I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Water Happy (Part 2): Cliff

I have vertigo. I realised it while standing at the cross on top of Park Guell in Barcelona (by the way, this also tells you that I have been to Barcelona). While I was standing there in perfectly clear sunshine, looking out towards Sagrada Familia, when I wanted to jump. Make my way past the picnics and the conducted tours milling around the base of the cross and jump.

Since then, I have experienced this on top of the library in B-school, Orchha, bridges across Germany, India and Spain, in my office (22nd floor as I call it), office buildings in Delhi, friend's flat on Carmichael Road, Jaigarh fort and most recently, the 25-feet cliff at Rishikesh.

The situation was that we had rafted for about four-five hours since morning. I was looking for a new adventure, which came in the form of this cliff. It was all very simple. Go to the top of the cliff (there was a ration-shop line already in place when I reached), take baby steps forward, get half your feet out in the air and jump.

The complication was that I saw this bloody face in the raft on my way up the cliff. This poor boy had busted his nose after hitting the water. By the time, I had reached the moment of truth, two other men had dropped out. My usual calm self was anyway fighting a historic battle against vertigo. I started taking baby steps.
"Don't push me, okay."
I murmured to the encourager-pusher sitting on the side.
"No, no, don't worry."
"Also, I am not looking down... So, tell me when my feet are okay.'
"Also, should I keep my feet straight or should there be a small bend?"
I was calculating the angle at which there is no chance of doing a Louganis.
"Okay, are my feet over the ground?"

Now, you may think that I was the only one talking. When I think back, I do remember others giving me answers and encouragement. However, I couldn't hear anything. I was in torment. Far away, many people were shouting. It came as a soft moan. I closed my eyes.

Then suddenly realisation dawned. I should jump.

Seconds later, I hit water. My helmet flew out at impact. I felt fine.


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