Would you get on that ride?

Ferris Wheel

The ride I took in Hong Kong and it was safe.

As that small car started to go up in the air, I could feel my thirteen year old heart beating in my mouth. Closing my eyes was as scary as letting them stay open. The giant rotating wheel was now rotating on its axle and then each car attached to the wheel was rotating on its own. Twenty rounds in one direction and then the next twenty in the other was how it worked. Slowly picking up speed and to an extent that the car would turn upside down while rotating. It was supposed to be the most thrilling part of the ride.

We were visiting the Fantasy Land in Mumbai. The famous Essel World was far away and the adults knew children would have as much fun at any amusement park.

We picked up this ride as a warm up to what was to follow. There were roller coasters, giant swings and a free fall too. My cousins were excited and this ride was a silly game for them. Standing in the line and waiting my turn, all I felt was fear. One after the other as people moved, it was our turn to get on the ride. My uncle sat with me. Once the ride picked up speed, I had  squeezed my eyes shut and I slowly drifted into unconsciousness. I remember a slight commotion, the ride stopping and my uncle helping me out of the car. I knew I was out before the next twenty rounds had even started.

Once out of that giant wheel, I threw my fear out. The commotion was still there and now I watching what I had just walked away from. I felt relaxed and better. I was out of what did not let me breathe.

From that first ride to the next one in 2015 at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong, not much has changed. I am not an adventure seeking human. The adrenaline rush that many crave for is not my idea of fun. I try to avoid such parks as much as possible. Let’s accept that ‘amusement’ is not the right word for it. Have you walked in any park where the sign board reads ‘not for people with blood pressure’ or ‘you should have xx height to enter’?

Over the last few years, I tried two slow ones in Hong Kong and then recently a tilt in Chicago. When I watch people take any ride, I need to believe that it is not as bad as it looks. If it scares me, I am out. A snap of finger and I get to know it’s not my cup of tea. But if I can watch it and see that it isn’t as risky, then I am okay to play along.

Generalizing is not the right thing but as I think through, this has been my approach in life too. I can jump into tricky situations after I have had thought and analysed the pros and cons. If it’s not too pushing I will be in but if it takes my all, I am not. I keep moving the bar forward every time. So, yes I am not closed on an idea. Career risks, taking chances with the kind of people I meet, and life situations are same as getting on a ride where things will either be too high in the air or will turn upside down.

There is no magic potion but just that introspection and the belief that it is possible. Or may be not. At the Tilt in Chicago, I wanted to do it. Not that it was easy but I was able to see that the architecture would not let me fall from a thousand feet and the view would be stunning. I would be doing it with eight other people and that I am not in it to die.

I could hear my heart beating but it wasn’t pounding and I was right in anticipating that it wasn’t as scary as it looked.


Writing for the non-fiction grid at Yeah Write #354 this week.

46 Responses

  1. I always had a thrill going on rides even though they were scary. It’s been a while I must admit and yet, I’m always intrigued and open to doing it again. Regarding your writing, I loved the intro and the build up but would’ve liked to have known more of the experience on The Tilt before the lessons learnt.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I think rappelling was one thing I enjoyed and did twice. Other than that, once is enough for me.
      Thanks for that feedback, Sanch! A lot of people have mentioned that so it’s something I am also seeing as workable.

  2. Sara says:

    I am so scared of rides and rollercoasters that I try to stop my husband and son from trying them, though they don’t listen to me:( But as you said taking the plunge is important to conquering the fear. Hope I can do that some day.

  3. Stacie says:

    I love roller coasters, haha. But the rides I have trouble with these days are the really super spinny ones – they make me sick to my stomach!
    Stacie recently posted…How to Survive a Bomb CycloneMy Profile

  4. Danielle says:

    Parul, I love rides but hate heights and that tilt in Chicago looks terrifying! The beginning of your essay was good. I got sucked into the action of the ride. But I wish you would have showed me your experience of the tilt, through your eyes instead of telling me what you learned.

  5. Michelle H says:

    I liked touches like “the famous Essel World was far away”. It was a clean way of putting these locations into a context for those of us who don’t know them. The beginning of this piece was clear and sharp. I understood your fear. For me, the piece started to lose that sharpness towards the end. I got the sense that this is an experience you think about but I’m not sure that I really understood the lesson you learned.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I like the parallels drawn between rollercoasters, life and leaps of faith. A very intriguing concept but it certainly works!
    I think that last paragraph could be broken into a couple of shorter sentences. Overall though, a very thoughtful essay indeed. 🙂

  7. upasna says:

    I am not scared of them but I have motion sickness and it makes me really sick. However, I tried to push myself many times. Paragliding was a lovely experience but yes, I could not control belching. It’s nice to push the boundaries but then you should not lose everything over it. Rt? I avoid adventurous rides now.

  8. Vidya Sury says:

    As a child I used to love the adrenaline rush of giant wheels and the tora, tora, tora. I loved the light-headed feeling. Later, I realized I have light vertigo–looking down from the fourth floor of a building can freak me out. Then, when Vidur was 8, I took him on one of those horizontal thingies similar to a giant wheel–I forget the name. He enjoyed it tremendously while I couldn’t wait for the ride to finish. I am not sure if I’ll get on one of these now. But I wouldn’t mind trying.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Sometimes, less is moreMy Profile

  9. Love the capture! And love how this post roller coaster from playful rides to life introspection! I’m not as cautious or thoughtfully analysed in life as you are. It is a great quality to have! I’m learning it the hard way! 😉
    As for rides, I’ve said my goodbyes a long time back! There’s enough exhilaration and that rush people talk about in life, why to on scary rides for that! 😄
    Aditi Kaushiva recently posted…Mindfulness, Meditation and Migraine #AditisPenMy Profile

  10. I am deathly scared of roller coasters, bungee jumping, catapult, para gliding. I just cannot do it. I believe that if it isn’t for you, you shouldn’t venture into it. But that said, there are some things you can aim to overcome if you feel it’s reasonably within your comfort zone or marginally outside of it. For me, at the moment, it’s learning about tricky concepts in blogging and come February, will be a whole new adventure that I am plunging into. Hoping the risk is worth taking 🙂
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…An Anniversary of a HomeMy Profile

    • Parul Thakur says:

      Wow! Looking forward, Shailaja! I think you have the risk appetite but yes, you are someone who would want to know the pros and the cons. So I get you. Good luck and know that we are with you!

  11. I don’t remember if I experienced the Tilt in Sears Tower or was it even there 12 years ago but if I get a chance I will do it. I might as well go on roller coasters, the forward moving ones, and not the circular moving ones. Yet, I won’t go for more than one such ride in a day. Limited risk-taking is what I believe in 😀
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…Castles in the sky #WordlessWednesday 12My Profile

  12. I generally dont do these rides, but on a recent trip to universal studios in Singapore, I was literally dragged by my husband to sit through a 360 degree roller coaster. Once I sat, everything went blur. I still am trying to figure out what exactly happened. the only thing I remember was seeing the world from high up, me dangling literally in the air..

  13. Vinitha says:

    I won’t. I used to get on such rides but after a bad experience, I have never stepped on any such rides. It’s been 9 years. But now seeing how Kanna also is not ready to try out roller coasters or any such rides, I am leaning towards riding again. Probably I will. Nah, I can’t. I don’t know!
    Vinitha recently posted…International Blog Delurking Week 2018My Profile

  14. magiceye says:

    Have done most of the rides, but just once each, for the experience. Prefer the natural adventures like rafting, scuba diving, para sailing. Have yet to try bungee jumping and skydiving. On my bucket list 🙂

  15. Rajlakshmi says:

    I haven’t been on a ride for over 4 years now so don’t know how I will react, but I love all the crazy ones. That rush and the fear… It’s feels so alive 😀 the last awesome ride I went to was called Superman and went from 0 to 100kpm in 2 seconds. I don’t like the ones that keep rotating at one end. Gives me a really bad motion sickness.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…I spy a magical skyMy Profile

  16. Anita says:

    I realized how scared I was when I first took a ride! From the outside it looked easy & everyone seems to enjoy those 🙂
    Anita recently posted…Captured!My Profile

  17. Okay I am shit scared of these roller coasters. I have been on a few and I did not find the experience pleasant. I only like the really easy going ones and others well I just give them a miss. While the husband and the kids are more thrill seekers, I sit out most times people watching or reading a book. 🙂

  18. Suzy says:

    I agree with you. These are definitely not amusement parks. I hate going on these rides but my daughter loves them
    Suzy recently posted…Like A Cat … #PASC0118 #MicroblogMondays #MondayMusings #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  19. Shilpa Gupte says:

    I will NEVER get into a roller coaster, ever! Actually, I have also lost the guts to get into a giant wheel! I, too, don’t find such ‘adventures’ exciting. Moe than that, they make me nervous. I can so relate to your post, Parul! Every word resonated with me! 🙂

  20. I don’t think i have the guts to go on that ride 😀 , i am sure i will be screaming as hell when i am on that ride LOL.
    Shruti Shankar recently posted…Earn Your StripesMy Profile

  21. Soumya says:

    Looks like both my comments here today will be about phobias! I have partial vertigo. Meaning, I can go up but will never look down and while coming down I might have a heart-attack. As long as I go up and stay there I’m fine. But if things rotate, move upside-down, bobble or come down with speed or even slowly, I shall never do it. I remember going to Essel World as part of our 10th started school outing in Mumbai and I bravely sat in something called ‘Thunder’. It was this thing like the hands of a clock and moved rounds in random. Freaky as hell it was. After that amusement parks are not for me. I’m not such an adventure junkie. I’d rather travel and trek for that adrenaline rush.

    You did the tilt? Wow, you are one of the most bravest women I know. You already were, but now more so.
    Soumya recently posted…Earn Your StripesMy Profile

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I have seen videos of that ride, thunder. Super scary. Yes, I would too trek instead of bungee jump 😉
      On the Tilt, let me tell you it was easy. Trust me when I say that.

  22. Alice Gerard says:

    I rode on a roller coaster once. It was fun at first and I was screaming gleefully. When I stopped screaming, it was because I needed to close my eyes and talk myself into believing that I wasn’t really suffering from motion sickness. Unfortunately, motion sickness isn’t too easy to hide.

  23. I did that ride in the photo. It is not as scary as it looks. I loved it. Only last year I ignored my fears and tried the scary roller coasters with my spouse. I didn’t have any fun but my target was just not to be scared. I closed my eyes for most of the ride :p

    • Parul Thakur says:

      Yes, this ride was decent. Since it was drizzling that day, I did catch cold. But yes, roller coaster would be no-no this side. In Macau, there is this one that makes a 8 in the air. Super scary!

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