B.A.S.E Jumping in India
First time I heard of base-jumping I didn’t quite knew what it’s all about and why it’s called B.A.S.E. jumping. All I knew was that some crazy ass dude jumps off a building with a parachute on his back and than lands with his chute open like he is Ethan hunt or something. Most of the people in India would have the same perception about base jumping as I had or they might be completely unknown to the phenomena.
The first legally recorded base jump in India was attempted 4 years ago by an India army colonel Satyendra Verma. He jumped off a 450 ft. TV tower in New Delhi making history as the first Indian to successfully B.A.S.E. jump from a building. It took him almost a year to get the permissions for this jump. This was for 100 years celebrations of the Army corps.
That was 2010 but things have changed since then. Skydiving as a sport has also caught on the imagination of the young guns of the country with several sky diving schools opening up in the country. However keeping sky diving schools up and running requires a lot many things including a lot of money and connections with the government authorities. Skydiving is a starter activity, one starts with it and then move on to other dangerous stuff like wing suit jumping and B.A.S.E jumping. But in India it’s still a occurrence and thus makes B.A.S.E jumping even a rarer one to experience.
Luckily out of the billion or so Indians there are still few athletes who are trying to skydive, base jump and for the love of the sport. One of them is Aishwarya Yadav fondly called Aish. He has successfully attempted 2300 skydives, 30 BASE jumps and 40 wing suit jumps (at the time of writing this article). He has the USPA Skydiving Coach and Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Instructor ratings from United States Parachute Association. He is got almost all the records and certificates that probably no one has in the country for skydiving. He is the only Indian who has come this far only because his sheer determination and love for the sport. I asked him why he keeps jumping off; he says it’s his dope, his way of connecting with god. This is what keeps his dreams alive every night and all he can think of is the next jump.
Aish along with his B.A.S.E jumper friend Ivgeni from Russia have attempted India’s first urban B.A.S.E jump. Both of them jumped one after the other flying like phantoms of the night and landing on the freaking road. The guards on duty that night didn’t knew what had hit ‘em and they wouldn’t understand that they witnessed India’s first urban B.A.S.E jump that night. Before this an urban B.A.S.E jump was attempted 4 years ago with media coverage and full blown crew but for me the first real urban B.A.S.E jump would be the one when 4-5 people went out at 3 am in the night, found a building of more than 300 ft. height, filmed the whole thing and 2 of them jumped off into the night just because they wanted to jump so badly and to be able to be free again even if only for 5-6 seconds.
After this they both attempted another B.A.S.E jump and no body came to know about it. So if you ask me how is the B.A.S.E jumping seen in India is, I would say it is almost absent saving only few renegades like Aish who are living life on the edge and enjoying the thrills because they know nothing else will ever match what they feel in that 5 second flight of fantasy.
B.A.S.E jumping is a highly dangerous and covert sport no matter what country of the world you are in and India is no different. The good thing is that like everywhere else being a forsaken activity the charm and attraction of B.A.S.E jumping is same in India and there are few Indians like Aish who’s got the balls to jump off with only their knapsack to carry them home.