Mesa the Founder of Extreme Sports India. An amateur snowboarder and an avid traveler, I love to test my adrenaline levels every now and then.
Here is a small rush I would like to share with you all when I did cliff jumping in Madhya Pradesh:
Never thought that a bunch of kids living in Bedha Ghat would give me the balls and courage to jump off cliffs 50 ft in height. Being a Corporate Sales manager, I used to travel extensively in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for work. I had read about these kids Raju, Vijay (or Bijay as the locals pronounced) and their little gang living in Dudhwara near Bedha Ghat that used to dive off cliffs for earning small bucks from the tourists in the ferry on Narmada River.
On a cold winter Friday at the start of November, I was in Jabalpur to visit one of my Dealerships when I missed my train back to Bhopal. So I decided to stay back and that is when the plan to visit these kids popped up in my mind. I had no intention to dive, just pay them a visit and maybe talk about them via social media.
The next day, I left in the afternoon via a bus to Kudan from where I changed my bus to Bedha Ghat. I was just walking in the village asking about these kids who jump off in their holy river. And then came across Raju himself, Vijay’s best friend that’s what he said. I asked him about all the things these guys did in this small town and he was more than happy to share everything. He even told me that on a good day all these kids got about 1000 rupees from the tourists in the ferry.
Suddenly, he pulled my hand and said, “Bhaiya chalo na, hum aapko jagah dikhate hai”. I gladly started walking with him in my formal shoes along with 2 of his friends.
After trekking and climbing rocks for a brief moment, I got to see the still and inordinately calm Narmada River bordered with huge rocky cliffs. While I was busy observing the ridiculousness of jumping of the cliffs out here and even crazier to dive, one of those kids removed his rubbled T-shirt, walked off and just dived straight into the water.
Now jumping and diving into water are two different stories as the latter has headfirst into the water. I stood there and was like shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, because it looked too damn scary. And believe me, because I myself have dived from the heights of two storeyed buildings. (I was a state level swimmer). But this was unreal as the rocks below were all protruding out left and right and one had to dive in the exact spot to not die. And these kids did this on a regular basis for fun.
I don’t know what got into me, but all I wanted to do was dive into the water myself. In the heat of the moment, I removed my clothes and got ready to dive into the river. But Raju screamed and told me not to do it as it was too dangerous for me he thought. I told him to not worry as I was a state level swimmer (was just being a smart ass). But he explained that without experience and practice it could be fatal to dive. We mutually came to the conclusion that I should not dive rather just run and jump into the water from the point they took me to. Well, that’s what I did.
“Ek do teen”, they all screamed as they smelled the sudden burst of fear in me.
I ran, jumped and closed my eyes without looking down at the rocks. (never do that, it’s plain stupid not to look where you are jumping). SPLASH!! As I put my head out and gleeked out some not so tasteless water, I was elevated and realized I wanted to Jump again.
Now the sad part about doing something extreme like this is that usually, it becomes an expensive affair like Sky Diving or even Bungee jumping, but not this. This was free! I climbed up the cliff and jumped again and again till it became a bit dark and I realized I had a train to catch. After I wore my clothes (yeah no underwear) and we all walked back to the village where I treated the kids with some snacks. I think they were serious when they told me to come jump with them regularly. Little did I know that I would soon be moving out of Madhya Pradesh.
Well now that I think, I will pay them a visit this year hoping to find them happy and in good health, still diving and jumping off cliffs.