This was a special New Year’s celebration for me. It was my first one in India and I was blessed to spend it with Kirti, my boyfriend for the last 11 months. He got into Rishikesh on Saturday night and we wasted no time in finding something fun to do to ring in the new year. We headed back to Anna’s Café hoping for more dancing, but this time they had a drum circle going on instead. A few other guys were playing the digeridoo and the result was a beautiful tribal sound that almost left us in some sort of euphoric trance. At the stroke of midnight, the starry night sky was temporarily interrupted with a fantastic display of fireworks. 2016 instantly became history and we welcomed 2017 with open hearts and a special kiss.
On Our Way to Jumpin Heights
The next morning, we were up early to catch a taxi up the mountains to the famous Giant Bungee Swing at Jumpin Heights. It’s a lot like a bungee jump only the harness is connected to your chest instead of your feet. Also, instead of just bouncing up and down you are swung way out over the Ganges River. We were really looking forward to the experience and were in good spirits.
Within half an hour of leaving the taxi stand, traffic came to a sudden stop. All the other drivers and passengers were out of their vehicles wandering about, which told us they had probably been stopped for quite some time. We decided to follow rank and got out to enjoy the picturesque view of the Himalaya Mountains and watch the white water rafters floating down the turquoise colored Ganges River.
Killing Time in a Traffic Jam
Feeling restless, we worked our way to a tea stand along the roadside. I ordered a cup of chai tea from an “Auntie”, which is what the Indian people call an elder woman to casually show respect. She was making the tea over an old clay oven heated by fire. On the other side of the tea shack, a group of men were smoking a large wooden hookah. I took out my phone to take a picture of them and they all insisted that I take a puff on the pipe. Not wanting to create an international incident, I agreed to join in and they were obviously amused when I started hacking. It was a fun cultural experience and the tea from the Auntie was one of the best I’ve had. It cost 10 rupees which is about .15 USD.
Finally, traffic starting moving again so we bid our new friends farewell and climbed back into the taxi. We eventually made it to the bungee place around 12:00. I was immediately impressed with the set up. Their washroom was the cleanest public restroom I’ve seen in India. They asked us to fill out some paperwork and made us watch a safety video that took about 10 minutes. The video said that anyone over the age of 45 had to have special paperwork from a doctor so I suddenly decided I was 42. I hoped they wouldn’t notice the “error” if they looked at my passport. Fortunately, they didn’t ask for an ID. Instead they asked me to step on a scale! Ugh! I hate being weighed in public. But I bit my lip and did as they asked. The result made me smile! In just two weeks of doing yoga I had lost 7 lbs! I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t even feel bad when they wrote our weight on our hand and we were instructed to show it to the bungee master before our jump.
The Big Jump
We walked the 300 meters to the jump site. When we got there, we were numbers 6 and 7 in line. We watched the people going before us and got a little more nervous as each one jumped. One guy chickened out and left with his head hanging low. I felt bad for him. Finally, they called my number. I kissed Kirti goodbye and walked the length of the platform feeling both excited and nervous at the same time. At the podium they looked at my weight and then helped me in my harness. The bungee was attached to my chest and they held onto my back, gently guiding me to the edge of the platform. The Ganges River was probably about 100 meters below us and lined with rocks on both sides. I tried not to think about potential malfunctions and instead concentrated on the anticipation of the jump instead. The bungee master, from France, asked me if I was ready. I gave him an enthusiastic head nod and he started counting down…3,2,1 GO! I jumped off the platform and immediately the ‘woosh’ of the wind and the freefall towards the river below took my breath away! Suddenly the bungee cord went tight and I started swinging way out over the canyon! It was such a wonderful, free feeling! It was such a rush that I had to scream! After swinging back and forth a few times they gently hoisted me down to a team that made sure I was okay, removed my harness and gave me my “I’ve Got Guts!!” button. I then looked up and watched Kirti jump. It was a great perspective watching from below. When he was done we climbed a trail for about 20 minutes to the café where our videos were waiting. We viewed them, bought them and headed back towards town feeling braver and stronger. Bring on 2017!