Am learning to swim.
And though I have been highly irregular in my attendance at the swimming pool, I have been persistent in my will to learn to swim.
Day before yesterday, the floats were taken off. I was required to go into the water without the float. And I drowned.
I swam for a short distance without the float, and then it happened. Panic set in, and the “movements” that I had practiced for a week seemed to go haywire. My body lost its balance.
My head went down, and I swallowed a lot of water before I could push my head out of water. For a second I looked around to see if there was anybody coming to rescue me; and was amazed to find that I went totally unnoticed. The coach was busy teaching the “movements” to another lady and the other instructors were busy watching them. My colleagues swam peacefully, without a clue that there was somebody drowning.
For a timeless moment, while my body struggled against the water, I watched as my life tried desperately to hold on to dear breath. Nobody gave a damn. It was just my body and my life that had panicked.
Death waited on the other side, so serene and so calm, knowing that sooner or later she would have to stretch her arms for me, to take me in her fold. So while I drowned, she watched me silently.
For a moment I wanted to let go too. To let the happenings take over. To lie there inert and let happen whatever came. Then the next instant as I gasped for breath, I shouted “sir…” and went down the water again.
The coach swam over quickly, and held me. I put my hands around him to push my face out of water, to breathe some air.
It was over.
The day before the incident I had seen a tame elephant going astray on the TV, attacking a crowd, mauling a man under its legs and throwing the body around with its trunk. And as the recorded shot repeated itself in a loop, I was aghast. I desperately searched for the expressions on the man’s face before he gave up to his fate. First there was panic. And once, the animal had hit it hard the pain had perhaps made the man give in to his fate. His body turned limp. There was no more struggle. Perhaps he was dead already.
I have not been to office for three days now. The black moods have come back. I visited my psychiatrist yesterday and he increased the dosage of my medicines.
Today I swam in the waters without the float again. This time the coach kept a vigilant eye on me. And I learnt one thing. The moment I panicked, I started to drown.
And the coach said. “Don’t struggle against the waters, it won’t allow you to succeed then. Keep on with the movements you had practiced with the floats on. That will help you to wade your way through the water, without having to struggle against it.”
How do I keep on with my movements in life? Without panicking. Without fighting life. Without arousing her anger, without breaking the rhythm. Without drowning.