lessons from a different school

I was chatting with a friend recently about survival instinct and evolution - of course many would think these are weird topics to feature in texted conversations - and as matter of fact i cited an example from my swimming pool experience . That actually prompted me to dive deeper into this subject and here i go ...

first up , i learned to swim very recently and it was a worthy experience . in fact i learnt a lot of lessons, not only swimming, and relearnt a few lessons in the pool . the example that i quoted to my friend - survival instinct can be the best teacher in the world ! you dont learn the nuances unless you explore the depths here . one doesnt stretch his capabilities in a shallow pond ....... after all the ground is within reach under water. once i hit the depths i get forced to stretch myself to swim long and long. else i wont survive . eventually i survived and swam . heard do or die ?!

to be accepted , learning such things at 21 with a dark mush and a 5 8' height can be embarrassing , especially when you dont catch the tricks of the trade as fast as the young kids do in the pool. you ve to go through times when you buttress the wall and practice leg moves at 4 ft depth and a chap half your height just jumps into the water in front of you , gives you a funny look - or it may be my perception - and carries on with his supernatural deeds. it happens that at times you get caught clueless to the questions posed by a toddler. so size doesnt matter here.

in fact we would never have given a damn about our attendance percentages in the classes on familiar terrains. but here ... listen to this story. there is this 8 yr old boy and a 21 yr old boy (or man) who both start practising swimming the same day. everyday they evaluate themselves with the other as a reference and evolve at the same level each day. then one fine day this 21 yr old gets sleepy and skips the pool in the morning. the next day , to his surprise , the 8 yr old kid has - literally overnight - matured into a whiz kid at the pool . it is true that attendance regularity has so much of a value ..... one of my school teachers once said "sincerity has some marks " !

getting to some psychological perspectives , we find it difficult at times to stay light mentally. all the meditation tools and yogas teach you to be weightless in the mind. the swimming rigour demands you to loosen up and shed the weight of your physical existence from your mind. its just difficult for starters to imagine that they are not carrying the weight of themselves . relaxing mentally and developing an illusion that you are weightless can be taxing . it so happens that you may get stressed to your wit's end how to keep yourselves relaxed. but you learn it eventually .. and BOOM you suddenly experience losing your weight. staying light is the key and it doesnt just apply to the swimming pool !

the other thing is to stretch yourselves for positive results. initially 10 metres is a birth away to reach .. believe me . you ll understand the 'so near yet so far' thing perfectly once you face the music of water. you desperately try to reach the target and move your feet and arms as though your non-committal lady-love would accept to reciprocate your proposal if and only if you reach that 10 mtrs. and by ill fate you just dont move or the distance between you and her seems a universal constant. eventually you reach the 10 mtrs mark, pump fists , pat yourselves and then look at another person who is doing his fourth 25 mtr lap just inches away from you. you get tempted. now you place your lady-love at 15 mtr distance and try to win her love , then 20 mtr, 25 mtr and it goes on. wonder at what distance the other person i mentioned placed his wife ?! on hindsight there are also chances that he might place his wife at the staring point in stead of the target and stretch his distances to continuously monitor success .

then you meet another 25 yr old peson at the pool .. your junior ! just when you ve mastered free style, he practices to float and hold breath . you give him much valued advice not with the air of an expert or a superiority complex. but with an understanding of his feelings . after all to get tips from another whiz kid would be embarassing deep inside for him and who better can read his mind than you !you save him the agony and get his goodwill and a friendship blossoms as an aquatic flower .

in a matter of days you learn to swim and befriend an element of nature in a new dimension. after all you can be sure that the water won't pull your legs down in future. and the friendship between you and nature grows robustly , watered everytime you dive into the pool.

somebody once said learning is a never ending process !


  1. well well GS. i can safely assume that our conversation last night has been the trigger for this. and yeah, only when you are cornered, you end up giving your best. so the swimming has not been only an exercise for your body alone :P

    but given your temperament, you always tend to look into mundane matters too with a the eye of a connoisseur, making each and every moment a more interesting one. cheers :)

  2. I am +1 with the last line da.inum vazhkaila evlovo kathuka vendiadu iruku.ilaya shankar?

  3. Even 4 me, the waters remain unexplored till now.. No probs... I still hav a year and half 2 to reach the '21' mark :-)

  4. da machi engirunthu vanthathu thangaluku epadi oru arivoli;... viyapai ulathu...

  5. Machi I am sure of one thing... if you had learnt to swim at the age of 10 you would not have thought so much.. anyways.. what a theory of relativity from a swimming lesson!!! So near yet so far.. good one..

  6. to befriend an element of nature is an art...

    to learn it without fins is a great thing....

    the last line coincides with this proverb......
    knowm is a drop... unknown is an ocean.....

  7. பெயரில்லாஜூன் 23, 2009

    dude that is such a great writeup....keep up the good work....makes me wanna learn to swim as well.....

    abhishek nair



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