The past few months have been quaintly fulfilling with some sweet, subtle, enriching experiences. I was simply satisfied with soaking it up; observing and enjoying the happenings – lacking the desire to capture any of it on paper.
Of all the things I dabbled into, this one takes the cake: my raunchy, yet eternally profound love affair with swimming.
For as long as I can remember, being in water has been a petrifying experience for me, to put it mildly. I love being around water – the beach, or watch people swim and surf, but the thought of being in/under water was enough to freak me out. When I boarded an airplane for the first time, it wasn’t the fact of being midair that got my nerves, but the thought of flying over the vast ocean underneath!
Then there was the little me in the baby pool with my brave mother – for keeping up with my tantrums and showing undying patience for her horrified child. The visual that comes to mind is me grabbing onto her neck and taking her down, every time. She endured; I didn’t.
Over the years I buried this fear deep inside. 'Not everybody can swim,' I convinced myself, 'it's no big deal,' I thought. But I would be thoroughly enthused just listening to the stories my friends regaled about their diving or snorkeling adventures.
Sometime last month on a random Tuesday evening my husband and I decided to catch the new film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (meaning: One Life to Live). Turns out that the evening was not only random but also a magical one. Needless to say, I loved the film. Although I’ve seen films with similar messaging and characters before, somehow this one intrigued me in a new kind of way.
One of the plots in the film revolved around different adventure sports that the three friends in the film embark upon – as part of the longest bachelor party ever. Any guesses which sport had me most enticed? Deep Sea Diving. :) I have watched tons of films and videos of folks going sea diving before this, but there was something so natural and sublime about the way it was shot in this film – from the content and performances to the music and presentation – I had an epiphany of sorts. It felt like I was happily and fearlessly meandering into the depths of the ocean.
Within a week I found myself in a swimming pool, all cap and goggles intact, with an instructor by my side. The entire session was spent on blowing bubbles with my nose and mouth, and learning some legwork. I was disheartened. I wanted to swim far and fast. The scene from the film was still so fresh in my mind that I felt like I was ready to take on the world, one dive at a time!
I ventured into the pool with even more gusto the next day. I just had to swim. Before I knew it, I was living one of the most amazing experiences of my life (my water life ;)) - Floating. Just being able to lay horizontal in water for a few minutes with a wide smile on my face was huge for me!
Seemed like I was falling in love all over again – with the vastness of the sky, the stillness of the night, the mountains surrounding the Bay, the glorious sunshine upon the Earth, and most of all, I was falling in love with the realization of being alive.
The feeling of being able to embrace the water, and in my case overcome the fear of it was incredible. Our affair still continues, but all in the bliss of a swimming pool, as of now. :)
(Below are two scenes from the film: one is the sea diving scene, and the other is a poem in Hindi that sums up the experience beautifully)