I am learning to swim. I started yesterday. And my friend from Bombay.. she has come down. I have met her in person only now, but we have known each other for several years. Maybe about 8. We made countless plans to meet up in each others cities but it just never happened. Even when I went to Bombay a couple of times, something always went wrong.
So we did finally meet. And I have found a friend to be with for sometime. Since my best friend is not in the country. Its been about 5 years or more now. Mom, B and I went to X Men 3 together. And I thought Bird Man is cool which mom and B immediately booed down. But it was great fun.
Yesterday, I took my dip in the pool. One faltering step after another through the little red ladder, into the pool. Its not like I haven't been in a pool before. I tried to learn to swim in 8th std., in the IIT pool, it didnt work out.
And finally just happened that B said why not swim now? And she said she would teach me. I jumped at the idea, from land into water.
So there I was. Getting used to having a reasonable expanse of make-believe blue water all round me with a nice mosaic flooring. Within five minutes of being in the pool, B taught me how to float. And I stared floating to and fro, from one shallow side to another. Kick myself off from the wall of the fool so that I am 'propelled' and some how land on the other side thanks to everyone else swimming, even though I was going across and everyone else was going lengthwise. General paddling in the pool, and I was outta the water. When I stepped out it was as if the pool was saying dont go, dont go, and it was pulling me back with watery hands, feet, whatever. Its an effort to get outta the pool actually. Back to the changing room, the scene was horror. Towels were lying everywhere. Come on, do people dont even know that you are not supposed to drop your wet towel on the floor, and make into a mop??? I detest this behaviour of people misusing public property. I picked up the towels, and put hung them on the nearest door. Sheesh. I only hope they used disinfectant. Done with showering, was humming and then came to B's room. And stayed there overnight. Ate some food. We ordered some gravy which was supposed to be 'so hot that it will set us on fire' and when it did reach us, it wasnt even hot enough like the wick of the cracker, which refused to go off. So there we were, with make believe Mughlai food and then we ordered ice cream. B was categorical that her multi falvoured ice cream should not have pista ice cream. And when my Ice cream arrived which was 'fond remembrance' it was actually like cold soup. Ice cold soup of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. And it was served in some kinda bowl which looked like a finger bowl. B's ice cream made sure it came with Pista, in some kinda Lassi Glass, and the ice cream was melting all around the rim, and over. There is more to this cold story. Lassi glass with ice cream has big chunks of apple and pineapple. And the bottom of the glass has jam. Not Jelly. JAM. So this one was called English Ecstasy. Far from English and far from Ecstatic. So after this misadventure, I started reading on P G Wodehouse, Laughing Gas. And drifted off to sleep.
Back to swimming pool. Took my own towel. Saw the same people. Today was happier. Steps were better. I got swimming goggles. And I liked the feeling of seeing underwater. So there I was trying to bob my head up so I could breathe and ended up sinking each time. There was another lady who was telling me how to do it, and she said just keep floating for two more days and get used to the water. Me was like ok. And then by 8:40 the pool was empty except for us. So B came and helped me breathe by trying to keep me afloat. So I tried, coughed and sputtered mostly. And didnt like the idea of water creeping up my nose. And the feeling. But I made some headway in the trying-to-breathe-my-poking-my-head-outta-water exercise.
Then I just went into floating mode. It was a pretty windy day today. And I could feel the wind blowing above me sometimes. And that was a nice feeling. And then, floating feels super good. I just checked out the floor below, the way it was made, looked sideways, wall. Looked the otherside, water. And I couldnt see the other wall. Slightly freaked me out. Got scared and stood up. And then went back again. Looked this way and that inside water and got used to it. If we can float, then we should technically be able to walk or sit on water. There must be a way. There should be a different technique of doing it. A different breathing exercise.
I have heard of Yogis being able to wear close to nothing and not feel the bone-chilling temperatures of the Himalayas or the heat of super tropic zones. Apparently they all controlled it through breathing. I want to go trek the Himalayas some day. It will be good to do it as a group. I had a great experience trekking up the Vaishno Devi Hill. If we can call it a hill. To me it was pretty way up. And that is where I saw the first snow. When I saw it first, I thought someone had washed clothes, and it was foam. The snow that I saw was like crushed ice more or less. Thereafter in Switzerland. Good fun.
Coming back to floating, it was wonderful to feel water around me. I had this phobia .... if I pour water over my head, I gotta see around. I cant keep my eyes closed. From when I was a kid. So mom used to have the toughest time giving me a head bath. I must have drowned in some previous birth. So this Swimming exercise, is one step to coming to terms with my phobia and probably remembering as to what happened that I am scared of water at some level. I dont have a basic phobia, I loving being in there, but I scared of seeing nothing except water after a point in time. Some day I ll go deep sea diving as well.
I think everyone in this world must know how to swim. MUST know.