Sunday, January 15, 2006

When At Ease...

The sea has a very enticing element to it. Its calm is teasing, but the vastness is welcoming. Every time I look towards it, it lures me and as the waves shuffle against my feet and I walk deeper; I can almost see a naughty smile playing on it, as if saying - “Come…come…discover me!!” And this is exactly what deters me from going any further and I retrace my footsteps onto the beach. Some how, I can’t get myself to have faith in the tranquillity that the surface of the sea displays.
However, this time I went to Goa, I decided that the fear must be overcome. Fear, I have realised, is an illusion that merely keeps you from enjoying life to its fullest. So it was this year that I put my first foot forward and stepped deeper into the sea. I allowed myself to stay afloat the waves until I was at a comfortable depth, where it was only the tips of my toes that could feel the firmness of the ground, even though the sand slipped from between my toes. My friends and me played ball and swum around in this area; the Frisbee that took direction of the wind had me splashing all over the place, and I slowly got used to the waves engulfing me every once in a while, the salt water stinging my eyes each time I ducked underwater and tiny sea creatures probably stumbling over my feet. I was learning to enjoy the sea, but cautiously.
Soon, I puckered the courage to walk my way over to an island with my friends and I said that I’d follow all the way until I could feel the ground below. The expedition was completed and I felt like a warrior who had returned from a battle, bringing back himself and his horse without a wound. As I was prancing along the seabed, towards the shore - happy and confident, there was this one point, where I suddenly lost hold of the sand underneath. I wasn’t slipping, nor was I walking too fast - it was just that the seabed had disappeared from below my feet.
OK this wasn’t my imagination, because when I crosschecked with the ‘tallest’ member of my group, he grinned - only to confirm my doubts. “It’s ok, probably we have just wandered afar… let me check a little further,” he said. Ok, I put my best lessons of freestyle into practice and began to swim towards the beach. Each time, Chiraag’s eyes would meet mine; he would disappear into the sea to remind me that ‘shallow’ wasn’t yet here.
Well I only remember swimming, not furiously, but with strength spurting out of each stroke I practiced. The beach didn’t look far, but the swim seemed long. As I turned around to look out into the open sea that lay behind me, I could picture a wink (!) that mocked me for being at ease and I found myself saying - THIS IS WHY I DON’T TRUST YOU.