Friday, September 7, 2012

Roller Fuckoaster!

Before anything else, I want to make one statement that everyone not fond of roller coasters should remember always- there is nothing like a gentle roller coaster. If there is any oxymoron in this world, this is it.

I thought I had learned my lesson many years ago when I got in a harmless-looking roller coaster in London just because I wanted to do a "dad thing" with my son (you see, I was newly divorced). The nightmare that followed is indescribable, best captured in a photograph taken during the ride that showed me with teeth clenched and terror written all over my face. I promised myself I will never get into a roller coaster again- the hell with the single parent guilt! But as I learned over a weekend last month, 10 years is a long time to forget even the most painful lessons.

It so happened that I took Nishu, Atta and Aloka to Universal Studios one Saturday in August. We started by watching some street shows and getting body art done for Aloka. We also did a couple of easy rides meant for Aloka. Then Nishu became bolder- she wanted to do the grown-up rides. Atreya and Nishu went for one of the tougher rides and came out quite OK. Nishu wanted more, but everywhere we went, there were long queues and waiting times of up to 60 minutes. By then, we had stopped being choosy, and started going for every ride that had a short waiting time. These were mainly kiddy rides- that's why they weren't full of waiting crowds.

Photo: What an amazing day, with Puja Anand, Atreya Shankar and Alo.
Monster Roller Coaster visible at the back
Right at the start, we had noticed a huge roller coaster. It was a monster. You could hear the shrieks of riders from a mile away as they were flung in all directions at super speed. There was almost no waiting time for this ride because it wasn't everyone's cup of tea. This is the kind of thing I don't even look at because just seeing it gives me vertigo. No wonder even Atreya refused point blank to accompany Nishu to it, and she wasn't bold enough to go alone. Lo and behold, my guilt kicked in.

No, I didn't agree to go with her. What kind of an idiot do you take me for? (The answer to that is "just the worst kind", but you will get to it when you read further.) 

Further down from the monster roller coaster was another smaller one. We had watched it a couple of times. There were hardly any screams- in fact people seemed to be laughing and cooing as they cruised by. We saw none of the upside-down turns that were rampant in the monster and compared to it, this little one looked positively gentle. There was hardly any wait time either. So this guilty aunt decided to do the right thing and took everyone for the gentle roller coaster ride. To confirm that it was indeed easy, I asked the ride attendant if Aloka could do the ride and he said "Sure, it's a very short ride, OK for her".

Atreya, the protective brother, wanted to sit with Aloka, but she was sticking to Nishu, so I got to sit with him instead. Within seconds of starting, I knew something was wrong- the darn thing was going up and up and up... which meant it was about to go down and down and down. Did I mention that I am terrified of heights? I felt myself shutting down- power off. My eyes were shut tightly and went into a self-induced semi-trance. But some senses are not in my control- I heard everything Atreya said during the ride with absolute clarity. It went something like this (and pardon my French, there is no way to write about the F word without writing it dammit!):

Mom look down, look down! Fuck, look how high we are going! Fuck, hold her tight Nishu, just look down mom. Oh fuck, Aloka will fly off, are you holding her tight Nishu? Fuck, this is bad, is it over? Fuck!

When the darn thing finally came to a stop, Aloka started crying. People seated in front of her began consoling her. I was quite useless as a mother at  because all I wanted to do at that time was to cry with her!

OK story over now repeat after me- A gentle roller coaster is an oxymoron. 


  1. Do you remember the gentle looking bench ride in thailand that you made me do with Atreya? All below were laughing at us because scared to death though I was I had to put up a brave front in order to console Atreya who wanted to go down. No way. we were strapped to our seats and the manager was making such funny sounds that we expected the tummy churning swing any time. but it always came at the least expected time. I was laughing ( forced one) and Atreya my baby grandson was crying, and every one below had a good true laugh at the grandma grandson duo.
    Never ever again in this life and the others to come if and when they do will I ever volunteer !!!!!

    1. Ha ha mom, yes I remember the grandma laughing and the grandson crying...and the absolutely ridiculous sounds the guy was making.