Adventure Sports -- #3 : Fun for life - Bungee jumping mishap on that fateful saturday afternoon4/14/2009 01:54:00 AM
If It wasn't this Sunday 12th April's TOI (Times of India), I wouldn't have written this post. Its not been long, enough of media bashing on 26/11 Mumbai attack, and I at least wished that they'd learn a bit from the incidence. No matter how many miles away who was, but the impact of it was on everyone. Nobody was left untouched, not even kids. but is there anyone who cares listening? The answer is no. and the show goes on.
I was among the few lucky ones, who went to Bungee jumping this Saturday, but fortunately dint see the accident with our own eyes. I couldn't imagine the shock they must have been going through, while I myself am not able to recover even after three days gone. the shock is of the negligence, the shock is of taking things and lives for-granted being it yours or someone else's, the shock is of making a business out of everything damn thing on earth, and get away with it. The shock is of irresponsible reciprocation of news and creating panic in mass.
When we reached the venue (paint-ball arena, bannerghatta road) around 10:55 am, the atmosphere wasn't as any one would have expected it'd turn out to be. well, in worst cases, we don't get intuitions about something tragic to be written in the day's history. there were enough people for morning. I figured they had started 9 and not at 10, and so already these many folks around, while I watched people having fun, I was just scanning the ground, and happenings in each corner of it. Young crowd, its fun to be at such a place on weekends. I could see two cranes, One already someone jumping from, second one being idle, The height wasn't really scary frankly and seeing few guys jumping it sounded pretty much doable for the first timer like me.there was this net too but not really covering entire area so kinda useless. anyways, we filled up the forms, and found out that we are in a long queue and with a number only to be arrived late afternoon 3 to 3:30pm. So I checked with another friend of mine who was supposed to be there at 10, and found out he'd be there in afternoon, quickly made plan to spend next 3-4 hours in the national park close by and left the place.This was "it" at the paint ball arena, when I called up the number around 3 pm to check if we should come back, Sachin responded back saying there had been an accident, and the event is been cancelled. they'd get back on mails and would refund the money in respective accounts. I was kinda shocked it could either be some-one getting a jerk, breaking his/her back-bone, or the fear of the height, so could be an heart-attack. least I had in my mind that i could be rope snapping which I was imaginning for myself, everytime I see myself jumping. I asked Vani to call the number again, and try verify, but it turned out to be engaged in all her trials. we left for the zoo, and only while Dinesh called me up from the place itself I could verify that it was reverse-bungee jump and a guy fell down on the ground, and he's already dead. The news wasn't easy enough to be sunk in. but somehow we did sort of pack-up from the zoo and headed back to the paint-ball arena.
day over, and I could remember the faces, of 15 something group, we crossed on the road diversion to the jumping venue, and the fear on 'em. I had been brave enough till now. accidents are supposed to happen, one shouldn't get scared of 'em. the reason could be anything, I still wasn't sure, what had happened, though it was clear, that loosing life while bungee jumping is easy, until otherwise, you have a water body or a net beneath. I did remember the lady asking me if I would want to do reverse, and I asked what is that, she said something, and I said No. whom could you curse for it, the method, the organizers, yourself or time...
Sunday morning, and a friend informed that the news is on TOI front page, I have left reading news paper long back, so I checked the e-paper. and the images come as nothing but the second shock to me. how can you draw a diagram with a person tied up his legs with some turns of a rope and hanging and then plucking it off just there, showing he fell on the ground like that. the comes the article, they had no net, they had no ambulance, they had no certificate, they had no license. with no real pictures of the accident and the area, with out verifying the content they go ahead, write an article on the front page of a national newspaper and fill the second page on with whatever they could search on internet, about bungee jump, and hello thats the break-fast for you public.
I was stunned, enough to panic all day, and what I could do the best is to talk to friends, all day long, and just try getting a bit normal. this is not the way, this must not happen, I was thinking. Even as for the organizer, half the people dint verify who organized this event, was it head-rush, CARE or BMC? In actual the event organizers were head-rush and all CARE and BMC were doing is to facilitate online registration to their members. but No disclaimer on CARE site and poor fellow is in trouble. I remember meeting the old man some 4 years back in his para-sailing event at jakkur aerodrome. A one liner could have been a life-saver for him.
But what to say about, negligence then? with over 50 swimngs and jumps, how could possibly the expert dint realize the rope is weakening. they organized this event so many times before, friday was a successful day as well. then why dint they change it. Is repetitive checking security mesures, and verify is costlier than someone's life? and in these cases, its not one life that goes, people who are part of that life and the ones responsible for the incident. then why is things been taken forgranted?
Some friend of mine quoted, one should think of his parents before trying such daring adventures, these young bloods dont think of anyone else, and get on with their selfish interests. well, "Parents spend the first part of our lives teaching us to walk and talk, and the rest of it telling us to sit down and shut up" I thought, who this is for? and what's the right time to do it? when you're a kid, you're not allowed, you're parents would decide, what games you can try on. when you're teen, you're busy studying, no money, when you're in your twenties, you' seek that independence, you work, you earn and you spend, and try to pursue your long awaited dreams, stay back for few more years, and one or the other way, you'd get on to the adventure at home itself, and as a result, you're again responsible for your kids, and spouse and their future and bla while your physical abilities are already detoriating. and then what, when you'd try it? in your 50s or 60s? well, i would surely like to be one who could do it in my right in to the grave years as well.
I don't know how to react, when people sigh and say thank god, it was n't you, I just know, its not a fault of the game, I might not do it here, may be NewZealand, where I feel I am more secure, I'd it once atleast in my life, to come out of the fear of falling. If I am afraid now, I wouldnt' be one day. something which is fatal has to happen, but one should always err to the side of caution. do it, but do it right afterall you're responsible for your own life, and no other is. to everyone.
[My condolence to late Bhargava, May his soul rest in peace. To his family, I hope they get all the strength in the world coping up with such a loss. God bless us all]