This is dedicated to my ex-colleague and good friend, Binchu, who by the way is still alive and drinking well, so no need for any pity faces.
My love for water, to dive in it, to cut through it, to float above it, has not been one by birth or childhood. It is rather recent considering I learnt it only at the age of 16. On the contrary, my early experiences with water has been unpleasant. I hated to take bath my birth as I am told by my mom n sis who repeat my ordeal before being forced to bath, @Enikku chali venam! (I want dirt!), even now.
Once while playing kallan n police, I ran to the terrace of the house to notice there was no place to hide. Now I wonder what I was thinking! Instead of hiding under a bed or behind the door, why run to the terrace! Maybe I just wanted to get as far away from the police as he started the count down from 100. No one really counted all the way from 100 to 0, impatience is a child's first nature, we are mislead to believe its innocence. In that barren terrace, the only place to hide was the water tank, and that's where I drowned for the first time in my life. The bubbles coming out was racing up, I tried to stand up in the tank, but the floor was too slippery to get a grip and my hands failed to find something to grab. There is no emotion to this memory now, no fear, no suffocation, just a few pictures and video clips without sound or taste.
The first time I went to sabarimala pilgrimage, my pre-teenage ego was bubbling as I defied the fast, 41 days of veggie food continuously was not a practical option then or even now. I decided to chat my ego rather than calling out loud 'Swamiye Saranam Ayyappo!'. We reached the pampa in the morning, and it was time to take a dip in this holy water before the ascent to the temple. My cousin suggested to wet the legs only, the holy water did not look very hygienic. I was more than happy to agree! The water was not even knee deep in the first step in the river bank, I decided to go one more step down, then something told me to go one more, I drowned for the second time in my life, as there was no more steps at that bank. The picture repeated, bubbles came out, hands didn't find anything to grab, there was no landing unlike the water-tank episode. Also, Bubbles were not very clear as the water was neither. My cousin and some other ayyapan took me out of the water immediately. These memories do not have emotion too now. Although I did call out loud 'Swamiye Saranam Ayyappo!' on the further ascent to the temple. :P
My mother decided to sent me to swimming coaching class later and despite these previous experiences, I started to love swimming and believed that it is the next best thing to flying.
Ever since I came to Dubai, my swimming career has hit a recession. The hope to swim sooner or later drove me to buy a new swimming dress yet to be worn. In a dream couple of days back - I was standing in front of a pool. As I was about to jump in it, A whistle blew! "You are not supposed to swim in the pool wearing formal trousers and shirt." Time was ticking, the pool is open only for an hour. I rang a few numbers, ran a few rounds here n there and finally found a swimming dress! 30 minutes left for the pool timing to be over. My formal trousers was not coming off easily, Muscles seem stiff! It is taking even more time to put on the swimming dress, goggles, and head-cap on! Finally I am all set for swimming! Unfortunately there is just 5 minutes remaining. Well! 5 minutes is good enough for a round of swim! After all its been more than a year in Dubai of non-swimming. I dived into the water, it was cold, the feeling of water hitting your face after a long break, being blinded for a split second, the slight sensation of breathlessness, as we switch to the rhythm of breathing inside water.... But I woke up from my sleep... gasping! I was Binchufied.
Binchufied, absolutely binchufied. The sleep was gone, I couldn't swim yet again. 1 hour of waiting beside the pool. The feeling is best expressed as 'binchufied'. A word Able had coined.
Binchu n I was once travelling to UK. It was a long flight and the idle waiting stuck in your cramped seats was getting unbearable. The only hope was some beer. We patiently waited for the air hostess to serve beverages and food. Finally it was our turn to make a wish! Binchu happily ordered for a beer; but she brought him milk! Thus Binchufied...