Skydive at EmpuriaBrava

It was year 2010, when I first heard about something called as skydiving. There were colleagues in my organisation who were in Canada for onshore assignments and they skydived there. I just heard the experience and do not know why but this story made home in my heart. Next year 2011, the epic Bollywood movie released “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and it changed the perception of Indian audiences forever. I decided that whenever I will go abroad, I will experience what seemed like out of world feeling.

There were couple of times between 2012 – 2019 when I went outside India but for some or other reasons, kept on postponing this dream. There came 2019 when an old friend suggested to visit Europe and one of the cities in our itinerary was Barcelona, Spain. In the movie, star cast dived at Seville, Spain so I quickly searched how far was it from Barcelona. I felt this was the opportunity to capture my dream and make it mine forever. Seville was 900 KMs. Driving/Flying back to Seville did not seem like fitting in the budget. I quickly checked for skydive sites near Barcelona and first result I got was for Skydive Empuriabrava – Land of Sky. I had never heard of this place and did not have any contacts to get an opinion so relied on TripAdvisor for reviews across the globe. From there I came to know that it is in top 5 skydiving sites in the world.

my tandem skydive video

We planned to have 4 nights stay in Barcelona. First 3 days were for city sightseeing, 4th day I kept for my dream. I asked my friends and they were a bit scared to do this hence I decided to do it alone. I booked my slot from India and the date was set as 23-Dec-2019. Woah – I couldn’t wait any longer after making the online booking. We reached Barcelona and the day came, I could not sleep the previous night, that was the height of excitement within me. Lying in the bed, I was looking through the curtains for the dawn. Anyways as it was winter time, sun was supposed to knock the door at 8 AM ๐Ÿ™‚

After having breakfast at the hotel and failing to reach the skydive site on call to check if weather was fine, I started from the hotel. It was after 7 years that I was travelling alone in a foreign land. This was the time I was getting goosebumps although I had been walking on those roads for past 3 days. Only difference now was that my friends were there with me then. I did not have voice call activated on my phone. While I was in the train, my friend messaged to inform that skydive site was operating that day as per schedule. THANK YOU FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE. 152 KMs away from my hotel, my route was going to be Arc De Triomf (Renfe) –> Barcelona Sants (Renfe) –> Figueres –> Figueres Vilalfante –> Skydive Empuribrava

Barcelona was bit cold and rainy that morning, on the other hand Empuriabrava region was warm and sunny. My slot was at 1PM, I reached the venue half an hour before that. Went to the reception and was asked to wait for my turn. In front of me was the runway for a small jet. I looked at the sky and saw lot of divers and their colourful parachutes. From the ground, it seemed like there was a flower bed in the sky. It was an hour’s long wait after which I was told to proceed for diving instructions. I felt my heart beats and yes, it was the time.

I met my instructor, he was a very warm person. Quickly gave me few instructions on body postures which I had to keep during the tandem ride. There was another guy who was going to be my cameraman and we were all set to move to the jet. As I moved towards the jet, my smile was growing wider….. I was about to jump from an altitude of 13,000 ft ๐Ÿ™‚ Interesting part was in the jet, only I was going for the tandem ride, rest other 8-10 were doing solo dive. Time was passing so quickly, the jet started running and in less than 30 seconds it was off the ground. OMG, it was about to happen. I should be nervous but I wasn’t feeling anything but EXCITEMENT. My instructor was constantly showing me the altitude of the jet. In less than 2 minutes, the other solo divers started jumping off the plane. The instructor tied me completely with himself, checked the harness and began sliding towards the jet door. I first looked at the ground through a clear sky and with the jet door open. I wasn’t thinking anything.

And there we jumped. Shit!!! We were having free fall at speed of 200Km/h and yes, this was a scary moment. Wind all on my face, I could feel every muscle on my face moving. Then a thought came to me, I cannot go back on the plane so I should look around and enjoy this moment. After 5 sec of freefall, my instructor opened the parachute and their came the halt. I now knew what it felt like to be a bird. ๐Ÿ™‚ Clear blue sky above me, beautiful landscape around AND THE SEA – IT WAS WOWWWW.

I was hanging in the sky with my instructor and it was like he was giving me a guided tour in there. On my right was France, right down was Empuriabrava region, on my left was Costa Brava region where the shoot for scuba dive sequence in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara movie was done. We two were actually chit chatting in the sky.

During the free fall
After parachute opened
Left – CostaBrava
Right – France
Down – EmpuriaBrava
Front – Mediterrean Sea

And now we began descending, the beautiful coloured parachutes which looked like flowers from the ground, now I was one of them. The houses and buildings began looking bigger and there we touched the ground. Happiness was all over. I could not believe, I wanted to do it for 10 years, I could not sleep the previous night and it’s over now. Those last 5 minutes were like a second which came in as quickly as they went by.

Thanks to the entire staff at Skydive Empuribrava. You were so cordial yet so competat and professional. All those happy faces of solo divers in the plane, myself hanging in the sky – a month after this I can still soak that feeling. Waiting to come back and do it again, this time a may be SOLO DIVE.

I did not tell about dive to my family until I had the video. I shared with them and waited for their response. I was thrilled when my mother said “tumhe plane se koodte dekhkar bahut maza aaya“. LOVE YOU GUYS, my friends who came on this trip with me and so many others. Because of you, I AM LIVING LIFE.

Trip to Northeast India: Why it was needed?

It was monsoon of 2010, I had just moved to Pune. Life was awesome. One afternoon when it was drizzling outside, looking at the water pouring down the glass of the office building, conversation began with a teammate over our list of places to visit and things we want to do across the globe. Out of nowhere both of us stuck at the idea of exploring North-East India. We were fascinated by the thought of exploring the most unheard corner of the country.

Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur; 8 states off which I always had the difficulty remembering the capital cities in geography when I was in school.

The first picture that I had of this region was from this iconic video

No one in my circle had ever been there so I had the luxury of putting imagination into work and paint my picture. Most of the potions in this picture were in different shades of green and blue as all I knew was that this corner is lush green with mountainous terrain.

Time flew away, I never really tried to turn my picture into reality but still I had this inner desire to visit this unknown territory. In Mar-2013 my childhood buddy posted photographs on Facebook of her trip to Meghalaya. Whoa!! I was immensely happy to see those pics not only because the destination was in my To Do list but also as it was covered by my one of the all time favourite person.ย It was summer of 2015, I was well paid at my corporate job in IT sector. Something had been bothering me in office for quite some time now and one fine day I decided toย quit and raise resignation request in the system. Although at that moment I did not have an offer from any other organisation but I felt light inside. As if a burden has lifted off my head. I told my supervisor and he immediately backed me for my decision to move on. Till date I’m thankful to him for not trying to stop me by giving reasons which he himself did not believe in.

Sometimes we need fantasy to survive the reality

A part of me desperately wanted to go on a long holiday, far away from digital world. I spoke to my buddies and told them that after I’m done with the notice period, I want to take a break and travel somewhere far. One of them who was this teammate of mine with whom I discussed the prospect of travelling to North-East 5 years ago immediately agreed to come along. As the notice period was due to end in July 2015, we decided to go for the trip in first week of August. India is a vast country, personally I believe that even if you take a break of 1 week every year and visit 1 state in that period, still it’s not possible to cover it fully. We narrowed down to the idea that in 1 week’s time we’ll try to cover any 1 state in north-east. I was super excited just at the thought of going on this expedition. I left the entire planning on the shoulders of this long time friend.

Couple of days later, we realized that destination had to be changed. Why?? Since our trip was due in August which is season for monsoon and north-east corner receives some of the heaviest rainfall in the country. Also due to mountainous terrain, it’s prone to landslides during that time. So there was a possibility that on our way to sightseeing, we might get trapped due to weather conditions.

So our destination changed to Rajasthan. A blog on that trip is definitely DUE ๐Ÿ™‚ And the wait continues…

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