Tuesday, May 8, 2012

peer pressure.

I like to think of myself as a risk taker: I often find myself keen to push the limits, more than ready to take on new experiences and often times making rash decisions just because I feel like it and want a bit of excitement. Sure I might not be the toughest when it comes to monkeys, but aside from that, I have managed quite well for myself here in India.

So last night when my advisor group dared me to go on the local ferris wheel, I scoffed in their faces and got in line. Five minutes later I was more than ready to accept defeat.

Normally I don't even bother with the ferris wheel, deeming it too sissy for my tastes, and opting for the much more intense upside down roller coasters. But the ferris wheels, actually, any theme park ride, is not even close to comparable to those here; this was no 'normal' ferris wheel.

To begin with, there was no strap to keep my body from ejecting from the 'RIDE' at any given moment. There was a bar that was a good seven inches above my lap, and that was it. The seat I was in had to be about 40-50 years old, held together by rickety metal poles which were in some parts, almost completely rusted through. We had to sit individually, so I could not guilt trip my students,  there were absolutely no soft landing spots in the vicinity if I chose to jump (or fall), and above all, it was a man powered ferris wheel...
Who needs electronics when you can get a certifiably crazy man willing to risk his life contorting his body into crazy aerobic positions in order to make the wheel spin?
The thing about man power is that sometimes it is hard to stop; you gain the momentum and then you have to slow down; there is no instant abort button. We quickly gained momentum and my seat was rocking so hard that i was quite certain it would start flipping in circles at any second. This man had power, think the teacups at Disney on full speed mixed with the tilt a whirl from hell.
Certain of my impending death, I spent the ten minute 'experieince' with my eyes closed, arms gripped on the bars as tightly as possible, and mouth shut, afraid of the curse words I would begin to yell at the students if I opened it. Luckily, most of the kids were just as afraid as I was; turns out they talk big.
All in all, not the best ten minutes of my life. But, I have been meaning to ride the ferris wheel before leaving, and definitely will not need to do that again in life. Ever.

To get back at my advisees, I forced them to play dress up at one of the numerous tourist stands which line the bazaar these days, careful to remind them about lice as they put the head paraphernalia on. We were the source of entertainment for numerous tourists and locals, and the kids absolutely ate it up, fully embodying the Garhwali character presented by the hideous flee infested outfits.
As one of our last nights together as a group, it was absolutely wonderful; these ten students are definitely one of the things I will miss most.

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