Whoever said you cannot be too many things all at once, has clearly never met Avi Malik, one of the pioneers for paragliding in India.
Here’s a ‘tiny’ introduction to the man himself.
Avi Malik is an ex-Indian Air Force fighter pilot and a TedX speaker who later went on to open Templepilots Paragliding at Kamshet to bring to people the joy of flying after he himself experienced it for the first time. He is one of the front-runners for making Kamshet, Maharashtra a hub for paragliding in India and bringing it on the world map for paragliders.
Avi Malik is the only Indian to be a paragliding ‘master instructor’ qualified by the APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors), a world paragliding licensing association based out of Switzerland. Additionally, he is also a member of the pedagogical committee of APPI.
So to say, paragliding is the lesser mortals’ way of flying the free sky. It is popularly described as a recreational adventure sport that became popular only in the 1980s.
Paragliding and hang-gliding came into being as a result of the work of three aeronautical engineers who competed in the 1960s to design a parachute like device that could lower the Apollo space capsule to Earth gently on an angle.
Eventually, David Barish developed the design and went on to improve the paraglider into its current shape.
Temple Pilots Paragliding
Templepilots Paragliding that has created its firm base in Kamshet is credited with training over 1000 people in the basic paragliding course and giving the joy of flying tandem (with a trained pilot) for countless others. The company’s Facebook page is flooded with positive reviews of paragliding. While Templepilots have made sure that there is immense fun factor, there is no compromising on the safety.
After all you do not expect anything lesser than the best when it comes from the country’s defence personnel?
For Avi, paragliding is something that helps him come in sync with nature in the most incredible ways. The best experiences arise when you surrender yourself to the natural forces.
“On one occasion while flying I was searching for thermals (comparative hot winds that help in providing momentum while flying) when suddenly a lammergeier vulture came in my view. It looked at me as if asking me to follow him. As dramatic as it sounds, the bird guided me to my desired path!”
Quite something for a life lesson don’t you think? Talk to the man and he is no less emotive than what he comes across as in these lines.
Avi Malik: An insight into The Birdman | Paragliding
On another flight, this is what he had to say:
“I remember one flight where I was flying at about 10,000 ft and there were clouds above my head when it was really rough. I was rolling in my harness and my glider was collapsing. It wasn’t an easy situation and I was scared! Then suddenly I saw two tiny birds, swallows maybe. I look at them and say to myself, “Oh, they are having fun!” Just the sight of these two little birds gave me so much of relief that I could gather my courage and fly out of that situation.”
Philosophically speaking, the flight isn’t always smooth. And when it gets rough, remember that it’s all a part of the experience. And that’s just how our man rolls!