Going Chile, going places…

After a rather intensive year, the gist of which I compiled in my previous blog, I’m on a post-examination trip to Chile, South America, to meet my father who is settled there.

The examination period was a journey in itself, similar to the over-30 hour journey (including transit) from India to Chile! But once you reach the destination, even though you can describe how agonizing the wait was, you can’t feel the pangs. Now I understand what my mother means when she says she can ‘appreciate but not apprehend’ my exam related stress….

I’m in Chile for 3 months, and what I plan to do here besides spending lots of time with my family and interning with ‘I love Chile’, a weekly digital news magazine, is to tick off some adventure sports on my wish list.

First up was paragliding, which I did the last weekend. Here’s a brief description of the experience and the post-sport revelations, although paragliding itself, is like stress – You need to experience it to get a feel of it…

Hema paragliding in ChileA few thousand feet off the ground, under the crisp blue skies of La Serena, a township in Chile, I stood atop a cliff, not quite ready to ‘live on the edge’! We waited for hours, before a waft of breeze passed by and they got me ready for the flight. As the parachute I was attached to, rose with the winds, I heard faint voices in the background saying,“Run, now.” Well, I didn’t! So my instructor gave me a push, and from then on, there was no stopping.

This reminded me of a story where the king ordered all the falconry experts to get a falcon to fly, but they couldn’t. So, he called for a farmer who was more acquainted with nature, who managed to make the falcon fly. On being asked how he did that, he said, “It was simple, I just cut the branch on which it was seated!”

The University of London International Programmes, like other situations in life, takes us out of our comfort zones. But then again, it’s only so that we realize our potential to take wing.

When I couldn’t feel the cliff below my feet anymore, I was overwhelmed with joy… My focus turned towards the boundless beauty I saw a thousand feet below only to realize that when you see things from a higher perspective, the self-created boundaries cease to exist.

Amidst all this boundlessness, the only ‘strings attached’ were that of my parachute! We often think of constraints, be it word-limits for articles or schedules for our study as limitations.. However, just like the strings, every constraint in fact prevents us from going astray, and allows us to enjoy a safer, longer flight.

As much as I wanted to keep floating in air and enjoy the paradisiacal bliss, we were approaching the ground.. After all, in life, we must ‘land up somewhere’, specializing in that field and focusing on its intricate details before we’re ready to ‘run’ into action there…And that’s exactly what I did, on landing.. I ran with the chute until it settled with the winds..

Upon landing, I couldn’t help but squeal with joy and give my instructor a big hug.. I recalled another story known as ‘Who packed your parachute’, where a commando was approached by a stranger who claimed to have packed his parachute, which triggered off a series of thoughts in his mind – if a single stitch in the chute would go wrong, he would’ve crashed. His heart was filled with gratitude, and so was mine.

And, even if this sounds like an award-reception speech, I express my wholehearted gratitude towards my instructor, the UOLIP and every institution I’ve been part of, my family, friends, you, my readers and every other miner stitch that has played a major role in my life!

Hema is studying the BSc Banking and Finance with the University of London International Programmes in India.

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