They say- “Truth is stranger than fiction”. Our life can be amazing, and difficult to believe sometimes. A lot of things happen with or without any meaning, and like the butterfly effect- a chain of events happen!
Take the life of Shital Mahajan.
A chance meeting with her friend’s brother- an Air Force Officer, in the year 2002, led Shital to be introduced to skydiving. She decided to learn the basics from him then. So intrigued was she by the adventure in the sport, that she decided to go in for further training. However, at that time, a civilian could not be trained within the country and had to go abroad, if he desired to pursue his passion of skydiving.
In a society, where the percentage of girls into adventure sports is almost negligible, the biggest challenge Shital had to face was to remove the stereotypical thought about women from people’s minds. Her parents weren’t convinced. In a family where no one had travelled in an aircraft, you surely don’t jump off it! And beside girls can’t do such dares. This is what her family had to say.
But with a strong determination, she convinced them, that her passion lay in sky diving and if she were to die it would solely be her responsibility. It did take her a considerably long time to get her parents to be on the same bandwagon as her, but eventually she did manage to convince them through.
There was no looking back after that. On 18th April 2004, she became the first woman in the world to execute a sky-dive from the North Pole from a height of 2400 feet, and that too without any prior training. Without any land to set her feet on, she landed on an ice slope in sub- zero temperature of minus 37 degrees. In 2006, Shital performed the sky fall from both South Pole and North Pole, yet again the first woman in the world to do so.
Today, Shital has many feathers on her cap. Five world records, fourteen National records and a Padmshri Award, at the age of 34, she has achieved great accolades. Shital has to her credit over 650 jumps.
And here’s something that’s far more interesting. In April 2008, Shital married software engineer Vaibhav Rane in a unique wedding that was conducted in a hot-air balloon near Pune, 600-feet above the ground.
Shital Mahajan is truly born for the blue skies. She has come a long way- from her intial days to being a world record holder now.
*Featured image: Mid-day.com