Sunday, August 20, 2006

Die drowning

I am not afraid to die, but if I die- it won’t be from drowning.
I welcome challenges – but I detest not having solutions to overcome them.

Strange?

Well, I have envisioned how ghastly my last breath COULD be like- shot in the head, burnt alive, get trampled by Nellie the Elephant, yet drowning remains my biggest fear. So, it came as quite a surprise when I decided to enrol in a PADI Open Water course with a good ‘buddy’ of mine. (pun intended!)

My scuba-pimp daddy (as I fondly call him) told me that, “Scuba diving means rising to new challenges. It’s one of those rare activities that delivers adrenaline and intensity or serenity and peace.” I’ve akin his words to how the problems in my life are similar to the experiences I can relate to, being a virgin in the underwater world.

It feels strange the first time. The mask. The awkward gear, (its an unglamorous walk to the drop off point). And as you ease into the water, and your face slips below the surface…you inhale, the air comes with a reassuring hiss, and for the fist time you breathe underwater. For a hydrophobic, it took me a very long time getting used to the water and my equipment. Breathing in and out of my mouthpiece was my first problem (I kept fogging up my mask cause I was breathing through my nose).

As such, when life problems crop up- naturally, you will feel slightly disoriented. And if you don’t focus and concentrate, the problem gets foggier along the way. The moment you breathe right and start relaxing, breathing becomes easier. Who has not run around like a headless chicken when something is amiss ? A headless chicken only gets more bumps and bruises right?

Naturally, the wonders of the sea lay low underneath. But as you dive deeper into the waters, you will experience pressure in your ears and you will feel pain. To overcome this, there are a few exercises to prevent this and diving is almost effortless! Likewise, getting to the root of the problem can be a painful process – quite often, being in denial or our egoistic ways come in between reality. Facing the truth is scary – but when you acknowledge it, finding a solution is much more easier. I knew deep inside me that going to Medic school was not my cup of tea, yet I wanted to please daddy so I went ahead feeling resentment and fear along the way. I finally shared my real ambitions to my parents and have not looked back since then!

I learnt when there is something wrong with your regulator- which is basically your breathing device, the natural impulse is to hold your breath and swim straight up to the surface of the water! A MAJOR NO-NO! You could harm your lungs in the process, possibly even (heaven forbid!) die!

When I was 7, I broke my mother’s favorite vase. I ran off. My deed was found out and my mother was more upset about me not owing up than the fact that her expensive antique were broken in pieces! I had an issue of trust for a whole year. I was not even allowed to water her plants!

A lot of first time divers get the impression that the surface is the safest place of the waters but in realm, the currents are calmer right below. When I went through a very difficult breakup, it was tough getting over it when I had the whole world “taking pity on me”. It was endearing, and I know they meant well, but it made me feel worst. I got better spending time alone, reflecting on why things turned out the way it did and praying, meditating. Eventually, I got over the pain, took the responsibility and slowly resurfaced and started attending social events again.

I am still afraid of drowning, but this is not going to stop me from taking my final exam in my Open Water dive next month. I welcome challenges because the thrilling part is overcoming them efficiently…satisfactory. I’m no “water virgin” anymore – and knowing this gives me the greatest high!

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