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.
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 🙂
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 🙂 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. 🙂 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.
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.