Yeah, that’s me in 2019 in Thailand. So, this picture was taken moments before me jumping in mid sea (with a life jacket of course). Now, it may not be a big deal for many but for me it was certainly, as I had learnt how to swim just two days ago. That’ right. Where I grew up, there weren’t many public swimming pools and we weren’t that rich to have our own swimming pool. Also, I wasn’t much interested in swimming to be honest.
As I recall, the speed boat was still shaking because of the waves, and all the confidence that I had gathered with a 4-5 hour swimming experience some days before was lost instantly as soon as my feet touched the crystal clear sea water of the Phang Nga bay. I blanked out. The people behind me were waiting for me to get in so they could have their turn. I took a deep breath, said a small prayer in my head and went in. Too scared by the motion of the waves, I held the boat stairs as hard as I could because I had lost all confidence that I could swim and I felt the sea was pulling me inside.
After spending about 3-4 minutes holding the boat, I whispered to myself “it is now or never”. I don’t know when will I get a chance like this again so I have to make full use of this and let go of my fear. Now, I never had used a snorkeling equipment before. The instructor had told to hold the mouth piece tightly inside the mouth so the sea water couldn’t get inside. But, as soon as I let go of the boat and was floating, I gulped a lot of salty sea water. I tried to remain calm and kept my head above the water and made a desperate attempt to swim and held to the safety of my boat. That was intense !!!! But also, exciting and thrilling. That couple of seconds on my own in the sea brought back a lot confidence and energy within me. Now, I was excited to do that again. So, I tested my snorkeling mask a couple of times so that I don’t gulp in more sea water. It worked well. Now was the time to do it. One last prayer and I kicked the boat that propelled me into mid sea. But this time the sea water didn’t get inside my mouth. I was on my own and swimming with ease in the sea. Next thing, I dipped my head inside and saw the beautiful coral reefs. Small fishes in groups were passing by me. Suddenly, the sea seemed friendly now and waves as if helping me to stay afloat.
Even to this day, I am not a complete swimmer. I can only manage to swim in pools which have depths less than my height. But, this story is a reminder to myself and all of you reading this, that everything seems difficult at the beginning, but slowly and steadily things will get under control and you will come out of victorious. Just keep going.