The adrenalin pumping thrill rides of a theme park are not for faint-heart and for a 43+ years old like me. I learned this only recently, but only after screaming from the deepest depths of my throat during my maiden visit to the Adlabs Imagica theme park situated at Khalapar, along the scenic Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The theme park spread over 300 acres of rugged terrain was inaugurated in 2013 and boasts of the top of the class international standard rides available in India. On a recent trip to Pune, I was literally, duped into visiting this park. I was told by my kids, that this park, was only like few other adventure parks, I had been to, and that I was young enough to enjoy the fun rides. I had been to one such theme park; Esselword, near Mumbai, but that was 12 years ago, in 2003. I thought or I should admit, that I overestimated myself. The hubris in me, that I had the zing thing in me to enjoy rides at Imagica, caught me at the wrong foot. So, one fine morning I traveled all the way up to this place from Pune.
The first ride I drove into was, Nitro. It is a roller coaster ride on patterns of big amusement parks worldwide. It carries 24 pax at a time. I too sat in it. It started by trudging up the trolley slowly to a good height to gain momentum, but hell was let loose after that. It was running almost at the escape velocity. The pressure on my tummy and shoulders was unbearable, as the upside turning and twirling ride hangs you in air like anything, literally. I started to scream, to move away my mind from a sinking heart. While every body else, and kids in particular would have thought that I was enjoying, I was cursing myself for that self inflicted punishment. I did not want to learn Physics this way for sure. Don’t trust me? Just see the picture below.
I took a deep breath, after emerging alive out of this. I decided not to come any near, this ride in the remaining part of the day and cajoled my kids to other rides, which I thought, might be gentler. I reached out for ‘Dare To Drop’ ride after seeing few children doing it. It was again a big mistake. In this ride using big hydraulic machines they create pressure and then shoot you up and down like a half volley in a tennis match. I prayed God from that exalted height, believing God was closer to me at that great height and some how managed to land back safely. I was facing one unique problem in all these rides that, the safety gear and locking handles in all these rides were not for a wide-tummied mammal like me and I was almost pressing the locking handle too close to my body, to prevent slippage from those thrill spewing machines. I had to still hold it tight close to me.
I decided to beat a hasty retreat from this ride too and landed now at Gold Rush Ride. This ride on the lines of Indiana Jones rides of Disneyland at Paris, was no less thrilling, and for me, no less threatening. I somehow managed to come out of this too, alive once more. I gulped few ounces of water and decided to go for kinder rides only. I reached out to queue for a very gentle looking ‘Tubby Takes Off’. It was appearing the smoothest, but kids preempting this kiddish ride broke away from the queue midway and galloped towards other riskier ones. I had to follow them.We now landed at ‘Rajasaurus Ride’.
The notice outside the ride was that, it was not for weak hearts and for persons with medical conditions. My problem was that, I could not say, no to my kids, or that I was a weak heart. Therefore, against my instincts, decided to follow my kids to the ride. This ride is about a journey in a boat, through the ancient inundated world when Dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes roamed the planet. The highlight of the ride was the final fall of the boat from a big height into water below. As, the boat got readied for fall, I inhaled as much Oxygen, as I could and closed my eyes too. The boat slided into the water with ferocity and I landed with a thud sound of the boat into the water.
I was alive, still. I just thought of running away from the park, but my kids would not allow me that even. I was feeling hungry and exhausted, but the kids were not interested in any food. They wanted to make a kill with the rides alone. I was having a bad time really and a prisoner of circumstances really.
The next destination was the ‘Wild West Mine Ride’. The ride is combination of high quality video game plus edge of the seat movement through a motorized platform. The ride was a good fun and was the most gentle ride till now. I came out smiling from the ride, for the first time.
The smile on my face lasted only till I entered the ‘Deep Space Ride’. This ride gets you through the dark secrets of space in a darkened environment. To much of my horror, my son forced me to sit in the front row. I closed my eyes and once gain inhaled the maximum oxygen, I could. Once the ride started, I knew that it was my biggest mistake. This ride twisted my body and paunch in all possible ways and that I am still alive and sharing with you my ordeal, is a miracle only.
The next in line was the ‘Mr India’, or we should say, ‘Mr Mogambo’-the eponymous villain of Bollywood movie, Mr India. This ride was a smooth one as it was an interactive video gaming with a moving platform, on which we were seated. It created illusion of navigating through the Imagica park, during struggle to save the children from the clutches of a sickening Mogambo.
I, then moved on to a well deserved lunch break. While usually it’s the children who would demand food in the parks, here I was one who was demanding food. They were enjoying for sure and wanted nothing to come in between. I smiled at their enthusiasm and at the amount of energy they had to run across all corners of the park, to enjoy one ride after another. A few rides were repeated and I had to be literally dragged in to few, by the kids. I refused point blank, though on one ride-Scream. This was the real scary ride and later I heard stories about too many persons vomiting on this ride every time it flew past to extreme.
While I was scared for myself, I was nonetheless happy at the exuberance of the kids, in reaching out to all rides. They were having a great time of their life. I had lost my hubris but was still smiling, just for the one great day in the life of three noble souls. Coming out of the park, I did not let go the opportunity to be clicked in front of the alphabet logo of the Imagica. I smiled finally and came out of the park, in one piece.