“You can’t trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it.” – W.C. Fields
Indian Ocean, Kanyakumari, 2005
I was a little girl when I traveled to Southern India and that was in the year of 2005, also that was the first time I saw the sea, I was mesmerized by its vastness and stunned by the strange beauty it held, it was strong and wild and at the same time carefree. I was also afraid of it because the place where I was living also suffered from its violent nature in the year of 2004. So, one thing I knew was to stay away from it and enjoy its beauty from a distance. Since then I have learned to follow this rule, “when you see a danger, you stay away.” At least that is what I follow when I see something that can hurt me. But the biggest fear that I have of the sea is that you can never know how far it can come to pull you in.
When I was a kid, I always had this recurring dream, where I’m sitting on a very tall wall which is in the middle of an ocean, I’m afraid of its vastness, afraid of the dark blues of the ocean and the gray sky. There is nowhere to go, and the only thing I could do is jump in it or wait for someone to help me out or maybe find a way to get away from that situation. I always felt very strange about that dream, neither anyone came to my rescue nor did I fall in the ocean and never did I try to get away from it. I still see that dream sometimes but I don’t feel afraid of it anymore I just know how it’s going to end. Now, it’s just a known danger.
I was talking about staying away from the danger but what if you don’t know it’s dangerous. On that very trip, I went to another place near Kanyakumari, a town on Pamban Island called Rameswaram. The sea there was calm and composed and I was very happy that yes I can totally have some fun now. The water was shallow and I could easily stand in it but strangely enough this time the sea engulfed me completely and I must tell you, I don’t even know how to swim, I tried to ask for help but I couldn’t get my hand out of the water and after some time I even stopped trying because I didn’t know how to help myself. However one good thing happened the sea didn’t want me either, it did swallow me but within some time it spat me out.
I think there is no use of fighting the sea, the only thing one can do is follow it and I did just that, I let things happen and after a while I was fine and out of it, safe. I did drink a lot of salt water and I felt nauseated afterward. In the deepness of the sea, when I was drowning, I felt helpless, but since I couldn’t do anything, I resigned. That was the first time I faced death.
Bay of Bengal, Puri, 2007
I have learned this thing in my life that I can avoid danger when I know it’s dangerous but in other cases I need to test the water and take a plunge and just hope that it will be alright, I can’t avoid everything to keep myself safe, then there is no fun and I will always be afraid of everything. I have been into deep waters but thankfully got out of them at the right time.
“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” – Dave Barry
It’s been years since that incident and I still go to different places just to enjoy the vastness and the beauty of the sea and I respect the water and I know its power and how it can caress your hand when you dip them in it and how in a moment it can pull you in.
Arabian Sea, Goa, 2014
I always enjoy the night time, sitting at the shore in the silver moonlight, when strong winds are flowing by, water does look monstrous but you get to feel its strength, the sound it makes while hitting the rocks and sound huge waves make when they hit the shore. Good thing is that both bigger waves and smaller waves fade away, some pound and some lap but both of them goes away. Some caress you and some hit you. Some take things with them into the deep water, some toss away things onto the shore. I like how I can drown in the mystery and darkness of the sea at night.
“There are always waves on the water. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small, and sometimes they are almost imperceptible. The water’s waves are churned up by the winds, which come and go and vary in direction and intensity, just as do the winds of stress and change in our lives, which stir up the waves in our minds.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Nothing like when you lie awake at night with open windows, letting the air come in with its salty scent while listening to the sound of wind whispering through the trees. Everything about it is comforting and peaceful at least until you don’t get to face the wrath of the sea. So, much like how life is.