Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Marry a girl who sets you free

The annual function celebration was in the full swing. The performers had kept the audience spellbound with their swashbuckling performances and the audience was begging for more with the shrieks of “Once more, once more”. 

A part of the “Mr and Miss Fresher”, the most handsome, beautiful and talented newcomers in the college, was a final round of aptitude test. The master of ceremony had a range of questions and the only one that I remember was, “Complete the one liner – If love is blind, marriage is…..”.

The would-be Mr Fresher had the apt reply, “An eye-opener”. And the stage burst into laughter, followed by ear-piercing whistles and cheering of the crowd. I dreaded marriage and the answer terrified me more than ever. 

Now don’t tell me you don’t dread marriage. There comes a point in your life when you have pressure surmounting from every nook and cranny – family, friends, relatives and of course, your colleagues at work. It’s really a tough task to decide marrying a girl with whom you promise to spend the rest of your life through all thick and thin.

I postponed marriage till the time I could bear the pressure from my family, peers and relatives. But later came to know that it wasn’t a good idea at all. Marriage is not an obligation to be afraid of and run away from. It’s a journey of togetherness, complementarities and compromises.

Here’s my experience – for the wannabe husbands.

Marry a girl who lets you do what you like the most. As the saying goes, “Do what your heart tells”, if your better half stops you from doing what you love, you end up being nobody and getting nowhere. One of my friends is a celebrity artist who has a passion for painting nudes. Luckily, the lady he has married is supportive and he paints his passion – in his studio – with the young models posing in nude. With her never-ending support, he has carved a niche among the budding artists.     

Marry a girl who doesn’t tie a GPS collar around your neck. I see guys changing from the day they tie the knot. If they are even an hour late to return home, their cellphones start ringing relentlessly. And it’s from their sweet wives! They can’t even enjoy a cup of coffee with their old buddies. They rush to homes as if they will kill a tiger for the dinner. Those who have cute little kids at home – it’s their small ones ringing and asking “Dad, when will you be home?” – with the mothers signaling to stick to “not late than an hour” in the background.

Marry a girl who holds your hand when you are feeling down. When men’s morale is low, they don’t need a shoulder to cry on but one to hold their hands and instill inspiration to walk ahead. I have seen women who are emotionally stronger than men and they don’t get disheartened even in the gloomiest situation. Your would-be life-partner should be there, at least, to keep you poking every second to overcome the sadness and leap out of the gloom. 

Marry a girl who compromises with your lifestyle. I was always worried about my career, status and earnings. So I postponed my marriage till I had all of them. And I was 30 years of age with strands of silver in my once jet-black hair, six-packs turned into a protruding belly and crow’s feet visible around outer corner of my eyes when I got married. However, I still didn’t have a car when I married. But the girl I married, sweet and beautiful, adapted herself to my lifestyle. We would travel in public vehicles and she never complained. Now I regret – why I postponed the marriage. I should have married earlier.           

Marry a girl who sets you free. I still remember the lines, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it does not come back, it was never meant to be”. It’s a matter of trust.  Trust is the cord that keeps both of you tied to each other. She will set you free if she really loves you. And you will never feel like you have shackles around your feet, which is the real situation for many of the husbands.  You will be free to move around, mingle with your friends and chase your passion.

Coming back to myself, marriage has really been an “eye-opener”, as the Mr Fresher had replied during the annual function of my college. It has opened up all the blind alleys in my life. And I now no more dread “marriage”. But the credit goes to my wife – she let me lead my life in my own terms from the day we married.   

So my piece of advice to all bachelors out there – Marry in time and marry a girl who sets you free

Friday, 6 June 2014

Walk like a penguin, fly like a bird and emerge fearless like a lion

An account of fear before a bungee jump, thrill during the freefall and triumph after the jump

If you look down from the suspension bridge, 160 metres above the snarling Bhotekoshi River, the rocks on the bank look like little pebbles and the width of the river narrows down to an arm’s length. The natural beauty of the surrounding is astounding but the height is terrifying. Even the fearless daredevils get goose-bumps looking down from the jumping platform on the middle of the bridge.

In spite of the terrifying height and the narrow gorge, you are tempted to embark on the jump of the lifetime.  To win over the fear in your heart. Such is the atmosphere with scores of people like you lined up on the bridge for the death defying jump.

When I first visited The Last Resort, the only bungee jump destination in Nepal boasting of the world’s third highest natural bungee jump and highest swing, I could not muster up the courage to jump from the bridge. The height and the fear overpowered me. Like most people going there, I said, “There’s always next time, and I will surely jump.”

I was determined and the determination took me back to the resort. This time I stopped at the platform, looked down from the bridge and tried to get accustomed to the height. Still I was afraid. Then I saw hordes of men and women jumping from the bridge, some screaming to overpower their fear and some enjoying to the hilt. Slowly, the fear started fading. The man inside me was saying, “Yes, I too can do it!”

In the morning, I was there, again on the bridge. The cool breeze swept past my face and this time, when I looked down from the bridge, I thought I would definitely do it. I had accustomed myself to the height.

After having a hearty breakfast, I lined up for my weight. It was 63 kilograms and the guy attending the weighing machine marked “B 63” with a marker on my right hand. B denotes bungee and the numerical your weight.

Then we gathered around the jump supervisor who briefed on the safety measures. The first thing he asked was whether we had any history of high/low blood pressure, epilepsy, back pain, ankle sprain or any injury happening not more than six weeks ago. None of us had any of the medical injury record except a colleague who had had an ankle sprain three weeks ago.

“Once you are harnessed with safety ropes, walk like a penguin and fly like a bird,” he was briefing. “Listen carefully to the jumpmaster’s instructions and go for it.”

He had loads of instructions like “Tip-toe to the edge of the platform”, “Don’t look down if you fear from heights”, “Look front, get your instep out of the platform”, “Lean your upper body towards front”, “Spread your arms”, “Take a deep breath and jump”.

After the instructions, we slowly walked to the bridge, like the gladiators emerging for the final fight. One by one, our team members jumped as instructed by the jumpmaster. And looking from the far end of the queue, everybody’s jump was perfect. Nobody panicked – each mustered up their courage and jumped.

Starting from the heaviest, finally it was my turn.

When I was harnessed and waiting for the crew to pull the bungee cord to be tied around my legs, I tried to cheer myself up. When the filming crew approached, I smiled, did a “Thumbs up” and uttered, “I will try to do a perfect jump.”

Finally, the crew tied the rope to my legs and I tiptoed to the edge of the platform like a penguin. As I approached the edge, my heart started beating. But I was confident, nothing will happen to me. I will be safe.

Spreading my arms like a bird, I was ready to soar at the platform’s edge. Now there was no fear inside me. I was determined.

Before the jumpmaster uttered “3…2…1…Jump”, I had already jumped.

The freefall was thrilling. I went down for three seconds. My arms were spread and I was feeling like a free person and as fearless like a lion. I wished the fall lasted for two seconds more.

When I was pulled up by the rebound, I was afraid a bit. But the tiny shred of fear vanished when I was lowered again.

I was hanging in the air, almost 160 metres below the bridge waiting for the crew to guide me to a bamboo pole. With no more fear, I was uttering my heart out to the GoPro camera fixed to my helmet.

It was a triumphant moment. I had defeated fear.

I had emerged as a different person, just in a matter of few seconds. I was ready to take on any challenge.

It’s only your mindset and the company around you to get determined. I am sure you too will enjoy the freefall to the hilt once you get yourself ready for the jump. And emerge a winner over the fear. That’s for sure! 

Here’s the video of my jump, I am sure you will be motivated.

About The Last Resort and the bungee jump
A beautiful three-hour ride from Kathmandu, Nepal, The Last Resort is located on top of a river gorge close to the Tibetan border. For more information visit their website.