I never did understand why they called it the bunny slopes...
...until I saw the kids scamper up and down with ease. I stood on top and looked down at this "ski slope for beginners", my heart skipping a beat. "Come on!" yelled Akshay - my husband and instructor. He was standing at the bottom madly waiving his arms urging me to come down. I could barely hear him, the wind and the chatter of the kids (or was that my teeth?) making it hard to hear what was, I hoped, his words of encouragement.
I stood on top, literally frozen in the snow. There was no freakin' way I was reaching down there in a single piece. While I stood there imagining broken limbs and an injured ego, a little three feet nothing runt whizzed past me yelling "Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Mama is a chicken!" She waved her elbows up a down imitating a mother hen and reached the end of the slope before I could get a word in. My loving daughter. She began skiing at three-and-half and was already two years ahead of my non-existent experience.
I had little choice. It was now or never. Like a puttering motorbike that's got dirt in its carburetor, I stumbled my way down, until the slope decided to do its job and slid me down at a pace I didn't appreciate. I landed in an ungainly heap at the bottom, the pride more hurt than any part of my body. "Brilliant !" beamed the husband, "now let's get you on the ski lift."
My nemesis - the darn ski lift
The ski lift was my nemesis. It's basically a constantly moving bar that you need to hold on to while it takes you gliding up the slope. Only with me, I never glided up anywhere. I fell within the first three seconds. I had been falling for the last five years. I would fall 50 - 60 times in a day, the left side of my body bruised blue, but I still never managed to master the bar lift.
"No!" I shuddered, "can't do that." "Can't mama?" squeaked the runt, "you said there's no word like can't." She was right. There wasn't. And so I picked myself up, stood in the lift line for the thousandth time, ready to take another beating. "Just make sure your shins touch your ski boots at all times and don't sit on the bar!" Last minute instructions I had heard 999 times. I grabbed the bar, mumbling under my breath "shins to boots...shins to boots...shins to boots. Sai help me do this."
I guess He heard me. I didn't fall. I was up on top of the slope within 30 seconds. It was a miracle!
You can do it
And that's how I learnt to ski. I was 50 and my daughter was 5. Today, I ski down Phase 1 of the Kongdori station at Gulmarg and manage the Blue and Red runs in the Italian Dolomites.
And my adventures again taught me some lessons. It's never too late to do something for the first time. It's never too late to learn a new skill. And it's definitely never too late to achieve the impossible!
Dilshad is an inspirational speaker and is invited by corporates and institutions to speaks on topics closest to her heart. Being a cancer survivor, her talks focus on doing what you always thought was "impossible" and turning that into "I'm possible" (with due credit to the great Audrey Hepburn!)