• Padmja Sopori

Gliding By

At some point in our lives, most of us have wished we could fly, but modern-day science hasn't yet invented a personal mechanical strap-on set of wings that'll let us soar the skies. Skydiving is the closest we've come to actually fly, but what about the people that don't have an aeroplane to jump out of? The ultimate fly-like-a-bird sport of paragliding. Hobbyist World got candid with Vishal Dadlani about his love for paragliding.

Why do you think it's important to have a hobby?

I didn't think so at all, until relatively recently. My job was always my hobby. I have the privilege of making music and playing concerts for a living, so I was living the dream. Once I found paragliding, though, I never wanted to come back down to earth.

How did you get started with your hobby?

I saw a few gliders over the expressway one weekend, and I was curious. Serendipitously, I met someone who flew at Kamshet fairly regularly. Then, a Facebook friend of mine re-introduced me to Anita and Avi at Temple Pilots, the school where I learn. About two years after I had their number, I finally managed to call, set a date and show up at the school. At the end of day 1, I was exhausted but hooked.

How do you take out time to pursue your hobby?

I don't get nearly as much time as I'd like, but if you love something, you figure out the time. I steal away on weekends, festivals, birthdays, Christmas and New Year's (these, regularly since 2017) to go flying.

How long have you been flying for?

Been learning since the end of 2016.

What has been your favourite place to fly?

Well, so far I've only flown in Kamshet and over Pawna lake, aside from a tandem ride, I did in Himachal, which doesn't count. I'm going to Bali with the school, this August, so I think that might make the list. However, I'll be honest, anywhere that lets you, get in the air, is a good place to fly.

What is your dream destination for flying?

The Himalayas, to begin with. Hoping to do that, this October. I also want to do the Panchgani Cross Country flights a few times. Then I want to do a tour of all the fly-sites in Europe, and the new ones that are opening up. I want to fly in the desert in the UAE too, perhaps next year. I want to fly everywhere that offers the possibility of take-off and landing.

To find out more about paragliding, you can read our previous article here.