1.The Closed wings

Monsoon reached the first notch of indian sub continent, Thiruvananthapuram. The richest temple in the world, drenched in the pouring shed of dark clouds, from the Indian Ocean. It is June 1st. Clouds will take at least 2 weeks to reach the central stretch of indian Himalayas. It has to sweep across the evergreen rain forests in western ghat,dry lands of central India, andhra, Madhya Pradesh,then the holy river belts, Ganges, Yamuna , pop corned indraprastha in the soaring summer…and then the uttarakhand.

rain

Dev sighed and he was thinking about his travel. “It was always like this. I never get a vacation in the season for a vacation. It was my inevitability then and a habit now to have a trip in off season”.

Before monsoon is satisfied by cooling the dry land In other part of continent he need to reach Mukteshwar, where he have a paragliding session arranged. “What? No! It’s my first fly, despite number of flights, by sitting in a pressurized fuselage with out any cloud or wind, and with some pretty girls having boring instructions. Yae, I could’ve done this in Kannur or Mysore, both are under 200 km circle, and the former one is just under 50 from my home.

But, come on, do you want to fly above the coconut trees or some dry land of Deccan? I am gonna meet first time, the king of all mountains. The fantasy which stick from my childhood, till this day. And I wanna see him with a bird eye. High above the frozen powdered snow, heavenly meadows, bustling river cradles, and valley of flowers, by levitating in the northern wind from Siberia. I wanna feel at least a fraction of what it feel to a bar-headed goose or some rare swans from manasa sarovar, who even cross the himalaya by flying atop of the peaks.”

Dev compelled to travel via air on course of this reason. Lion share of his savings put aside towards this vacation, burnt for the propulsion till Panthnagar, the nearest runway to mukteshwar.

The hotel in mukteswar is top class, for the money dev have paid. Looting the tourists who are coming to other destinations of uttarakhand, not yet seen here.Just because this place is not  popular as nainital,auli and mussoorie like hill stations or badrinath and rishikesh like holy places. But this is a gem of devbhoomi. crowd less streets wet in the mist, devadaru trees pointing the blue sky, beautiful girls in maroon bright dress, occasional sight of grazing yak in the lonely grass land, and farther north , after the medium sized forest carpeted hills, snow toasted greater Himalayas… The vibe of divinity and beauty always patted on this small town, resting on the kumaon hill.mukteswar

Dev did not feel any hungry. Had a pasta and juice in flight. Price included in the ticket fare. So had it, thinking will have a good supper in the resort. But now no hungry.

“When did I eat before that?” Dev tried to recollect the events happened today. Stream of memories was so fast that he didn’t get a starting point. “Think about yesterday. That was easy, calm and slow. Not much happened yesterday. I got my ticket booked in the eve. Packed the dresses. Very little. Had two mangoes which was in the refrigerator. Called home and told them about my “official trip”. Going to Voltas factory in Panthnagar, for a product testing. Mom believed her son. Then called my friend and reminded him to droop me in the airport, morning. Then …then as like every night, starting from last winter, had unusual dreams and woke up. Slept again only to wake up with a different dream. Might have slept at morning 3 without any interrupt until nitu knocked door at 6.00.

Flight was at 7.30. In a matter of time, packed other stuffs, like passport, ATM cards, Swiss knife and what ever came to my mind. We reached swiftly at airport. Nitu. given farewell with a complaint, for not planning the trip early for him to join. He knew I never can decide anything for a date ahead, which is more than 10 days! given him a smile and assured him on my return, a bhang with fine grown mountain sativa.

“From panthnagar to muktshwar, just one hour journey through Nainital district. No stop in between. All the way what gone to my belly was a pasta, and still i am not hungry. what the hell is happening in me?” Warmth of soft bed stopped him to think much about it..and he fall in sleep in a haste.

First morning in the majestic mountain range, is exorbitantly heavenly, beyond imagination. When the lowland valley is sleeping , still under the thick blanket of dark blue mist, the crown of snowy greater Himalaya was shining in golden shower of rising rays. Some where in the medium range altitude the clouds where too thin to stay long. It magically evaporated and faded to reveal the silver shining snow mountains behind. Devadaru trees filtered the sun rays, which glistens the fogy fabric around the Kumaon hill, created a splendid display, as if the blessings from the high sky flows down to enlighten the mortals of earth.

              Dev dragged aside his blanket and woke up in his wool shorts, washed face and still feeling sleepy he got cigarette pack. There is a small, beautifully ornate dragon head mounted on the wall, near the door which opens to balcony.  When red nose of dragon is pressed, it popped out a small flame through dragon mouth. ”Cool gadget…” Dev lit a cigarette from that and walked in to the sunbathed balcony. He dragged a gulp of smoke and blown to the sky. Smoke spirally made its way to the top

              In the balcony to his right above, there is a mid aged fair man sitting on his padmasana position and trying to tranquil himself by breathing deeply the deodar soothed misty air. The nicotine filled his alveolus and he woke up from his deep transcendental meditation. He offered a nasty look to the ‘inferior man’, below him who don’t have any divinity and smoking in these mountains. Dev wished him: “Good morning”. Something he whispered. His face filled with angry and hate and backed to his room.

Dev’s phone beeped. “Come to the market taxi stand at 9’O clock. Carry the things you want in your Kit B, with you. See you there: Gagan”. Gagan gharwali is a tour operator, and his brother charan gharwali is my instructor. Dev gone through the e-mail from gagan.

KIT-A (Will be delivered to the sight. Prices included in the registration). Glider, cable, harness, helmet, reserve parachute, radio set, Gloves.
KIT-B (recommended and should not exceed your takeoff weight). Variometer, GPS, Camera, class-3 boots, kneepad and crash guard, knife, torch.

              Except GPS everything is there. GPS is a luxury unless you do cross country. DEV taken an instrument, slightly bigger version of a digital stopwatch, from his bag. It’s a flight instrument in an aircraft used to inform the pilot  – rate of descent or climb. It’s called Variometer. Normally professionals take this with their flight.  DEV got it cheap from his friend in Singapore. Every meter he gain or lose altitude it will give a beep sound. Faster the climb or descend rate, more frequent the beep tone. This is the first thing he bought once he decided to glide. “I should know how above I am as well as how good am I flying. A single altimeter won’t do the job”.

LB_viso2_glove.1

Dev had a hot shower and packed everything in his travel bag, he started his day which he has been awaiting for a long while. The dream of flying alone. Town was relatively happening. People buy fresh vegetables just picked up and brought from the fields in the valley. Transport buses and jeeps lined on the road. Drivers calling the tourists by telling different place names. School children are rushing to already occupied vans. Shops are selling hot poori and butter filled tea made with yak milk. People here need more fat in their appetite. But men are well built. Very few are with tummy and women are like supermodels that one can identify even they are covered with lots of warm fabrics.

Namasteyji

A young fair man with neatly combed hair and a stuffed jacket came from the other side of the road wished him morning.

“Hi gagan… Namastey”

“Shall we move? Have you had your nasta?

“Yes, I had breakfast from hotel.”

“Charan bhayya will be reaching the site with in 15 minutes. We may start now itself”

“Sure, after you.”

They walked towards a Scorpio SUV parked at opposite of the road.

“Kappi, get dev bhayya’s bag.”

A teenager got his bag and kept in the back seat. Dev and gagan sat in the middle.kappi in the front seat and driver turned on the key to start the engine. Dev already started to feel some excitement. His heart beat started to raise.

“Wait man. Keep back up of your adrenaline…”

Dev told himself. Car is already creeping down to valley through the spiral road along the slops of kumaon hill.

Dev was thinking about his office days. Even though he got a job in is his favorite field he was not satisfied with his career. He is supposed to make results with immense of constraints than with lavish resources. Time, money, technology, imagination everything is with limited supply. But the product should be par excellent. That may give a kick for time being. With in this tight condition if you complete something difficult, it gives a momentary satisfaction. But what you achieve in long term is zero. Their are better technology coming in every fortnight. He always wanted something greater to do for mankind than give them some product that will make them immerse in unnecessarily more comfort.

There is this zeitgeist movement. A group of scientists and visionaries want to use technology to create some sophisticated human colonies. Houses in this colony will be with materials which made up with nanotechnology and advanced material science. It will be transparent for people inside enough to allow the required sunlight but zero opaque from outside. It stores light energy in the flexible photo voltaic cells in the day time and illuminate the interior in night. There will be Huge green houses which precisely maintain the water, PH, CO2, and humidity content for the plants to produce good vegetables. Sea water treatement plants, renewable energy harvesting powerstations and lots and lots of technical marvels to keep our planet earth to stay alive.

It’s true that what ever problem we are facing in the planet is created by one thing. Money!

Money makes people to cut the woods, mine the earth crest till they finish all the precious resources, murder millions to evacuate a mineral rich land, kill a majestic tiger to cut out his penis for natural medicine market in china, build a fertilizer factory and push out all the poisonous waste to nearby water body, backstab ones partner for his or her bank balance….

With out Money you can’t buy electricity,gadgets,movie ticket,home,rice,vegetables,water even pure atmosphere. You are chained in a market where you have to crawl your life to get your basic rights, being born as a organic living thing in this planet, to use her resource responsibly.

If you live in a colony, where all the resources will be distributed equally and responsibly for all human beings, it solve many things. First up all you don’t capture any other species’ habitats. An automatically controlled non polluting closed transport system with in a colony will avoid the atmosphere pollution and brutal sucking out of petroleum products. How much energy a colony needed will be produced in side a specific colony itself. Above all you get everything, and you don’t have to buy anything. There vanish the space for money!

w-o money

People will start to nourish their innate ability. Art and music will grow exponentially. Games and sports will be our daily routine.People will start to enjoy their life. They will become human again from their mechanical life of hard struggling to earn some money.

But every time dev burn the protein inside his brain, to improve some technology which raise the chillness of a five star hotel lobby with less power consumption, to make an impossible to open vault, for some business man’s huge wealth, which automatically capture the video of a trying theif and send to predefined peoples through separate private satellite upstream channel, to make a robot which react and take care a baby in a more human way…..all gives a bitter guilt to him. As far as money exists in the world struggle for survival exists. Greed exists. And we all have to burn our time and youth to earn that ticket to hell.

We all have to be in the state of payed slavery!!

“Fuck off from the road with your bitches, you moron!”

Long horn and driver’s harsh voice to a shepherd with his herd of goats, pulled down dev to the reality. They have reached the end of the metal road. A mountain road, steep and curvy, started from there.

“Purple camp”. A wooden sign board is pointing to the top.

Purple camp is the best site in mukteshwar for a smooth launch. It’s altitude which provides sufficient wind and flat launching ground without much rocks and sticks, given the freedom for even novice to have a solo flight after a couple of training sessions!

With each meter of slow ascend of the car to the hilltop, Dev’s anxiety and excitement also got rocket fuel. They have reached the top. Almost flat, green land, with occasional bare mud and lined with conifer trees at the far end, lay in front of them. There is a caravan parked nearby. One or two wings and harnesses tied and fixed already. Some are unloading the luggage from the caravan. People are rechecking the knots and wing fabrics arrangement. Charan is sitting nearby them on a foldable chair, and a portable table infront of him is occupied with lots of papers, sketches and a laptop. Dev had kiting practices (training to be done before actual flight) With him a few months before.

“Hi champ! How’s your ‘adren’ read?”

“Over dose dude.”

He laughed. But dev was telling truth. His adrenalin is already pumped him so much.

harness

Charan is a handsome tall man with salt and pepper beard, wearing a shwood’s walnut wooden frame sunglass and a base ball cap. He is kind of a person, who costantly radiating a message that he knows toe to top about what he is doing. A kind of person whom we will trust with out a second thought.

He is scribbling some thing in his notes.

Time : wind speed

00 : 18.35

02 : 19.14

04 : 20.5

06 : 19.3

08 : 18.2

10 : 17.1

12 : 15.1

14 : 16.76

16 : 17.2

18 : 18.4

20 : 19.2

22 : 20.74

24 : 19.3

24 : 20.18

It’s the wind speed in every two minutes recorded in km/ hr. He is holding a handy instrument with a display and a small 1 inch fan on it, a wind meter. It’s a common practice to take the wind speed for a twenty minutes or so, in places where turbulence is more. Normally it will follow a pattern. Today maximum speed is near to 21 and minimum 15 and it varies with in a time cycle of 18 minutes. That is, at the maximum wind speed of 20km/hr one can try to launch the glider. If not succeeded he have to wait for another 18 minutes for the wind to comedown to the minimum speed and again to comeback to the maximum. Charan again noted down the new figure captured in the meter.

26 : 19.12 it started decreasing again.

“It’s amazing that every changing thing in the world follows the pattern of a sine wave.” Dev thought.

“Not just light or electromagnetic wave and elecricity which normally technocrats observe. Ocean waves, seasons, wind speed, movement of a slithering snake, Currency value in a forex market and price of a share in an year….everything follows a sine wave in a crude way. If you note your degree of happiness 0 to 10 and sadness 0 to -10 in your daily diary over a few months, and plot it in a graph even that will be sine waves inside sine wave. What’s this fucking speciality in sine wave?”

“Not a good day I think.” Charan turned towards dev.

“What happened?”

“Maximum wind speed when we came today morning was 23. It’s reducing by 1 in each half an hour. Even twenty is not advisable to launch. But we will see.” He turned to his assistants and shouted. “Be quick guys. Let’s do it before it fall below 20.”

Gagan smiled without his brother’s notice and clicked on a saved web page in the laptop to show Dev. Its a blog dedicated for paragliding and the page says:

Top 10 bad reasons for launching.

10) I have waited long enough.

9) I can’t get a ride down.

8) I’m hungry and cold.

7) it was a long walk up here.

6) it’s getting dark.

5) let’s do it before the rain gets here.

4) the Mosquitos are eating me alive.

3) I will be late for dinner

2) I will look like a whimp if I don’t launch.

1) This is my last vacation day.

To Dev’s surprise, except 2 or 3 reasons, rest everything was loitering in his mind. He almost thought what ever they say, i am gonna fly today.

After a quick but point to point instruction dev is ready for his launch.

Charan is looking at wind meter. Dev arranged his harness and placed him in middle of the wing but a 4 meters in front. Charan given a signal to wait…Dev’s heart started beating enormously. whooping sound inside his head reached now loudest. Now one pull of these harness and a lep…I will pierce this blue sky . I will be floating in the eternal ether of this universe. I will well above all the walking mortals down…and even engine lifted AC cockpit crawling commercial pilots…Who is controlling mechanically or electrically the wings…slaves of the machine. Me controlling my body part and flying.

I am flying. They are driving a car which is just pushed up because it burnt lot of extra fuels!

“Dev now…!”

Charan told him to launch… Dev bend a little front and pulled the harness. It inflated the wings… All it’s lungs filled with life and ready to lift him. That made him to move a little forward because of wind power. But it did not give any lift. In that case pilot has to run a little. Dev started running pulling the kite upwards. But it was just inflated that it controls dev not he, and still it not ready to lift also. It’s started dragging dev violently. He was barely running on the twigs and rock. He already ran a 50 meters. Another 25, he will be in the cliff and boom!

Dev heard Charan shouting behind him…

“Abort….Abort!!”

This word will be yelled by an instructor after a short but great war in his brain, abort the launch or not. Some time a poorly done launch may be continued which will do just fine. But if you try to abort it may end up in fatal. Dev responded quickly. He pulled down the harness and tried to break his forward movement by pushing the ground.

But before dev can do anything, he fallen down and the wing dragged him through the rough ground…everyone started shouting and running towards him. Dev with all his power pulled together all harnesses. Just a 10 meter before the end of the cliff, under which the ground is below 500 meters, he stopped his movement by Kicking on a rock with his leg.Wing just shrinked and fallen flat on the grass, as if it don’t have any role in this accident.

Every body came to him panting and with a obvious facial expression of fear and anxiety. Charan came with medic.

But Dev was safe. His reserve package saved him by serving like a cushion. Reserve parachute is mounted on his back in a bag. It looked like a big bean bag is fitted on him but now teared apart in the harsh sliding. But devs dresses didn’t have any sign of tamper. Not even a single thread on his dress is broken nor a single hair in his body.

Everyone relieved by his ‘safe landing’ but a distinguishable amusement is running through their faces.

“Are you ok?”

Charan patted on his shoulder and asked Dev.

“Yes, I …I am perfect.”

Charan laughed a little ” you are ferocious puma man…where did you get that claws from?”