He was clumsy at almost everything that required any sort of physical exertion; litheness was an unattainable pursuit. Goddamn genes. Yet, there he stood, at the edge of what he was told was a 50 meter drop. Nausea set in. It wasn’t too late to back out; but what would he tell them?

“Hey Earl, has anybody died abseiling?”

“Fifty meter drop. Death is being optimistic.” Condescending chuckle.


“Nope. Nobody’s died.”

Taking a deep breath, he looked at the gear he had on; like a chastity belt. Everything seemed so tight and restricting. That was how it was supposed to be he assured himself. He buckled himself on to the belay device that went through a set of pulleys and other contraptions that were meant to keep him from having to depend on himself. He tried recollecting the coefficient of rolling friction and felt safer. Deep breaths, Earl kept telling him.

“You have to enjoy the moment man, it’s pointless doing this otherwise.”

“Hey Earl, I think my legs are shaking. Is that going to be a problem?” Beads of sweat made their way from his forehead to his lips.

“Self awareness is the key.”

“What the hell am I supposed to be aware of?” He slowly leaned back and felt the rope tighten around his waist. Craning sideways, he took in the view. It was a long way down.

“You aren’t a separate entity. One with the rock. One.” Tree hugging bastard.

“Earl, I think I want to come back up.”

“You’re not coming back up. Lean back and trust the rope. Ten year olds do this, you little shit. Work your fingers through the buckle and slowly loosen your grasp on the rope. You won’t fall.” A beat. “If nothing, you will have learnt something about yourself today.”


He did as he was told and felt himself being lowered. Confidence rushed in from nowhere. He let a little more rope go and swung wildly scraping his knee on a jutting rock. Great day to wear shorts. He paused for a minute to collect himself. People do this everyday. Why was he making this seem so hard?

As he felt warm blood trickle down his knee, he suddenly felt more alive; more determined to see this through. Sometimes, all it takes is a knee-scrape. On his way down, he bruised himself a couple of times more but was no longer perturbed. Pain was a only a sensation, he told himself. He smiled at his borderline masochism.

Feet on hard earth again, he felt the rush of accomplishment, fleeting as it was. Sun beating on his face, he looked back to where Earl was.

“Hey Earl, I want to do this again.”

“Climb back up then.”


9 Responses to “Fifty”

  1. When did you…er…he do this bro?

    p.s. Looks like you and Earl had a lot of ‘fun’.

  2. Shouldn’t this post have been up long ago?? Nicely put though. Was worth the wait.

  3. @baph Um…he did it like a month back. I think. Fun is a relative term bro.

    @indisch What now? How do you know this post is late? :\

  4. 4 bpsk

    I remember hating the first time I went rappelling. The second time onwards was a lot of fun.

  5. @Prestidigitator:
    It’d suffice to say, hamare jasoos chaaron aur phaile hue hain… meaning, our agents are spread all around.

  6. 6 Ravenent

    Very well written indeed!

  7. @bpsk Yeah I’ll tell you how that goes when/if I do it for the second time. 🙂

    @indisch As much as I’d like to come up with a clever retort in Hindi, I can’t. Too much effort. 🙂

    @ravenent Um…ok? Thankyou?

  8. @Prestidigitator: So, when are you hooking up (pun intended) with Earl for another go at dangling?


  9. @baph Thanks to that link, not anytime soon. :\

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