My friends are more adventurous than I am. A lot of them are into adventure sports and experience that adrenaline rush that my body refuses to feel at just the sound of these sports. I always hear adventure sports enthusiasts talking about that one moment; when you feel peace and at the same time feel your heart pounding restlessly and this poetic encapsulation of their emotion has always fascinated me. Zindagi Milegi Naa Dobara is one of my favourite films in recent years. The one thing that I took from the film was the desire to try sky diving at least once in my life, which is going to be the hardest thing I ever do because I am acutely acrophobic. However, I have been interested in it ever since and have found a few very amusing facts. It is only because of these facts that I am now quite certain that one should definitely try it once, because if these guys could make it back on the earth alive and unharmed, then we definitely can.
I was looking at tandem sky diving which is a way to experience the sport with a professional sky diver attached to you when I came across a theory of how the concept of parachuting actually started. Prior to the 90 B.C , the then Chinese Emperor, Emperor Shun had done something that we probably have seen only in cartoons. While absconding from his father who was trying to kill him, he hid inside a granary tower, which his father set ablaze. To escape from the burning tower, he tied several conical shaped straw hats together and jumped out of the tower window. The hats acted as a parachute and he safely landed on the ground. Insane as it sounds, this story is a cent percent authentic and can be verified in the ancient Chinese texts.
Another bizarre theory I heard was of an Arab who stole one leg of a golden lacquered table and to escape the doom that awaited him, he climbed to the top of a mosque’s minaret and jumped from there with two open umbrellas with no handles. He landed safely on the ground without a single crash.
After Joseph Montgolfier in the 18th century jumped out of a hot air balloon to test his parachute device, it gave a whole new meaning to parachuting. With increasing hot air balloon accidents, parachutes were seen as a life saviour.
Of course, today it is seen as one of the most liberating adventure sports. But it required a lot of daredevils like Grant Morton who in 1911 jumped from a Wright model B plane using a silk parachute. Hats off to them, because without these experimental and fearless and frankly really amusing people; man would have never known the joy of flying in the true and literal sense.