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If not now, when? If not here, where? – 1

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Forty plus, Indian, who had never seen a snow fall in life, had been near snow only once, takes a decision to learn skiing. Uncomfortable, scary, hilarious. Well, mostly hilarious !!!

Indian skiing for the first time. Learning to ski for the first time.

If not now when, if not here, where? Yes, that has been my mantra and guiding force since I began comfortably (for most parts) settling down in Munich in 2015. Also, having entered into the fourth decade might have played an important role in my embracing this philosophy. Like I said, Munich has been my tryst with challenging my mental blocks and pushing my boundaries. And it began with skiing.

When I first read the school information about their ski training, I was very sure to enrol both my children into it. But I never thought of trying it out myself. Having set foot on a snow capped mountain only once in my life time, let alone going on the ski slopes, my clueless ignorant self had absolutely no idea what skiing entailed. Had I even a slightest inkling about what it demands, I probably would not have been so fast in committing to it. They don’t say ‘ignorance is bliss’ for nothing.

So this journey, which for me was nothing less than a nerve wrecking battle with the almighty gravity, began with the most fun activity… shopping. Even though I could not understand why everything needed to be thick, heavy and most uncomfortable, I was curious and enamoured by the fuss of it all.

We had committed seven Saturdays to skiing, and as is the law of nature, it began with the first Saturday. We woke up at 4 am, got ready, packed some sandwiches, carried all our equipment which had already started to feel like a ton to me, went to Stanberg station and boarded the bus to go to the beautiful snow capped mountains of Austria. We met several other parents, most of whom were pro at skiing. I remember how keenly I listened to their stories. They were using jargons that I had never heard before and were describing their past adventures and especially mis adventures in greater detail. Looking at my awe-filled, clueless, curious and nervous face, many of them told me that it’s going to be ok and I will enjoy my first day tremendously. Ya Right!

As the destination approached, everyone began wearing their ski boots…easy peasy, one would say. I had tried my boots on a few days ago, so how difficult could it be. Ahem, I realised that my feet and the boots were not the best of pals. First of all I could not distinguish the right boot from the left, then my feet refused to go inside the boots…they just refused, they simply said NO. My right ankle hated the boot so much that it threw a tantrum and threatened to have a ligament injury if I forced it into the shoe. Somehow I stuffed them in, but then the boots refused to buckle.They didn’t want anything to do with my feet either and they just refused to buckle, they simply said NO. Finally, my husband came to my rescue and the deed got done. All this in the narrow leg space of the bus with the bus moving. Then came on the helmet. Thankfully, it liked my head and created no fuss.

Armed with ski costume, boots, helmet and gloves, I was ready to go, mind you, ready to go, not rearing to go. Each step in the ski boots was heavy and rigid and my full attention was on ensuring how not to fall on the second one. I actually felt like an Astronaut. It was as if we were all getting out of the bus to go on a space mission! I don’t want to exaggerate here, but I think Astronauts have it a little easy….you see, at least they don’t have to fight the gravity. The have to fight the lack of it, which is another story…their story, not mine.

And so there I was, struggling to carry my poles and skis (man, they are heavy), struggling to put one step ahead of the other, struggling to keep myself upright on snow, struggling to ensure that my skis don’t bang into someone’s head, struggling to ensure that my head doesn’t bang on their skis (which would have most likely been on account of my fault not theres). Yes, struggling seemed to be the running theme of the day. And I didn’t enjoy it a bit.

As I was moving towards the ski instructor, I had only one thought in my mind…is it worth it?

And as I saw all the children and adults moving about with their gears with the ease of a skilful navigator, I wondered…will I ever be able to do that?

And as I had my first fall while walking towards my instructor, I worried…will I quit?

But no, I didn’t…else I probably wouldn’t be writing about it.

So stay tuned for the rest of the (mis)adventure.


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