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The beginning of an obsession

My Rapelling adventure!

INDIA | Thursday, 14 July 2016 | Views [412]

RapellingI had always been excited about Rapelling, little did I think that I will be so nervous while taking my first step. After having trekked to various forts in Maharashtra throughout the year, I was eager to rapell now! There was a rapelling event in Bhivpuri near Lonavla in Mumbai which was organised by a trekking group and I enrolled. I had rapelled once 4 years ago in another town. I scratched my head, but I didnt have any memory about how  difficult it was and what the feeling was while doing it. I had just a picture to remember that I had experienced it! I remember the day in Lonavla very clearly.


By the rate at which it rains in Bombay, it was raining a lot. As me and my group of 15 reached the base village of Bhivpuri early in the morning, we could see the waterfall in the distance and we were pretty excited. We walked for about 2 kilometers to reach it. The trip leader gave us an orientation about the basic steps and helped us put the safety gear and harness. He told us everything except about the speed at which water is going to gush at us once we are actually doing it!


We were eager to be at the spot before anyone else reaches and crowds it, so we just made a start towards it. It took about 2 hours after all the 14 for my chance to arrive to be finally able to do it. Unexpectedly, I was the last one. I looked behind and there was a huge line of other trekkers who had come through another group to rapell at the 40 feet high, gushing and the mighty waterfall. It was definitely looking challenging from where we were standing. The instructor asked me to come to the very edge of the bank of rocks which was the beginning point of the fall. Being careful enough so as to not slip, I was stepping carefully over the huge  potholes in the rocks. I couldnt mind my step enough and slipped and fell over one! The instructor and another trekker helped me up on my feet. I was embarassed but I quickly removed this incident from my mind!


He asked me to bend at my waist and take the 3 steps which will lead me to the full vertical side of the waterfall. The roar of the water falling was so loud that I could barely hear my instructor. He was asking me to take the first  step and bend as if I am sitting in the chair and start. He held one rope in his hand which he will release as I cover more and more distance. I had  confidence in the helmet I was wearing, in the harness which was protecting me but I didnt have confidence enough in myself and that I could finally let the horizontal ground go and make an entry for a new vertical ground for my feet to rest in for the next 20 mins. Fear gripped my mind and I stay put there just staring into the eyes of my instructor while all that he said was simply souding like my background music. The 3 steps which I had to take were all uneven, there was no flat surface. I took a look behind and it was a sheer drop, and I had to walk beside the waterfall at a distance of just 2 feet. I looked ahead, the instructor was still mumbling something and now his pitch was increasing. There was a line of 20 trekkers, ready with their harnesses, all looking intently at my face, some having an expression of empathy while waiting for their turn to be in my position. From their faces I realised that there must be fear written large on my face. By now I had cracked under the pressure of what I was supposed to do and I was telling the instructor that I dont want to proceed. He looked surprised and impatient and asked me for the final time whether I really want to quit. I took 2 seconds, I thought about the 3 hours of travelling I had done to come here, how exciting it looked when I was trekking her for half and hour and how I had always wanted to rapell and was waiting eagerly for the monsoon for the last 6 months. Moreover, if the other 14 of my group could do it, so can I!


I could hear the roar of the water in my brain challenging me to walk beside it. I snapped out of my reverie. The instructor was still waiting for my response and I said, yes, I want to do this activity! He smiled and told me to start. With a great amount of courage, I took the 3 steps as fast as possible and there I was, now completely vertical. I was excited that I was actually rapelling now. within 4 steps, I realised that there is an enormous amount of pressure on my stomach as the harness there was supporting my body weight. It was uncomfortable but I was rapelling anyways. I looked down and there was a long distance to still cover. All I could see and hear was the thunder of the water falling down at great speed. It looked like its going to take more 20 minutes to finish my vertical journey. The instructor above me on the ground had already turned his back to me and was talking to other participants. This was pretty disconcerting as I realised that I dont have his moral support now!


After about 10 minutes, my hands started hurting as I was releasing rope and holding it very tightly. So now there was a great deal of pressure on my stomach and hands and I was entering a point where water was going to lash my body, especially my face. The spread of the water falling suddenly increased at this point, it covered my route and there was no other way but to enter it in order to get out below it. I took a deep breath, said a small prayer and entered the watery cubicle. The speed of the water hit me and I was stunned. I panicked as I couldnt breathe properly once inside it! Water was going into my nose, I was feeling damn uncomfortable! I increased the speed of my feet and tried to come of this zone quickly. I did come out within 3-4 minutes. I was slighly shaken and was trying to remove water from my eyes with one hand. I kept my spirits up for more 10 minutes and continued my journey.


The waterfall looked enormous beside me and I could only admire its strength and force. After more 5 minutes, my body was tired and I didnt have much strength in my hands. I was trying to continue. I could hear faint voices of some people saying 'left, left!' to me. I looked below, carefully amidst the shower of water mist. I did as they told and moved to the left side as much as possible. They were shouting at me to release the rope I was holding onto and tired as I was, I did as they told. These instructors at the ground started pulling the rope in their hands and I was doing a mini zip-line and moving towards them. Thus, I saved the remaining 10 feet of rapelling distance which I had to cover and took a happy zip-line ride!


I was glad that I didnt have to rapell for anymore time. As I came towards the instructors, he held my shoulders, pulled the rope very tightly and helped me off the rope. He smiled and told me to calm down and relax as I realised that my hands and feet were shivering a lot. The assuredness of this instructor really calmed me down. I was extremely satisfied and I realised that as tough as it looked, I did really enjoy the entire activity and the diffculties it threw at me! I was completely drenched, cold and shivering but terribly excited and happy. As the instructors helped me off my harness, I looked up and smiled at the enormous waterfall having accepted and completed the challenge which it threw towards me.  It seemed to smile and roar at me in return!


Tags: hill, mumbai, rapelling, waterfall

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