Slack Life

People always ask me why do your risk death? For me, this is life –
Philippe Petit in The Walk

Highlining is an extreme sport. Being an ardent rock climber, I
remember watching online videos of Dean Potter, an American climber
highlining between two mountains. At the end of one such video, I
thought of giving it a try. With zero access to any equipment or
knowledge about other experienced highliners in India, I and a friend
brought an industrial tape and rigged our first highline in November
2014. It was a disaster. I couldn’t walk a single step.

But then if we don’t have failures, how would we know what to do next?
After that first unsuccessful attempt, I discovered two other Indian
highliners through social media. Over the last 2 years, we’ve
practiced hard, learnt from our mistakes and have successfully
completed highlines in Sahyadri and Karnataka. From 3 highliners back
in 2014, today we are more than 11 (and growing) of us passionate
about taking this sport to the rest of the country. Plus, when you
have friends like Samar, pioneer of highlining in India, Bhupesh, who
keeps setting new records, Ganesh, who helped me rig the first
highline (and all others after that), Shivam and Mihir who make
adventure films on highliners, you know you are in a good place.

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This sport has made me stronger not just physically, but also mentally
and emotionally. And yes, sometimes it gets difficult to maintain a
balance not just on the line but also between my passion and my
responsibilities at home / work. But then life is all about balancing,
right!

Every time I walk on the highline, there is nervousness, there is
fear, there is emotion but when all of it is finally overcome, what is
left is just me and the other side of the line. There is no thinking,
no judgements; the only focus being the next step. It is almost like
meditation. It is food for my soul!

– As told by Rohit Vartak

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