Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A Dream to Fly…. By Ms. Mariyam Bootwala.

As a child all my summer vacations were spent at my Grandparent’s house. It was in a small village located around 10kms away from Lonavala. The house was at the base of a hill. A major part of my day was spent on top of this hill. This hill was my home and my friend. My favorite past time was to lie down and watch the clouds floating by. An occasional sighting of an Airplane would make me and my cousins’ wave vigorously, hoping that the pilot would notice us.

One fine day when I was just lying there imagining that the clouds were shaped in forms of different animals today, I happened to see an oddly shaped bird at a distance. Or was it? It flew for some time near the distant mountain and then it went down and disappeared. I was curious but as a 10yr old I didn’t really know how to find out what it was (we didn’t have Google or a Computer). A few days later I saw many such things flying around that mountain. They weren’t birds, I was sure. My cousin and I decided to investigate. After spending hours in questioning our uncles and older cousins we found out that those were gliders and it was a sport called Paragliding.

The thought of Flying off the mountain and seeing the world like how a bird sees it made me feel excited. After that I would spend hours watching these colourful gliders fly. I had made up my mind to fly in one of those as soon as I could.

It took me twenty years to finally fulfill my dream. The day I was going to fly made me feel like my 10 years old self. I left Mumbai early in the morning. The entire car ride was spent in anticipation and I reached the base camp well before time. They say that if you want something, you need to earn it. Well, that’s true in this case — before you can launch from the mountain top, you need to climb up the mountain first… and FAST, because you need to catch the wind conditions while it’s favourable for flying!

Mid-way through the trek, I was already huffing and panting. “It’s going to be worth it” I told myself. While trekking, I could see paragliders launching off from the mountain top. That really got me excited (and nervous at the same time), as it hit me that I was going to be flying in a few minutes!!!

After reaching the top I had to wait for a few hours. The winds were strong and I was underweight!! It was annoying to wait (I had waited for 20 years already), but it was for my own safety. Finally, a kind tandem pilot took pity and was ready to risk flying with me. I was told that if after take-off the pilot feels its risky to keep flying, he will make an emergency landing. I was ready to take that chance!!

In the next few minutes, I was up in the air. Throughout the flight, I was feeling pure joy and ecstasy. It was incredible looking down from my seat, seeing myself float above Earth(with the pilot behind me), suspended by nothing but a canopy and a harness.

At the same time everyone below was going about their own routine, without a care in the world, without even knowing that I was up there flying and having the time of my life.

Being up in the air, flying in the glider, made me feel tiny. It made the world feel tiny, given that everything (and everyone) was just beneath my feet. The Hill where I saw this dream was also just a speck. It also made my problems, concerns, and thoughts seem tiny. Up there in the sky, nothing matters. All you experience is purity and serenity.

By way of my paragliding flight, I got to tick off an item off my bucket list, which is “to fly” 😀 (and I don’t mean flying by plane).

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