Staying Afloat

Yesterday, I went swimming.

After 4-5 years, maybe, I swam. Or rather, I tried to. That thing they say, “Once you learn swimming/cycling, you have learnt for life. You never forget.” All lies. Pure bullcrap, I say.

My head wouldn’t register the rhythm of popping out to breathe. The mind struggling between, “all those breathing exercises in yoga class gone for a toss” and “all those breathing exercises is why there isn’t water snorting up my nose.”

My legs had forgotten how to float, they just dragged behind the torso. What choice did they have? The helpless, unwilling children that they were, being dragged to the dentist.

My heart pounded hard within the first 20 meters, “You want cardio? Here, take cardio.”

My eyes refused to adjust to the particularly poor visibility in the pool on our building premises. Don’t ask. That was supposedly the cleaned-up version of the pool.

Not that a clean pool would help me recall how to move my arms to displace water smoothly and not go splash-splASH-SpLaSh-s p l a s h. What did I tell you? No rhythm. What. So. Ever.

Not that I care, but I would be an amusing sight to onlookers. Not that I care, there were none. It was drizzling. And supposedly, no one likes pools with lots of leaves, from the trees above them, merrily floating on the water. And in the water.

Not that I care, my attempt at swimming amused me too. Not that I care, it felt like I wasn’t looking either. The very act of not being able to swim was surprisingly meditative.

The gaze was internal. It was critical. But, it was also amused that it was being critical. It was unexpected. But, maybe focussing on the chaos of the crying legs, the stubborn head, the vengeful heart, and the fogged-out eyes, the gaze had no choice but to observe the debacle. It was steady. As if telling me—come what may, I am here watching you stay afloat. Watching you entertain me, but watching you, I am.

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