It was quite a ride to the place “Native Place”, Uksan near Pune where I stayed throughout the course. I had booked a bus to Pune on 26th night, thought I would get down at Pune and then see about the rest of the ride later. As the bus was about to reach Pune, I came to the bus cabin to enjoy the view, It was 4 AM, I had hardly slept. I discussed with the bus driver about the place I wanted to go, he thought it was better if I got down at a petrol bunk near Kamshet on Pune-Mumbai expressway which was after Pune. Hence I got a chance to go on the Pune-Mumbai expressway and he showed me Subroto Roy stadium. The ride in the highway tunnels in the night was nice which my brother will be jealous of. After waiting for two hours at the petrol bunk a teenager offered me to drop on a Splendor at Native Place for Rs250. I wanted to enjoy this ride too; hence I sat on the driving seat wearing a single glove in the ice chill weather. It was a different experience wherein Sun was trying to put some warmness over me but cold won the battle.
Day 1 started with familiarizing with the place and people. I met the co-founder Sanjay Rao there and introduced myself as the person who almost made him rich by Rs 1lakh. There is a history to it; I had added an extra zero while transferring the course fee. It was nice of him that he reversed the amount with humor. It was a very stupid mistake of mine. Anyways, coming back to the place, it was beautiful where lake met the hills and the hills met the skies, amazing place to relax. I just hung with the people as I always did during such trips. We left for the first days exercise after lunch which was Ground Handling, learning the basics of a glider, harness, braking, etc. The place was near an abandoned ashram construction. There were numerous skeletal buildings; someone said that it looked like a shooting spot for a Sci-Fi movie. This day we just had to pull the glider up, run for around 80 meters and move according to the direction of glider to maintain the equilibrium. Paragliding is done against the wind, hence maintaining the glider in the wind and running squeezed out energy from each cell in my body. It was very very tiring; I would take a break of 10 mins after each run. I had my mind occupied with something else too which made the day even worse. We got back to Native place by 7 in the evening. After every session there would be a theory class. We had to enter the log, glider details, wind speed and mistakes we made during the day. Those who want to seriously learn Paragliding, then I think this is a good place in India. Fly Nirvana gave us good exposure both practically and theoretically and the instructors are so damn helpful and friendly. I preferred solitude for the rest of the day and wanted to sleep as I hadn’t slept nicely the previous night due to the journey.
Most of us were looking forward for day 2 as day 1 was tiring and no flying had been done yet. We left early in the morning to a place called Shinde Hill and had breakfast at the foot of the hill. It was a beautiful place where Sun was rising in the east and the moon setting in the west and the mist just hung around to sooth our eyes. During this session we had to climb up some part of the hill and have small flight called Bunny Hops. We would fly for around 30 seconds, 10-15 feet above the ground. This was to perfect our launching and landing actions. It was the second flight which I really enjoyed and I said few words in my mind which I actually cannot say henceforth. It was an amazing experience in the air. I had travelled in a totally different mode of transport after 23 years. I completed 6 small flights this day with minute problems while landing. En route Native place I had a nice chat with people in the bus. It was interesting to hear about the love marriage of the only couple in our batch, I learnt that Andaman is the nearest best Scuba diving place which took Scuba diving to move in the top place in my adventure list. We reached Native place for lunch, during which a person there appreciated me for the fact that I had come alone without a group for the course. And again, I was the youngest in our batch. Native place was more like a house than a hotel, where people had food at any place they liked, where people from different ethnicity came together for a chat. I love adventure and the experience surrounding it, getting to know more people, brainstorming about numerous things, etc. There was one funny instance where people had to share their experience in their native language which most of others wouldn’t understand. My favorite one was from a Marathi guy who quoted the place as “Nisarga Ramya” meaning beautiful nature place. I and some of my new friends just took a walk near the lake after lunch, it was sunny. Actually I realized the importance on sun glasses only during this trip; it saved me when we were on the hills in the bright sun. A guy was fishing and I got a chance to cast there. The dinner was served on terrace on both the nights. This night was quite relaxing; I just sat facing the calm lake reminiscing recent events in my life. We played Dumb charades before sleeping wherein I came to know few old Hindi movie names.
It was a big day we were waiting for. We had to glide from the top of the hill which was at 150 feet. We had to carry our things all the way to top of the hill, it was exhausting. I took the first flight in our batch, completed it successfully. Fly Nirvana had made the course look so easy for me; I didn’t feel the fear of falling or any accidents. Listening to the instructions via radio from the instructor, I completed the flight smoothly and landed safe. It was like a winning moment, as if I had achieved something in my life. I had a total of three flights on Day 3, after each flight people there would be ready to carry our stuff to top of the mountain for some money, I obviously had to opt for it, as I found it difficult to carry my backpack itself let alone the glider. We had to stop early as the wind got stronger. Third flight was more adventurous due to the extra wind which threw me out of balance. I don’t know whether it was due to the safe training conducted by Fly Nirvana or my mind was occupied, there was no fear which resulted in less thrill and excitement. But there was a sense of feeling of achievement after the flight.
Thus, it was a safe, fun and adventurous three days. This trip was a package of many things, I made some new friends, trekked mountain for quite a number of times, enjoyed what nature had to offer me, etc. I really thank Fly Nirvana and my new friends for sending me back with such rich experience.
I have combined some video clips of third day. Best viewed in 480p and above.
A bit hatke video : http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/er1