Friday, May 11, 2007 at 10:30 AM: I jumped off a slope at Sarangkot, Pokhara to glide freely on air. As I jumped off the slope, I was on air, flying freely. After a few minutes, as I looked down, I could see the whole city of Pokhara and famous Fewa Lake under my feet.
I looked up, afraid that I may fall down the long way and my stomach twitched. â€˜Are you alright?â€™ my pilot Damodar Parajuli asked me. â€˜Yaâ€™. Why should I tell him that I was little afraid and my stomach was kind of twisting.
â€˜No twitch on stomach?â€™ Either this man is a devil or knows all about paragliding. â€˜Little bit,â€™ I answered as he swirled around the Sarangkot hill making cold air pass through my body. It was really an experience worth life-long cherish because although I was in a tandem flight with pilot controlling the flight and everything else and I was just hanging to him looking around for hills and city.
â€˜Are you enjoying?â€™ What an absurd question? â€˜Surely, itâ€™s a big fun and I have never imagined that paragliding was such an amazing experience.â€™ He chuckled for he has been flying like this for five years â€“ first two years solo and then piloting enthusiatics like me through air. As one of the few Nepali pilots working for Blue Sky Paragliding of Pokhara, Damodar had heard such answers for many times.
â€˜Mostly foreigners, Nepalis are increasing,â€™ he said adding that more females are interested in paragliding than males. [I thought maybe thatâ€™s true or maybe he is using his position in his office to allocate females to his flights]. The half-an-hour flight costs Rs 4500 for Nepali and US$ 75 for others.
I wasnâ€™t flying in the season and my off-season flight costed me the view of the beautiful Ananpurna range. â€˜You should have come during September-October,â€™ he said and I consoled myself thinking that I wanted the experience of paragliding, not seeing moutains from paraglide.
After a pleasant 20 minutes flight around the hill [of course letting photojournalist Chandra Shekhar Karki click a few photographs on flight], we were ready to decend. On the smooth decending flight, Damodar showed me the his village, his house and other things of Pokhara.
Once we were above the Phewa Lake and just about a few minutes away from landing, he asked me â€˜if you are not afraid, I can show you some tricks.â€™ Why would I be afraid. He somehow manageed to slant the paraglide and then swished giving me the feeling of freefall of bungee jumping.
He did it twice and I was enjoying. On the third try, my stomach twitched and I told him so. He just instructed me to vomit on my left if I feel like and on the fourth swing, I vomited a little.
Then he instructed me how to land and I did that well, ran to the lake water, washed my face and sat on the ground thinking how pleasant the flight was.