One of my friends asked in his Facebook status what was our most memorable moment of the year. I couldn't decide if I should choose one of the happy moments or pick from one that changed the course of my life forever.
After two days of being busy with my life, I pondered over it again and realized that while happy/sad moments can lose their significance over time, nothing can ever compare to the finality of death. Those moments when you are not sure if you will survive.
On top of the list is the time I made that stupid decision to climb down from Louisa point in Matheran. This was in the monsoon of 2007. I saw a goat walking down on a narrow 1 foot wide pathway and followed it only to realize that there was a 150 feet drop on one side. I was walking with my back to the valley, holding on to the hill with both hands. The road had wet gravel and.... I slipped -- my hand instinctively grabbed at the side of the hill and the grass/gravel combo came in my hand. For the next 10 seconds that I was frozen at that spot sure that I was living my last moments. With encouragement from Suhas and Mahesh I managed out from there. I realized pretty early in my trekking life where to draw the line between being brave and being dead.
Another time was when on the Thunder ride at Esselworld -- the harness I was tied down with was loose and I thought it would come off any second and I would fall down on the ground. That would have been a terrible way to die :D
The ferris-wheel ride at Mahabaleshwar. It was a pretty small wheel but I could see a lake far away down in the valley and the height (even in pitch darkness) scared me like nothing else. I was screaming to be let down throughout the ride and later closed my eyes and grabbed the rails. Ved and Rashmi had a lot of fun at my expense.
When the clouds came down on Sagargad and a lightning struck meters away from the tree we were under. Me and Jinesh had no clue what to do next, the tree we were under was a potential death trap but stepping outside wasn't any safer.
My first Rajmachi trek where we survived 5 hours in the blazing March sun without food and water. I was confident I would live only after I had reached the base village.
The epic climb of Taramati from Harishchandragad - stuck on a 90 degree incline with no way in sight.
Dozens of times on the bike. Reasons varying from little girls running onto the main road in a small hamlet before Alibag, cars/buses breaking all road rules to put me in a situation where I have to swerve/brake hard or do both at the same time (Pen/Malshej/Powai/NH17).
The time I felt this piercing pain in my chest at 3 in the night, I remember, I even wrote down a note, just in case I dropped dead. As you guessed, I lived to tell the tale.