There are incredible stories, incredible moments, incredible personalities, incredible actions, and even incredible experiences! I remember the first time I boarded an airplane, I was overwhelmed and I had said to myself: ‘This is incredible!’ Flying is no longer ‘incredible’… but I still find the lift-off not just incredible but a super sensual experience. However, diving into the sea is different! Scuba diving is an incredible experience full of soul-uplifting moments.
My wife and I had this ‘incredible experience’ of being 9 metres below the sea for nearly an hour and frankly, I didn’t want to come out into my own world. The undersea world was charming and watching the colourful fish swim around was more than just incredible… it was poetry.
It is this poetry that this blog post is all about. A poem that has forty-five pictures, a few paragraphs, some rhymes distributed at random, and captions that reflect the philosophy of life!
The romance began on Havelock Island quite early in the morning… the dive into the adventure happened a few hours later, of course. We were by the shore much before the conventional tourist even sets his wake-up alarm and saw the sea slowly inching towards us, delicately as if it didn’t want to unnecessarily disturb the sleeping corals and the murmuring sands on the shore. We walked carefully quite a distance into the shallow waters and retraced our steps with the playful little wavelets folowing us resolutely!
‘This is so romantic,’ said my wife, ‘we’ve walked where the daytime will be having shoulder high water and roaring waves.’
‘And the sun will no longer be so benevolent and subtle and photogenic and friendly!’ I replied, and then added, ‘Even this boat will no longer be anchored and will probably set sail with excited fishermen aboard.’
Is this a sketch that the heart has drawn
Of the soft strokes of an Andaman morn?
We walked for miles that early morning watching the dark shadows of trees turn bright and begin to reveal the harsh secrets of a beach that is no longer uninhabited. The foot-falls will soon start and little kids will rush towards the low branches searching for mysteries that cities do not have any more.
‘What else do we do today?’ asked my wife.
‘Let’s go scuba-diving…’ I replied. She smiled and our plan was final.
I search not for shells
Nor do I want a hidden pearl
I look for the wisdom that rides the waves
And goes from shore to shore
Waiting to be held in a willing palm
Cupped for a closer look and then
Gently lowered to carry on its journey
To other lands!
The first resolute step towards an incredible adventure
Our decision was made. We cycled up to the barefoot Scuba Diving shack and did some intensive form-filling after a hearty discussion with Vinod, one of the diving instructors there.
My eyes explored all the suits and the other things that divers use and began dreaming of what the next few hours might bring with it…
‘I can’t swim,’ my wife had asked Vinod.
‘No problem. Our instructor will always be there with you to guide and help you every moment.’
‘Even below the sea?’
‘Yes, even there. And don’t worry, this is an experience dive where you wouldn’t be going deeper than ten metres anyway.’
‘That too is around three storeys,’ asked my wife, but the excitement of an undersea adventure over-powered her fears and there were no more queries aimed at stalling our early morning resolve!
We went on a fisherman’s boat quite far away from the beach to a site where there were a lot of interesting corals and mesmerizing fishes swam around reflecting the colours that can be there only for them!
‘We’re going to learn a few essential skills before we actually go below and swim with the fishes,’ said one of our instructors.
And we were taught and made to practice all the vital signs that divers use when under water, how to breathe only through the device held by the teeth in the mouth, how to balance the pressure, how to use your own spit to clean and shine the goggles that we were to wear, and how to control our urge to touch any of the sensitive life that we see there.
‘And please don not say WOW when you sight a gorgeous fish,’ laughed the instructor and continued, ‘becaus eif you do, your device will fall off and you’ll be full of salt water!’
Seeing a bit of panic all around, he spoke again, ‘Therefore, another skill you need to learn is how to retrieve your breathing device.’
The skills session went on for quite some time before we were asked to lie face up in the water and towed to the deeper sea…
As the bubbles rose up I knew
I was going deeper than I had ever been
To be where only a few
Have dared to be and this would mean
There’s something ‘fishy’ in my genes!
Happiness, I remembered, is not to be
A spoken word but just a sign
And I used my hands that were free
To say ‘I’m lovin’ it’ and ‘I’m fine.’
No words uttered, no sounds were made
And yet there was poetry of a high grade!
It seems as if I would not blink
Would not speak, would not think
These moments in this different world
I want them etched in thoughtful ink!
My fate, my destiny
Has brought me here
And I shall see
What until now
Was just a picture
In the mind!
Yes, this short period will remain big
In my memory for a long long time
And will have a rhythm,
A beat that will refuse to fade away…
Back to the base, we changed, bathed, hung our diving suits to dry after washing them in fresh water… and here I am posing with the one that I wore.
We shared all the pictures that we had clicked and though there a lot of smiles all around there were less words floating. We were all still somewhere in the deep sea playing with the corals and the fishes…
This incredible experience was an adventure and the certificates that are now with us tell us that this was as real as real could ever be.
Note: all pictures were taken by me, my wife, and a friend with an under-water camera.
10 April 2012