I have for the longest time considered myself as a fairly adventurous individual with a healthy zest for life. I am grateful that some of the items in my bucket list were achieved and then some, on another list titled “Surreal “, thanks to serendipity.

– Driving an armoured tank.
– Sitting next to a mahout escorting an elephant in the same aircraft on my first international flight.
– Discussing haiku with an elderly Samurai Japanese client who wished to be cremated at Benares.

The Marshmallow experiment

As fun as it was, the above and below-mentioned experiences created a rich source of references and I learnt some important life lessons.

The Push – My first bungee jump was at Phuket, Bangkok. My heart started pounding As the carriage started moving upward, the carriage stalled for a bit midway and I thought that this height was not bad as a jumping point. My friends who were safely on the ground “reassured “me heartily that I was only halfway up. As I reached the top and was strapped in, I hobbled over to the edge and saw the green water of the lake 50 meters below and my heart froze., I took several deep breaths and tried to rationalize the fear but to no avail. I looked at the instructor and confided whilst I was ok about the height, I could not take the leap, would he mind pushing me over. He said “no problem”, setting my camera down; he gently pushed me over screaming and flailing.

Lesson: When due diligence has been done, if fear is still around, enlist a friend who will “push you”.

It’s all YOU – The second Bungee was off the Macau Tower in the night – 233 meters the highest Bungy in the world and the same thing happened, I froze, the countdown started and ended and yours truly was still on the perch. So, I asked my Aussie instructor for “the push”, he very politely declined saying “it was bad karma “, I had to do this on my own and I did!! A very proud moment.

Lesson – The ultimate leap is yours to make, once you do!!! Breaking barriers within you is the best fun you can have.

Attitude over Skill

The first question in the final theory exam – What is more important to a paraglider? Skill or Attitude? I answered Skill and the instructor promptly corrected me, Attitude was far more important and primary. Respect for nature, Composure, following rules were essential prerequisites for a paraglider and these were directly dependent on Attitude.

Lesson – When it comes to matters of Life, Your attitude matters!

Buddy Check

You never dive alone, never!! you have a dive buddy with you always. Watching over somebody, regularly checking his/her submersible pressure gauge, doing a pre-dive check, there is a lot of responsibility built-in as you are responsible for someone else’s life and when you have someone that you can rely on, it’s absolutely reassuring.

Lesson – Have a buddy who has your best interests at heart, reach out for help, and don’t hesitate. Be that buddy for someone else as well.

My co skydiver was a strapping young 75 year old from Sydney, enough said! And this skydive was a birthday gift from his wife to him.

Lesson – You are never too old! Period.

Ask and you shall receive – Have a curious mind and ask a lot of questions especially ones like “Can I drive that awesome tank?”