He who has overcome his fears will truly be free – Aristotle.
I’ll never forget my Trip to Rishikesh with Manil, Rohit and Shashank. We start early in my CRV from Noida for this Riverside Camp in Rishikesh, where Manil goes every year. In fact, it was mid-night we were mostly zipping through the darkness and by the time we could sense the dawn, we were on the mountain roads. After a few stopovers for chai and bio-breaks. We finally reached the destination, which was a teashop in the middle of nowhere on mountain roads. The camp guy was standing there to escort us till the main camp!!!
Frame by Frame
It was a steep downhill walk, then a wire bridge and then again remnant of footpath in the middle of jungle, we finally reached the ‘camp’ after 30 mins of walk and trek. Mix of rocky and sand beach, it was just a set of few Tents on river bank, which was fun mostly because of the super friendly staff and our ‘outdoor adventure expert’. I frankly had no idea about what is going to happen next. I can manage to swim, so river rafting was not sounding so scary. But what was about to happen next, changed my life forever.
Surprise or Shock
After a break we all got ready for the action and then I overheard the word, ‘Cliff Jump’. And I suddenly felt uneasy as I have issue with heights. But I didn’t want to sound like a chicken so I gathered all my courage and reached the top of the cliff along-with all my friends and the instructor. Manil wore the life-jacket and went first and straight away jumped into the river from almost 30 feet… vooohooo… yeayyyyy… everyone was cheering and my heart sank, and I was like, ‘dude aaj tu gaya’.
An Emotionally Charged Moment
Even after knowing that I am wearing a lifejacket and there is a kayak guy in river to help me. I was shaking out of fear. But still I went to the edge of cliff and just looked down… Suddenly everything was in slow-motion, I couldn’t hear anything, my legs started shaking and there was darkness in front of my eyes… No bravery there, I got shit scared and came back. yes, I couldn’t jump… still the heartbeat was so fast, I could hear it myself. I was sweating and feeling emotional. And I could have easily backed out, but then my best friend Rohit came to me and said one thing – “AJ, if you will go back from here today, you will never be able to do it again and regret for life”. There was a long pause after that…
I was looking down, not thinking anything but just feeling the senses, the fresh air, the smell of river, I was surrounded by mountains and richness of nature. And I felt good about my friend Rohit, about myself and the god. I was ready to give it another try. Yes, I was equally scared, but I decided to let my fears go, followed the instructions by the trainer. One. Two… Three… and JUMP… I felt the fear of death, while I was in air, after I went in the river. But when I came out and looked up… the cliff was looking so small, so close. My friends were cheering me up and I was floating and crying out of happiness… I came back and it was the walk of a winner… I was feeling proud of myself, everyone clapped for me, even instructors said that no one did it in second time.
After that the whole trip, the rock climbing, the waterfall, the river rafting. All felt like a breeze. And that is how I conquered my fear of heights, by jumping from a cliff straight into the river Ganga (Ganges). It was the same cliff for Manil, for Shashank, for Rohit and for me. But the perspective makes the difference. I overcame one of my biggest fear that day. I felt happy, I felt stronger. And I did it again next year. Same camp. Same cliff. And I jumped again, but this time I conquered the fear.
All of us do have some kind of fear, which we want to overcome from.
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