This piece was written when I was in LA last year:
I have come US to spend 3 months for some work. I've bought few things for my friends and family members as 'America ki Nishaani'. For myself, I decided to take back to India the kind of memories that would never fade with time. इसे अभौतिक होना चाहिए.. So I decided to learn something.
I chose Swimming.
It is said that cycling and swimming, once learnt can never be forgotten in your entire lifetime, even if you don't practice.There was a big swimming pool here in our apartment complex.I had only weekends to learn this. So the time and effort to do swimming had to be more compared to if I'd been practicing on a daily basis. It is really a tiring job initially. I started work out in Gym during weekends and soon after used to go to swim. That decision effectively meant getting out of the weekend comfort zone. Initially, I found it very very difficult to learn swimming. My trainer got tired of me; all this made me a frustrated learner.
Then I realized that I was practicing in the side waters of the pool, holding the platform on the sides of the pool. Anytime I got tired I caught hold of the platform and rested. Once again, the comfort zone was the biggest obstacle. If I had to learn swimming, if I had to take an unforgettable, unfading, non-material memory with me I had to get rid of comfort zone again. I had previous experiences of leaving comfort zones and the recall of those times helped a lot.After all confident steps taken once, make you more confident next time.I left the sides and moved to the middle, and even though the water was only as deep as on the sides (5 feet), I found that I was learning more quickly. The mind was the enemy; it was proved again in the pool.There was no platform nearby when I got tired so I had to be in water while trying to take rest. This constraint helped me make the water my friend.
So now, if I got tired of swimming I lay flat in water and took rest. I looked like a log floating effortlessly on water.The trainer was none other than my colleague Angom. He has the habit of speaking in formulae and avoids explaining everything in full detail. The learner has to understand/ interpret the formula and work according to his commitment. I started with swimming only with my feet. After my feet started to move my body through the water, I added hand movements. The feet had to work like the back fin of a fish and hands had to move like the oars of a boat or side fins of a fish; cutting the water as well as pushing the water behind. In the combined movement of feet and hands you start feeling two forces. One upward and another forward.
I was still poor in combining both movement at a time.Sometimes I concentrated on the feet and sometimes on the hands. The third stage required me to learn breathing. This is the most important thing, because 'if you do not breath you can not live and living is first condition to swim :) When you are rowing with both hands your body tilts ninty degrees everytime you stretch a hand forward. And during this time you have to take a quick stock of oxygen via mouth. Exhaling can be done anytime you're done with the consumption of inhaled oxygen like you do while standing on ground..........keep on doing like this and sing "मछली जल की रानी है, मैं भी जल का राजा हूँ "
After 8 swimming sessions I could proudly say "I CAN SWIM". I had learnt the free style. I also started learning 'backstroke' as well as 'breast stroke'...but only started, ok? No more ceiling high expectations. Alongwith I started working on my feet to be able to improve my stamina for doing more chap-chap in water.
Can any reward compare the satisfaction achieved after this confidence building? In future every time I feel low, I'll recall this learning and will be able to regain my confidence. No need to go out for confidence building workshops.It is exciting to imagine that everytime I would swim in India, I'll recall two A's: Angom & America. In this way I'm taking the most precious gift from here that can never be separated from me....Confidence brings best out of you. When you achieve something just by force of your will, the self-congratulations are more precious than any reward from the outside world.
A very close encounter, too close for comfort
3 years ago