When I was a child, I loved playing with water. I would sing songs while brushing my teeth. My mother still remembers the first line of the song I had composed for the ritual,”Fulfule haathon mein, haathon mein fulfule.” I was little and somehow said fulfule instead of bulbule (bubbles). She says I sang it like the famous song of Tezab movie – “So Gaya Yeh Jahan, So Gaya Aasman…” Of course I do not remember it!
But I do not remember being afraid of water.
In my childhood days I always asked for a trip to the Sukhana Lake in Chandigarh. It was so serene and calm, I loved going on the boats with my family. At the age of 12, I got a chance to see the Renuka lake. I do not have many memories etched in my heart but the scene when I first saw that lake surrounded by mountains is still fresh.
That day I decided that when I grow up, I will live near a lake, river, or even better, sea!
Fast forward 14 years, I got a chance to see the sea in Sweden. It was a rocky beach so I only got to see the waves from a distance but the water and the sheer vastness of the sea fascinated me. Of course seeing the Oresund bridge was the icing on the cake.
I wanted to feel the waves but that was not a possibility. So created a new goal that day and that was to learn swimming so as to experience the sea when I finally go to a sandy beach. A few months later, I went to a swimming pool despite my apprehensions about everything related to it. The Swedes took to water, well like fish takes to water.
I tried for 5 weeks and one time got so close to drowning, I got terrified and never went back.
3 years later, I went to Jeju in South Korea. It is island so beaches galore and I have never seen so much beauty in my life. I felt so connected with nature and so happy despite facing challenges while finding food since vegetarianism is still in its infancy in Korea. We were a group of 7 and had a short 3 days trip. Instead of going to all the beaches, we decided to try adventure sports. Until this point, adventure and I had never seen eye to eye. Yellow Sea suddenly seemed like a monster eager to swallow me with giant waves.
I kept a brave face. Ironically, we ended up signing up for the scuba-diving session on Day 1.
So now I was not going in the waves or on the waves, I was going INTO the sea!
Our session was scheduled at 2 p.m so we decided to take a submarine ride to kill time. It was horrible! I didn’t see much outside as I was seasick. I managed to keep my mouth close, for the betterment of the humanity in the same boat as I. But the moment we came above surface, I puked. And we were now getting late for scuba diving.
Yay for me!
We went and they finally arranged a bodysuit for me, size can be a problem (I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t though). I got seasick while riding the waves in the motorboat to the Munseom Islet. It is not an exaggeration to say that at this point my heart (or rather my bile) was in my mouth.
I learnt the signs and breathing pattern well but when I jumped into the sea (after reading Hanuman Chalisa of course), I could not keep myself together. Two different divers tried to calm me but every time they would ask me to put my head in water, I would obey but immediately come to the surface not even completing one breathing cycle. A few minutes later, the second diver (male) said something to the first one (who was now helping my husband) in Korean, which in my non-Korean-understanding-but-gesture-understanding-way roughly translated to – She won’t make it (probably she is wasting my time).
In that moment, I had a decision to make.
I could quietly come back to the shore and forget all about it (yeah like that would happen) or conquer my fear.
I signaled him to take me for the experience. He obliged.
The first few moments were terrifying. I kept forgetting to breath-out with my nose and breath-in with my mouth. The saline seawater kept getting in my mask. I kept exhaling forcefully, a technique taught by the divers, and concentrating on what was around me.
My eyes started hurting from the salt water but I started seeing tiny fishes and after that moment,I got distracted and forgot about thinking. I just let it be.
I stayed in the moment, posed for a photo underwater, touched corals and sand.
It was MAGICAL.
After roughly 3 minutes, we went up. By then I had locked all the beauty around me in my eyes.
Once we emerged at the surface, dragging myself up the rock (of the islet) with the cylinder was a chore but I know I had the biggest smile in my heart and on my face.
I had done it.
Interestingly enough, out of us 7, only I and one friend were able to finish the whole thing. 1 had not signed up, 3 didn’t even go in water and my husband returned from midway up as he got too much water in his mask.
In exchange for the others in the group who didn’t go in, we requested the divers to send us (the two who completed the whole thing) to be sent again. They agreed! And the second time, I even got to feed the fishes!!!
Whenever I feel low or less than confident, I just close my eyes and remind myself of what I could have missed had I not forced myself to Rise Above Fear!
Works like a charm 😉
After that day, I am happy to report that I have enjoyed myself in adventure sports – river rafting, parasailing and ziplining in particular. And I plan to do a lot more. I do not fear the waves anymore. I plan on going for a Sky Diving experience soon!
Disclaimer: This post is written in response to the #RiseAboveFear event hosted by MountainDew India and Indiblogger.
Videos for the event – The Dew Film (in Telugu and Tamil)
So how did you #RiseAboveFear?