I began the year with a new realization about myself and yes, a lake helped me come closer to myself. I am always on the quest for finding myself, dissecting my thoughts and acts to find out the “Why” in “What”.
This happened on a road trip to Vangani, a small village on the outskirts of Mumbai. We were headed to our colleague and good friend, Ajay’s farmhouse. After a bumpy car ride that included a few flying lessons on the Mumbai – Karjat route, we reached what would be the venue for the 2013 New Year bash.
Ajay and Mihir (the man who loves to defy gravity with his car) spent the night setting up UV lights on the terrace and kudos to them, because the “party rehearsal” was truly psychedelic. The morning next day was lazy and inconsequential barring the Misal Pav, a Maharashtrian breakfast dish, that spiced up the morning.
And then came the moment of truth, the truth about myself from THE LAKE.
“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye, looking into which, the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walde
I was excited to swim in a natural water body as it appealed to my affinity to all things natural, raw and unorchestrated. So here I went splashing and waddling my way into the cold lake and I found out how different I was in water. Unlike on land, in water I want to know where I am and where I am headed. I HATE surprises in water. As much as I love swimming, I am an unspontaneous, control freak in lakes. When your feet hit a rock instead of water, you good-spirited people might become like me too. So here are a few tips that might help you swim in the lake and avoid the open-water heebie-jeebies
- Don’t Panic – Unlike a swimming pool, the lake is on uneven piece of land with rocks beneath you, weeds floating everywhere and fish swimming around. So don’t panic if you hit the rock with a thud or feel a slimy creature nibbling on your toes or legs.
- Assess depth – While you can never be sure about how deep the lake is, spend some time assessing the depth by walking in the water before heading out for a swim
- Maneuver directions – Don’t lose track of the direction, keep looking around, stay tuned to your position
- Breathe & blow – Don’t panic when breathless, this is the commonest way of drowning; panic, and the subsequent gulping of huge amounts of water. Breath, turn your head to stick your face in the water and blow bubbles into water to regulate your breathing
- Swim like a fish, exit like a human – The water level sometimes sharply descends in places. So make sure you paddle out smoothly before you found ground to pull yourself out. Swimming briskly to the shore can lead to bruised knees and hands
The first time will be scary, so will be the second, third and the fourth, but never give up, your survival instincts will kick in and you will know soon enough “what not to do”. Till then enjoy the freedom that can only come from swimming in a lake.