Do I die by jumping from this sheer cliff?
If anybody had asked this question to me, I would have said, “No, I can live. Yes, I can live before my head smashes hard to the rocky floor, Yes I live for some moment before my all conscious rips apart.” However, I will die at last. This is ultimate result of jumping from such height. Who thinks of surviving from such jump?
View from the Cliffside is awesome. The cliff is immediate to ocean floor. There is one lighthouse at some distance in the ocean. Weather is soothing with little warm breeze. Sun is blushing with red orange colors while playing with ocean tides. It is popular romantic destination for couples and newbie alike in whole of country.
However, a woman in her late twenties, with beautiful face asking such question is really heart breaking. It concerned me. In fact, it distracted from my usual work. Taking photographs of people, nature was my little obsession amidst my busy work as research physics professor in nearby University. Whenever there is break in university, I would fly to this place. Its beauty always enchanted me. Specially sun set. It is one of the beautiful sunsets I ever seen. I was capturing an image of sun disappearing into flat horizon of mighty ocean from one side of chalky cliff. Bewildered by her suspicious query, I asked her,” Dear, why are you so depressed! Any problem?”
She is pretty yet her eyes were red and lifeless. Her head lowered, eye contact is meager. She looked other side. Some tears rolled over her cheek. She tried to hide it. She wore a black pajama and white color elbow sleeve top.
She iterated her question in loud voice. This time her voice is brisk and stubborn. Some of the evening walkers watched us.
“No Babe. Not at all. You can jump from this point and still survive. You can Fly Baby,” A woman voice echoed from behind her.
White woman in distress, and I in curiosity turned towards this new entry in our conversation. That Bold woman walked up to tip of the cliff. Stood on the edge for a while, glanced at the rock bottom floor. She walked back to her bag pack.
“Professor, can you hold this time watch and calculate the height of this cliff for me?” She is courteous. Yes, I am, bit of a celebrity atleast in this part of the world. I take wonderful photographs of couples free of cost and email them handmade collages of photos. Many of my students loved my photography skills. I was unofficial photographer in their family functions and college functions alike. Photography is one thing, which enthralls me.
“ Yes my dear, are you going to jump from this cliff?”
“ No, I will not jump. I will fly from this cliff!” She said in bold confident voice.
“ Don’t you have fear of death?” Lady in white confronted her.
“ Yes, I fear death. I fear I may die without completing what I wanted to do. I fear death because death can happen at any time leaving little or no time to live graciously.” Lady in black suit garnered all her safety equipment, a camera to her helmet, Safety gears and shoulder strap altimeter.
“Look baby, I think you are heartbroken.” Confident Woman spell beans on Depressed woman.
“Professor, just hit clock when I drop this rock and I will let you know when to stop” she addressed me.
A standard Physics law, I calculated the height of the cliff. It is approximately 160 Meters.
“Wow, 160 meters. However, it is less compared to my last jump.”
Woman in white broke down at this point. She just sat on a small boulder and start sobbing. Women are unpredictable. When they cry, why they cry, what they say, what they want to hide, almighty still searching for it.
I along with woman in Black suit, sat aside sobbing woman trying to comfort her.
“My husband broke out with me; I have lost all of my savings supporting his senseless business Ideas. He betrayed me. He has another woman in his life. I am penniless now. I have nowhere to go.”
She explained how she fell in love with charming man two years ago, how he proposed her.
I came to know that she is only daughter of a business tycoon who has died last year before transferring all property to his son in law. Once transfer is over, her husband treated her as contempt. Now with all those wealth he has threatened to leave her in mental asylum on the pretext that she is behaving abnormally. She is depressed for a while. Truth was he gave some irrelevant medications to induce her some hallucinations. Now she left the house and wanted to end her life.
She spoke all her story in one blow. Black suit woman consoled her.
“ Look Baby, what you do when one of your hand is smashed in a boulder, you are fallen in cliff nowhere to be seen from outside world, you are miles away from food, water and first aid, No network coverage, unpredictable weather. Yet you are alive to witness the agonizing pain, hungry and dying thirst. What you do Baby?”
I think, woman in white clad never thought of such off limit life. She sat there without any words.
“ I don’t know?”
“ Look at that Dog without a hind leg. Yet it survives each single day. Does it think of committing a suicide?”
“ Dogs don’t think.”
“Exactly, Animals don’t think. No thinking power, No Hind legs yet it has survived. You are human. You can think. You have both hands, legs. Can you imagine how graciously you can live your life?”
“Look. I do not know you. You do not understand how big my problem is. All this philosophy shit, is good on papers, good on lectures. It is difficult to change the things in real life” Woman in white clad looked irritated.
“Everyone thinks their problem as big as universe. Just look at the world and see how lucky you are to have a caring father, charming womanhood, a husband and millions of wealth, wonderful memoirs”
“ A husband! Millions of Wealth! That is past.”
“ So why are you thinking of the things you can’t change then, all your past. You cannot stand against your husband right. Atleast stand for you. Stand for what you believe; stand for what you are.”
“Why should I live? My Husband does not love me. I am alone. Everyone says I am mentally sick. Tell me why I should live. Should I live to watch atrocities of my Husband or this society? Tell me, why should I live? “
There is lot pause after that. All I could hear is chirping voice of some birds, barking dog somewhere and sound of blowing wind from the ocean. That pause looked like eternity. Even Sun is exasperated to hear the answers for this. He also does the same thing. Sun wakes up at 6 and sets at 6 in evening, doing nothing. He travels horizon of sky from east to west. He is charming in morning and the evenings, but is like hot pan in afternoon. Somewhere in everyone’s life, this question could have arrived at one time or the other. Why should we live? Should we live for our family or should we live for our status. I was still seeking the answers. I had long asked this question to myself. Well, I never found satisfying answers.
I am listening to this conversation. We consider black color as the darkness, and white as purity and clear thoughts. Our considerations may be wrong. Today a woman in black suit is enlightening with her words of wisdom. Yes, I am elder to both of them by decades, However I never come in terms of wisdom that woman possessed. My life was easy from the beginning, No heartbreaks, no toiling. Only hard work is studying to secure admission in top university. When it is easy, there will be no great stories, no experience worth sharing. Wonderful lives always built on shakable grounds, fallen debris, and often failed attempts.
Woman in jump suit stood up and said,” It is time to jump and fly. I live everyday so that I could solo jump every single cliff around the world. That is what I believe” She adjusted all her gears, crosschecked all her safety measures. She winked at that depressed woman and me.
“ I don’t know what I believe, I do not trust myself” Depressed woman still needed some doses of wisdom.
“Do you believe that I can survive this jump?” Saying this Woman in black suit ran to cliff and jumped from the cliff in high uproar.
We followed her to cliff. Yes, she jumped. She is all wings now. It is moment to behold. Somewhere in the waves of the ocean, a small boat waited for her safe arrival. After flying for some time, she safely landed on the beach floor. She waved us and we waved back.
Depressed woman is not able to convince herself that someone indeed jumped from the cliff to live.
Sun has disappeared in vast ocean. I know he will reappear tomorrow searching for the same answers that both of us are seeking. I am seeking to escape from this monotonous life, while depressed woman may be seeking to escape from life itself.
A big cheering group of students interrupted our thoughts. They are there to take glance of the woman in black suit and her feet. Out of curiosity I asked one of the students,” who is she, why are you standing like this?” I forgot to ask her name. Sometime we do not remember faces or names, yet some persons play an important part in our life.
“She is A J, Famous wing suit and Bungee Jumper! “ Someone yelled.
“Do you know her story? It is inspiring. She lost her parents at the age of six, Suffered sexual, Drug abuse in early childhood. Her boyfriend tortured her, broke her arm. He left her in filth to rot. Somehow, she survived. She ran from her home, tried to commit suicide. Somewhere in the line, she started bungee jumping. She always says, biggest fear we should have is not of death, but dying before actual death. “Yet another young girl from group expressed the truth in lot of enthusiasm.
Depressed woman is horrified to know this. AJ Never looked like a ultimate survival of all those hellish life. AJ is may be in Mid thirties, however her age, her past life, her sufferings never appeared on her confident face. She looked lively ,full of vigor and confident. Depressed woman had said that her problem is big. However, it is not big as AJs.
As AJ arrived to the main road, all groups ran towards her. AJ came towards me and said,
“Well , Professor, we live for what we believe we can do ,Is not it.”
I nodded in silence. Yes, we live to our beliefs. Depressed woman wanted to end life, since she did not believed in herself.
“Watch this Movie “127 Hours” if you want to know what you should do when a boulder smashed your hand and you fell in cliff alive.” She handed over her favorite movie DVD to the depressed Woman.
One year has passed to that incident now. I am enjoying a retired life along with my DSLR camera all around the country. AJ is still jumping from the cliffs all around the world to live her life to the fullest and depressed woman has started her own flower business in the town. Although it is small, it is running good. She said she learned how to make bouquets in her childhood. She is really good at it.
We three hang out with each other on very month end on same old cliff. Whenever I see the sun disappearing every evening, I think he too has the answer for question, “Why should we live”. He is now seems to be happy with his routine. Sun live everyday because he believes his everyday bored routine betters every living being on earth, it rejuvenates everything on this earth.
Author: Bharat Patil