I was staring down a path which looked impossible to step into. Large dark boulders gleamed beneath the rushing waters. Standing on a 3-inch ledge, I was half a step away…This was the edge of my world.
One step would change my life forever or end it NOW.
and then I stepped back.
We were just driving back to Hyderabad from my home city, Vijayawada.
We crossed a canal. It looked nice, brimming with water, but I was in a hurry. Another one came up shortly and I crossed that too. Only, my friend wanted a closer look.
I turned back….
The first touch
Just like most water bodies with bridges in India, this canal also had steps leading to water on both sides of the banks.
The water looked irresistible and we climbed down to dip our hands and feet. Water looked fresh and cool to our touch.
Anytime I get a feel of beautiful water, I get an uncontrollable urge to swim around.
But there was a strong current.
I never swam in large water bodies and the strong current brought back memories of news articles of drowning young men.
Kids embarrass me
There were many locals around, bathing and swimming. A few kids were using our section of steps.
They looked perfectly at home swimming around the banks. A few started getting on the bridge pillars, climbing over the bridge.
Wow! were they going to jump?
and then they leaped into the water, and dogpaddlead to the shore. I was standing there with an open mouth.
The kids were living one of my dreams. I always wanted to try this and never had the courage.
(A quick background: Very few Indians learn to swim. I was part of a very small, exclusive minority in my country)
You always hear the words “Seize the day” or “Seize the moment” . This was a good time to do that and JUMP!
“It looked scary, but the kids could do it.”
“The current! It looked too strong, what if I get swept away.”
“It was now or never.”
The kids were all smiles and egged me on. For the 100th time I asked them if it was easy, YES YES YES was all I heard then.
I ran back to the car and practically leaped into my boxers.
I moved to the railing of the bridge. The water looked a long way off. The kids were all round me, supporting me.
Then I went over the railing and stood on the 3-inch ledge of the supporting pillar, never letting go of the railing.
Oh Man! Water appeared 50 feet away.
The current was very swift and I could see dark boulders below the water. I kept asking for assurances from the kids. They were very patient with me.
“Anna (elder brother), Jump to your left not to your right. It’s deeper”
I was frozen. This was the scariest thing I had ever done. One kid jumped from top of the railing to show me it was alright.
Suddenly my mind started making up all kinds of logical excuses, a cover-up for my fear. I wanted to test out the water with a quick swim.
I climbed back. chickened out
I went back to the steps, dived in for a quick swim. The water was cool and as expected there was a very strong current.
The cool water renewed my courage and I hurried back to my edge.
Leap of Faith
Once again, I was back at the world’s edge. My heart was going wild with excitement, fear, and what not.
I would have liked to say that my life flashed before me, but I just had one thing in my mind – the black “abyss” .
Damn! I couldn’t do it. I was frozen, stuck in this moment. Status – quo!
We came up with a countdown system
….. No Jump
A 100 things were going in my mind..
“c’mon you can do it”
“Jump for the blog post at least”
“Dammit! Dude, just move”
“JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!”
IT!..and I was off, letting go of the known world, flying through a dream, cutting through my fear.
In a second, I hit the water feet first, plunging through the depths. All sounds was cut-off. My mind blanked out, there was just one thought – I DID IT.
Even before I resurfaced, I knew this was over, I was going to swim to safety.
All of this happened in less than 2 minutes. I tried two more times. This was one my best adventures.
A video of my second jump