Pune gliders have something new.
Its a bird! Its a plane! Its a super-uh-person!
That is assuming,of course,that one is able to look at the sky without being permanently blinded by this malevolent sun. 42 degrees,really? No wonder people are getting riled up by denial of access to the marginally cooler upper troposphere. With some crisp new red tape running around Kamshet and Saswad and keeping local paragliders from taking to the clouds this season,Pune is suddenly short on vertical escapes for the literally light-headed.
And since trekking to lofty forts and mountain tops to beat the heat would be counterproductive,one will just have to look around for other options. I know,I know; its offensive that we have to step outside our own pretty little ring of hills to act upon that volitant impulse. But one neednt go too far now,not since Skydive Aamby Valley introduced regular skydiving packages a few months ago.
The idea of skydiving in India inevitably raises some corners of mouths in mocking sneers,quelled only when experienced Caucasian faces appear in the Indian skydiving clubs promos. Aamby Valley has earned a tick mark on that box,not to mention the patronage of Farhan Akhtar of Zindagi Milegi Aasman Mein fame. Post the movie,this real MARD brought home his Spanish escapade to the not-so-high-flying Mumbai people starved of quality adventure sports I cant decide if I love him more for that or for the pro-women campaigns. Feel free,Puneites,to seize the opportunity. Anything Mumbai is given is rightfully ours too
The valley is closer to Pune,after all. How blessed are we to live amid these dunes of green and streaks of blue! The Western Ghats are arguably one of the most aerially appealing geographical features below Delhi. The invention of Google Earth gave the nerds among us (including yours truly) ineffable pleasure as we zoomed in and out of our favourite peaks and meadows. Frustrated with your broadband speed? Break that piggy bank and get ready for a real view.
For this to make us truly happy,wed also have to try and forget what real view means in other parts of the world,like Queenstown in New Zealand,where I momentarily stopped breathing at 10,000 feet not because of the thin air,but because of the sight below me. Jumping off a plane in our backyard may not be as devastatingly stunning but it has its own special charm; the priceless charm of tumbling through the same sky you walk under on an ordinary day,opening the parachute (thank god,It worked!),and knowingly gliding over the familiar high terrain you have covered on many an outdoorsy weekend.
No,Mulshi and Pavana are no Lake Wakatipu,but theyre definitely diver-worthy enough,and youll know what I mean if youve ever looked out from Tikona or Lohagad forts. (If not,do visit them before someone smacks you) We venturesome Puneites always had the appetite for thrill,now we have the means as well. Flying high is a state of mind but flying low is an experience to be grabbed with both hands.
The writer is a former national chess champion