Paragliding at Bir Billing Tales –  5

Paragliding at Bir Billing Tales – 5


Today I flew for more than two hours. My vario was now sounding me out but since I never paused to look down at the screen I had no clue as to my exact height above takeoff. Have my own theories about flying with or without that beeping gizmo but since I’ve only just started using one I’ll hold my tongue.

Once more I landed beautifully and confidently after a simply amazing flight. Traveling from one ridge to another is a lot of fun– the conquering hero now feels as excited as a child who has discovered a shiny new toy.

I feel fantastic and can’t wait to tell Rao  all. But for now I pack my glider in silence, looking out at the sun as it dips over the mountains ahead taking deep breaths of wonderfully clean mountain air as I dwell in this wonderful moment.

dsc00591.jpgIt is our last night and we are meeting up for dinner at the Colonel’s place – bonfire, huge moon and many friends. I finally caught up with Damayanti who I had the pleasure of meeting on my first evening here. Jyoti Thakur a local pilot  who ranked after him in the last competition came over to talk to me about yesterday’s flight. He had been flying tandem below me and wanted to know how I gained height with such weak thermal activity. I told him the story about my new vario going quiet on me and inviting me to use my other senses.

An interesting person, Jyoti: a shepherd boy who dared to follow his dream. He was drawn to paragliding as a child and was told by his people that shepherd boys could not fly – It was simply not an option. He often played truant from school, running off to see and touch the gliders at landing until he had saved enough money to pursue paragliding.  It’s the kind of inspiring story that films based on. I visualized the entire scene as he narrated it in the most unaffected manner. He reminded me of  Ravi and the kids back at Kamshet – this is one sport that has the power to make dreams come true – after all free flight has been an age old quest for man!

Tomorrow morning we will be on our way home to Mumbai. Back to husband, son and Diwali in Kamshet.  Cant for the life of me; figure out why I hesitated so much about going on this trip. Sanjay gave me some serious encouragement and I’m so happy he did. I widened my boundaries, and my senses are overfull with new experiences, beauty, admiration and gratitude.

Peace Bliss & Happy Landings



Author: Astrid Rao

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