Cliff Diving!

Lol. Here is something I can totally relate to. Recommended reading for deciphering the rest of my post.

Just that the “cliff” was more than forty feet high, and there were no life jackets.

The Slide at Aladin’s Water & Amusement Park at Karachi is a little higher that forty feet. Or looks so to me. It all happened to me the first time I decided to peruse the slide.

That was back in 97 or 98, and the first time I had been to any such “water” park [wasn’t Aladin the first in the city?]. A coupla friends coaxed me to try out the monster slide, and damn, it looked like fun with the people coming “swoosh” and hitting the water, and, instantly, standing up and looking all right.

Eyes can see what they are trained to see, and looks are always deceiving.

The climb up to the platform is pretty much around as high as five floors. There is also a “ladies” slide, which is on the third floor. You see, for the weak hearted.

Seriously, there were caterpillars fluttering in my stomach. Yes… caterpillars! I did consider the ladies slide, but ho-boy, with a bunch of friends?! Machismo at its best is the mockery of common sense.

Finally we were on the monster platform. Looking down from there, the whole scene seemed funny. Hundreds of people milling around, in various states of half-nakedness, people resembling little more than colourful dots. And worst, a bunch of people around the parameter of the pool of the monster slide, waiting for their loved ones to hit the water with the utmost superb dive/lunge/whatever, so they could applaud and feel proud.

Worst still, there’d be someone waiting for me too.

Looking at the flight of stairs, I realize that there is no going back. The trip back is too long, there are an infinite number of stairs, and uncountable people looking up at the platform. Peering intently. Like mocking me. Anyone descending would stick out like a sour thumb and would be an object of ridicule. Damn, the safety regulation authority should order to construct a fire exit or something. A back door, to provide safe exits to sissies. Sadly, no one from the authority had a working genious mind like me.

There is a little line for the slides, and me and a friend decide to go next. Go, supress all your fears, whims, anxieties. Life has to be lived to the fullest. This is your moment, grab it, and never look back.

I mutter something and jump.

The first thing I notice is that the surface of the slide is very dry. I know I have to push in order to get down, since once stuck in between there is no going up. Slowly I build up speed. I grip the partitions just so that I won’t topple over. First slide done, landing on second. Still a bit slow, I remember reading a sign that to go fast one has to lean backwards. So I start to lean. Completing the second and landing on the third makes me realize that perhaps I am a little too fast, and my stomach instantly churns over. Damn, how to apply the brakes, how to get slow? My mind is racing fast, too fast even to recover bits from my memory, and I have landed on the fourth. There are only five slides.

Time is short, competition is hot. I hit upon the lost fragment and remember to sit up to decrease the force. I try to do that, but too late. My eyes shut automatically, and the water rises up to greet me.

Water, is the universal solvent. It has a very soothing nature of its own. As soon as I hit the water, I am in another world. No, literally. My mind lost the connection with the present, and views from my childhood unfold before my eyes. Am I in bliss, is this death, or is it just a dream.

Do you know a drowning man sees his entire life before his eyes? I didnt really believe it then, since you can drown in a matter of seconds. But I do believe it now. Almost my entire life whizzed past my eyes, my mind strangely numb and peaceful, finding solace in this void, slowly, merrily.

After so many years, I can still see it very vividly.

Like I am floating in space, or memories, a feeling I can’t describe. Perhaps death is sweeter.

But no! The cerebral system kicks into action, sending frenzied messages all across the body. My hands and feet shove and kick erraticly, and my eyes fall open with a pop. There is the greenish liquid all around me, and the sunlight filtering through the water, making it quite pretty indeed [a hindsight]. I sense someone standing besides me, trying to grab me, calling out my name. I make sudden movements to clutch whatever I could get my hands on, and finally I get out of water, pulling on my saviour’s arms.

Dork, I even manage a smile, like I had pulled of a feat. There is my mom standing, looking concerned. My saviour was my friend, apparently he had a safe dive, or he was experienced.

I “cough like an idiot”, and tell everyone that I am okay. “Come on! It was all just a gig. Lol, you were concerned? Grow up! I can pull that stunt again, wanna see?” Apparently nobody is interested anymore, and I walk off groggily to a bench. Shaking off cobwebs from my mind, I vow.

That was my first ever slide. Wondering? I vowed to put common sense first in all the coming ventures.

I never went to the slide again. For all you guys who want to pick on me [and there are quite a few], I never learnt to swim.

Perhaps I never shall.


6 Responses

  1. honey ur very precious to me!!!! bt have fun, lif shud b full of adventures 🙂

  2. Lol, you make it sound like a scene right out of Baywatch, minus the little clothes!

    Have fun, yes, and make adventures too 🙂

  3. anony: life is STILL full of adventures 😛

    Meany: Baywatch in Pakistan? Are you kidding?

  4. I never dared go back up there a second time either. lol. some things are best done once.

    Now if only it were a roller coaster…

  5. heheh. I am *strong* enough to ride roller coasters 😛

  6. heheheh..this was so funnny. i remember my first slide at aladin was something like that too. it was the sissy slide though some 7 years ago. [:D]
    but the real fun was the dreamworld slide. its higher than the aladin one and its just a matter of seconds…woooosh. sissies though r recommended not to take that. 😛

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