you describe the transition from free fall to peaceful sailing!

  2. Kokonad says:

    Thank you! 🙂

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