I fear water.
Even a slight imagination of a deepwater site doubles my heartbeat. As a kid, I was drowned in a canal or stream a couple of times. I escaped death in both cases.
To win over my aquaphobia (I don’t know if it’s actually a phobia but there’s a great amount of anxiety when I imagine myself underwater), I decided to learn swimming in 2019. For two weeks I just kept playing in 3-feet water. I would envy kids/women/men enjoying swimming in 6-feet.
I often think water could be the reason for my death in the future.
One day, our swimming teacher came to me and said a little louder, “Leena, bahut ho gya tumhara yeha khelna, kal se tum 6 feet par jump karogi… (Leena, you are done with playing around kids section, you’ll be there in 6-feet from tomorrow). I almost got a heart attack.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I didn’t want clock to hit 7 AM the next morning.
But… maybe that’s life.
I greeted good morning to the mentor and said, “Sir, mujhe paani se bahut darr lagta hai…” (sir, I extremely fear water). I looked helpless while saying this.
“Arey… tumhara darr bhaga denge sab… main kis liye baitha hoon” (Hey, chill… you’ll be fine… what am I here for!). “What am I here for” was a huge relief. I thought if someone has this trust that I would be fine, they why am I worried. I found myself a little excited.
Sir let us be used to with 6-feet for a few days. I tried to make myself comfortable with holding the handle inside the water and jump up and down. I thought pool water accepted my presence.
One day, sir told me, “Leena, jump and reach the next side of the pool…” Once again almost a heart attack. “Sir… I can’t…” was my response. “Are you crazy, don’t show me your drama!” he looked angry. I felt bad. He took me to an edge of the pool and said, “You can do it, I know”. Again… “You can do it” sounded like a blessing. But deep down, I was scared. He paused for about 10 seconds and DARN… he pushed me in 6-feet water.
I don’t remember what happened for the next 15 seconds or so but when I was in my consciousness I saw sir screaming “Wah, Leena…” Other fellow swimmers were clapping for me. I did not know how did I do it, but I was happy too. That moment was not a win, it was the beginning of my struggle with water for a month. I somehow learned to swim but fear did not leave me. For a number of times, I got water up my nose underwater, became restless, was scared to death, but felt an accomplishment whenever I successfully crossed the length and width of the pool. Even typing this out is giving me uneasiness.
I always learned things hard way. And that’s where the real struggle is. Because the pool of life doesn’t come with inflatable floats.