Updated: Jul 23
Pratik Jiwarajka is a Chartered Accountant from Mumbai. Pratik had initially planned for a tandem ride. But when he saw that it's possible to learn the sport and fly solo, he immediately signed up. Pratik feels that paragliding has helped lift the blinds off his eyes and made him look at the world differently.
AP Quick 5-
1. The first place you paraglided - Kamshet, Pune
2. Your go-to place for paragliding in India-
Bir or Kamshet
3. Your dream destination in the world - Alps/ Oludeniz, Turkey/ Dune Du Pyla, France
4. Your favourite Instagram account related to the sport - Theo Deblic, Tim Alongi, Artivicial
5. A book/movie on the sport that you love - Weightless by Jean Baptiste Chandelier
AP: What got you first interested in the sport?
Pratik: I have always loved the outdoors and wanted to experience it more. I would keep researching about what can one do in India. I came across tandem paragliding in Pune and thought I will give it a try because it's a 3 hour drive from Mumbai (where I live).
AP: How did you start out?
Pratik: While I was researching for a good tandem flight school, I realised all of these schools also conduct courses to develop independent pilots and I decided that I might as well learn and see how it goes.
I started with a 3 day P1 course with my friend in Kamshet, Pune and we had a blast. I went on to become a kid again. Everyday felt like a picnic. How a kid feels a day before going to the picnic not being able to sleep, excited in the bus and feeling out of breath when at the picnic spot. I later went on to complete the 20 days course.
I got into the sport really not knowing how vast this sport is and so much it has to offer. For the uninitiated it might look like jumping out and coming down in a parachute (yeah people tell me that literally) but it's so much more than that.
AP: What changed in your life after you started paragliding?
Pratik: I think Paragliding has changed my perspective how one looks at life. Suddenly it feels very short because there are so many experiences to enjoy. Not just Paragliding, I feel any outdoor sports brings you that perspective. It also helps make oneself independent as you are in control of your Paraglider and so are in life.
Every action determines where does a paraglider leads you. You start owning up to your actions. Become responsible. Paragliding opened up new horizons for me. It literally lifted the blinds off my eyes and made me look at the world differently.
City life consumes you, outdoors liberate you. My advice for everyone is choose one sport that helps you get outdoors.
AP: Who do you usually go paragliding with? Pratik: I usually go alone. But the beauty is you meet so many interesting people from different walks of life while paragliding, it such an experience. Sharing the sky with a random paraglider during your XC, soon you start following each others lines, mark thermals for them, ahhhh, can't explan it or put it in words. Although I am alone on most of my trips, it's never lonely.
AP: What are some of you favourite moments while playing the sport?
Pratik: 1. Smooth takeoff
2. The Himalayan Griffon vultures marking the thermals for me taking me upto 3853 without any instruments and the sight of the mightly Dhauladhar back mountains (range of Himalayas) 3. Happy and soft landings on feet
AP: Any good stories to share?
Pratik: Flying into a cloud! - Do I need to tell more?
AP: Till when in the future do you see yourself paragliding?
Pratik: I think every sport is a lifestyle choice. So I haven't thought it out that far, but let's hope it's long.Till my body permits
AP: What would be some advice you’d give someone who’s just starting out?
Pratik: Be Patient
Give it time and Find the time
Trust your instructors
Be fearless but yet grounded
Keep studying - yes you need to keep studying about Paragliding
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