Imagine yourself in the middle of a magnificent azure sea, its surface shimmering like blue Swarovski crystals. Afar you could see a faint hint of the coast, and in the backdrop, a hazy silhouette of a mountain standing tall. You find yourself standing in a ferry, near a bunch of rocks where seals… yes seals are frolicking and basking in the sun.
And then you hear the captain roar behind you – “JUMP“. The water, on which you were writing poetry in your mind just a second ago, suddenly looks dark and devious.
This is not a dream my dear friends. This is reality. Sigh! my reality.
Last easter I found myself on a ferry to Montague Island from a quiet coastal village called Narooma. We were going to make a quick stop on the way before heading towards the island. My swimming skills are abysmal, so I have no idea what compelled me to register for snorkelling. Maybe I just assumed that we would be swimming in shallow water, near Montague Island.
So when I found myself holding the railing, staring into the blue water, my heart was ready to jump out of my mouth. I was pretty sure I was going to be a delicious fish meal in the next few minutes.
The area was right in the middle of a sea. A big massive frightening sea.
I looked incredulously at the captain.
You mean here. Right here.
Yes miss, it’s ok. Just jump.
I had already changed into a wetsuit and was wearing flippers too. Someone helped me to put on my mask. Holding the ladder I slowly descended into the water. For some weird reason my mind started chanting the only Sanskrit sloka I remember ‘ Om bhur bhuva swaha… ‘.
They say your whole life flash before your eyes when you are about to die. Well, in my case a random sanskrit sloka repeatedly flashed in my mind.
When I came upon the last ladder, the water started lapping against my chin.
You have to let go. I heard the captain say from above.
And that’s when a thing called Fear rose. My feet couldn’t find the floor as I was used to in a swimming pool. My chest constricted and I would feel the fear rise from my chest to my throat. Even my body forgot to breathe. Never estimate the fear of water.
I stuck to the ladder like my life depended in it. Well, maybe it did.
There was water everywhere, so beautiful and yet so unnerving.
I could feel the fear getting stronger with every second.
That’s when the Captain asked me to climb up and said that there’s no way he would let me snorkell. It won’t be safe for me.
My husband had already jumped into the water and I could see him leisurely swim towards the seals.
As I climbed up the ladder, I didn’t know which emotion was stronger, guilt or that nagging feeling of shame. But well atleast the views were beautiful.
And I didn’t die.
This is me trying to console myself after my snorkelling debacle. The sting of defeat hurts real bad.
Last weekend I went to the swimming pool to practice my strokes, or the lack of it. Let’s just say that I was the slowest in the slow lane. It didn’t help that the two young girls in my lane propelled from one end to another like a machine on superfuel.
Related post : Gulp, cough, sink – my first swimming class
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