Saturday, 13 December 2014

That Time I Almost Drowned To Death...Almost.

  I'm the kind of person who makes a conscious effort to spread positive energy in the world. That is why I write posts titled stuff like, "Happiness among other lies". And along the same lines, I've been wanting to write about fear. And overcoming it to take the plunge. Then I saw this dew film by Mountain Dew. And I was finally inspired to write this.

   What better way to talk about rising above fear than by telling you what happened when I did jump? I drowned. Almost died. Almost. And here's my survival story.
  When I was eight years old, We lived in Singapore for about a year, and I went to school there. Our apartment building in Singapore had a huge swimming pool and naturally, I evolved to live like an amphibian. In other words, I was an eight year old mermaid.

  The pool became like a natural habitat. I had swim practice everyday, and I loved it. I was also a pretty arrogantly confident child, fastest flippers in the pool. I was always the kid in the deep end of the pool, splashing water on our coach. There's video proof of this, in our old home movie camcorders tapes. I even had a floating board with a cartoon shark on it. Not that I ever used the floating board, I was obviously a pro. And then as fate would have it, We moved back to India and my eyes burned up and shot up blood red in every single pool here. They put in too much chlorine in the water and none of the pools would work for me here. So of course, I promptly forgot all about swimming and traded in my shark floating board for tennis shoes and a racket.
  But then tennis didn't exactly draw me in the way the water did. And I still yearned to swim again. Years went by, and finally we found a pool that was perfect. Indoors, with lukewarm perfect water that would not burn my eyes. And I couldn't wait to dive straight in. The first time we visited the pool, The water lured me in. And its not like I wasn't a pro swimmer, So I jumped, didn't even take the stairs or the ladder at the edge of the pool. I nosedived straight into the water. Only, I hadn't considered Lamarck’s evolutionary theory about the use and disuse of organs. He was a smart French dude who believed that giraffes initially had short necks, and then eventually their necks grew longer because they had to stretch to reach the branches higher up on trees for food. Basically he believed that if you use a particular organ more, it will adapt to your usage and become stronger, the converse was also true according to his theory, i.e. if you didn't use a particular organ, it's disuse would cause it to deteriorate and eventually disappear. Too bad they only taught me this in high school. Because when I hit the water, I immediately started to drown. I was like Ariel with legs instead of her mermaid tail. And I don't care If Darwin disproved Lamarck's theory, because I'd just lost my mermaid tail, and Darwin couldn't explain that. It had been way too long since I was last in a pool and my muscles had forgotten how to swim. My legs did not kick, the water was pulling me in. And I started to gulp it down and choke. My brain had actually lost touch, and forgotten how to swim altogether even though my heart still remembered the joy that was the water. My limbs had failed me. And I was going under. I couldn't even do the dead man’s float. By this time I thought I was going to die. But I wasn't ready to give in just yet. I started screaming for help between taking lungfuls of air. But There was no one there, no life guard, Just a bunch of kids who were a little further away. I was beginning to hear and see flashes of my too short life. But Thankfully, these kids were older and on hearing me, knew to come rescue me. Those kids were heroes. Now I'll stop writing dramatic clich├ęd phrases that you've read one too many times. And then I didn't drown. I didn't die.
 But the real trouble came after that. I developed a phobia for diving. My parents enrolled me back in summer swimming classes at the same pool and I could even get over myself and get back into the water because that's how much I loved it but I could never dive in. I always walked down the steps or climbed the ladder. 
This picture is free. I got it from and later customized it.

  Eventually the summer's swim class progressed and they moved on to diving. We had an amazing coach. The man was like a shark himself. You'd see him at one side of the pool, he'd go under and you couldn't even see him in the water. Two seconds later he'd be at the other end of the pool. He was swift and so much like a fish. I respected him. But he could never get me to take the plunge. I'd stand in line to dive in to the pool. But I'd let all the other kids go ahead of me. Because I couldn't jump. Death didn't make the same mistake twice. I got lucky the first time around. Would I again? I wasn't willing to bet my life on that.
This picture is free. I got it from and later customized it.
   So I'd be standing there letting all the other kids go dive ahead of me. This went on for so long, that my dad decided to trick me and push me into the water. And that went on for almost the entire class. Every time I had to jump. I'd be standing there, telling them I'll jump when I was ready, and I'd never be. And they'd push me in. 
   The summer class had only two days left to draw to an end and I still hadn't overcome my fear of diving. And I knew then that if I didn't do it in those last two days, I'd never be able to. I was crunched for time. I was scared but I had to jump. I had to take the plunge. And quite literally too. The previous night, I steeled myself, told myself I'd do it. I'd take the plunge.
  The next morning I packed in some of my mom’s pictures of idols of gods, that she had collected from various temples along with my swimsuit. I needed all the magic and faith I could get. I had to survive. I had to take the plunge. It was now or never. And then that day, I jumped. I did. And I swam. And I didn't drown. And I didn't die. I was a survivor. And that was when I realized God was just a massive source of strength within yourself, a reserve that you can draw from, that had no idea even existed, when you couldn't count on yourself. Those last two days had to be my best memories at the pool, In the water. because ever since the fear hasn't returned. I've been quite fearless. I even went on to win some swim competitions at school. Even went river rafting in the Beas river in Manali, during my trip there.I had the best seat on our raft and fell off nearly twice. It was epic. And guess what I heard there? They told me, that that was the exact same stretch of river they'd shot the old Mountain Dew ads at.
I'm on one of  these rafts! This is us in 2011. I'm wearing a white helmet. and sitting on the far edge/nose of the raft.
My mom and I after river rafting. totally drenched.
This is the rock that we brought back as a ouvenir from river rafting.

Who would've known? Go over here to like the Mountain dew Facebook page

Have you ever had any near death experiences? How do you rise above the fear? What does it take to get you to take the plunge? Let me know in the comments below.

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