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Chill thrills

It happened one afternoon a few years ago. The venue was Fantasy Land, our very own local theme park... Sneha Mahale on a ride from hell.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2009 14:58 IST
Sneha Mahale

Can you imagine the dread one goes through when one is stuck to a joyride from the outside and can’t get free? What if the ride starts again and you are too shocked to scream? What do you do? Who do you turn to for help? And will help come on time?

Surprisingly, all these questions entered my head on that fateful day.. and that too at the same time. It happened one afternoon a few years ago. The venue was Fantasy Land, our very own local theme park.

Hair-raising ride
The occasion was simple.. an outing with friends to celebrate our first salary after a long month of summer internship. After the rush of the rollercoaster and other hair-raising rides, we were in the mood for something a tad tamer. So my friend, Vrushali and I headed off in the direction of what is still known as ‘The Octopus’.

The ride basically involves being strapped on to seats that rotate first at the ground level and then elevate slowly skyward.. circulating round and round on what resembles the tentacles of an Octopus. The speed of each turn increases as one reaches the top.

My friend and I found the ride a bit too juvenile and were looking forward to hitting the rollercoaster again. So with much excitement and anticipation, I got off the contraption. But to my horror, it came crashing down.

Too stunned
My shoelaces had gotten caught inside the carriage as I had started to get out. Even as I lay flat on the ground, attempts to untie them were rendered useless. The man handling the ride was on the opposite side.

As I was on the ground, I wasn’t within his vision range and he remained unaware of my dilemma. There weren’t too many people at the park that day and those next in line had already taken their seats by then.

By then my friend had started off towards the roller coaster, completely oblivious to my plight. But my biggest shock came when the ride started again, dragging me along the ground. Too stunned to react or scream, I didn’t know what to do.

Feeling numb
The only thought going through my head again and again was — what will happen now when this ride starts again? Will I be hanging upside down? Will my laces be able to hold me up? Or will I come crashing down? I was filled with pure dread — a kind of fear that I had never experienced before or since.

But someone was watching out for me that day. Visitors from the opposite ride managed to get the man handling the ride to shut it off and free me. You would think that once you are released from the ride, you would feel happy and relieved. But honestly, I was too numb to feel a thing and was shaking like a leaf. For the next half hour I had no idea about who I was, where I was or who was with me. I still can’t get on to the Octopus, but I hope to get there some day.