This was a Story yet Unwritten, until Now! I was supposed to post this weeks back but well, fell behind schedule due to various personal and professional interruptions.
Anyway, first things first, never have I ever done a proper trek or activity based trip before so this was the first time that I did something beyond usual to me. What’s “this” you ask? Well, ‘this’ was the daunting, the nerve-racking, the adrenaline-pumping WATERFALL RAPPELLING!
This deserves to be told in a friendly bonfire story-telling way, so snuggle up close and hear.. er, read my story.
Once upon a rainy day, a group of 31 folks, strangers, singles and couples alike met for a fun one day trip.
The group had amongst itself an introvert (me) who was a bit shy when meeting people for the first time. However, she was surprised with the ease in which she chatted in gay abandon with others! Good going for her, right?
The gregarious group made their way to their destination Madap off the Mumbai – Pune Expressway by bus. Their trip leader kept them entertained with his swashbuckling tales of adventure and valour.
The now half starved folks soon reached their destination where their growling stomachs greedily stuffed themselves with steaming upma (a spicy semolina preparation), bread-butter sandwiches and hot vada pav (deep fried potato patties stuffed in a bun) provided by the base dhaba/food inn there. Steaming cups of tea completed their meal.
Once re-fuelled, recharged and what-not, the hunger satisfied clan trekked for around an hour to the waterfall. It was a tricky trek. Heavy rain hit them mercilessly as they slipped, tripped and almost flipped over slippery rocks and loose mud. This was just the beginning but the group of adventurers charged on dauntlessly.
The chivalrous knights in shining armour were ever-ready to help the damsels in distress to jump from rock to rock, leap from heights and cross from here to there.
With much merriment, and at the end of an arduous journey, the group covered in mud and muck were greeted by the exquisite sight of crystalline water gushing and dropping off at… (gulps) 100 ft.
The natural pool of foam and water ahead however, broke the spell for a moment and not before long, the pool was filled with the folks squealing and bobbing in the bone-chilling pool.
A petite lass (me) watched as her fellow travellers revelled in the pool. Never having been in water before, she stood at the edge torn between joining the happily splashing crowd and panicking about drowning. Her feet slowly gravitated toward the pool water and before she could even let out a gasp, she was surrounded by water that reached her neck.
The icy cold water swirled in full force around her. Terrified that she would drown, she kicked around vigorously, desperately trying to stay afloat. She clutched on to one of her newly-made friend and hung on to her for dear life. The chilling water made it hard for this asthmatic girl to breathe. Unsurprisingly, she panicked and yelled to be taken back to earthy, steady ground. A kind knight guided the lass out of the pool. She stood there, back at the edge, quaking and shivering, thankful to be above water level.
Not long after, the guides gathered the group and explained to them how they had to make their way down the waterfall. Rappelling, they said, that was how they would go down. The roar of the waterfall drowned out most of what they were saying but they repeated it once they harnessed the people, one by one.
Still reeling from the pool incident, the little lass was overcome by trembles about facing a vertical wall of water. Though the 100ft length did not affect her, it was the thought of the gushing water that shook her from the very core of her heart.
A brave knight, who was photographing every incident with his camera, noticed the lass’s troubled state and came to her rescue. He amused her with this and that, and motivated her to descend the waterfall. She stood with her back to the world at the edge of the high waterfall. Heeding the guide’s instructions she leaned back a bit, stepped back, and fell vertically banging against the hard rocks of the waterfall. It was a bad start but it was a start all the same and the girl remained unfazed.
Her elbow had got viciously scratched in the fall but she didn’t pay attention to it. Her complete focus was on reaching down, somehow, anyhow.
She kept a firm grip on the rope with her left hand, and pulled the rope forward with her right. Slowly, slowly, a bit painfully slow to be honest, she lowered herself bit by bit. The guide continued with an onslaught of instructions to her to lean back, to use her feet against the wall and descend. She tried but the rocks were too slippery for her feet to get a good grip as a result of which she swung like a pendulum.
She used her feet to avoid crashing into the rocks and at the same time, pulleyed herself down. At one point she was hit by thunderous walls of water, and surprisingly, she wasn’t scared! In fact, she enjoyed it!
Other people from her clan who had reached below cheered and guided her as she made her way down. She looked below to see that she was a few meters short of her goal. That sight spurred her to give the rope a massive, powerful wrench to slide down till at last her feet touched the shallow pebbled shore.
As a guide helped her out of her harness, she stood there and looked up – awe and pride surged through her as her eyes took in the height she had descended from. A radiant smile broke across her face as she looked on at the feat she had just achieved.
After two long hours, everyone had rappelled. The group chattered excitedly as they made their way through narrow paths bordered by huge leaves and thorny branches.
They trudged over to the dhaba where a sumptuous meal of chapati (unleavened bread), rice, dal (lentil gravy), cholay (chickpeas), cabbage, papad, and lovely kheer (dessert preparation) filled their ravenous stomachs.
They changed into dry clothes and captured several group photographs before settling into their cozy bus seats.
Most of the people were overtaken by sleep as the bus took them home. Tired and filled with fun memories the lass bade goodbye to the group as she left the bus at her stop.
Next morning, her body felt majestically stiff and sore, her elbow joint pained like someone was cutting it there with a chainsaw. But it was a good pain, she loved the pain!
Every day, she thinks of how she had made her way down. She wonders how she had the guts and strength to do something like that. That’s when It hit her – she was wholly FOCUSSED on the PRESENT MOMENT at the time. That singular focus didn’t give her scope to stress about the past or the future.
And that, my friends, is the main learning I took away from this story. This is a learning that can be applied in any area of life. Focus on the Present Moment!
Hope to regale you with more stories of such fulfilling and inspiring trips!
Leaving you with some more memories from my exhilarating adventure!
A huge thanks to photographer Jay of Winks and Smiles for capturing us and the trip so beautifully and for generously sharing the photographs with me. All the above photographs are credited to him. If you love travel, wildlife and nature, then head over to his site for more breathtaking photographs!
So, have you ever done anything like this before or wish to do? Do share, I’m all ears for adventures!