I am grateful to the the sea, the sun, the wind and the sand. They helped me come out of my blues. Three days of beach therapy did it for me.
I checked myself into a beach front hut for three days. Three days of no TV and no internet. I spend the first two days playing with the waves, walking in the sand barefoot, wandering aimlessly through the shore and watching the sea from the small courtyard of my waterfront hut. On the third day, I swam in the sea for many hours. It was crazy. I started swimming at dawn and got out of water only for breakfast and lunch. I was in the water till sunset.
It was exhilarating. Swimming for a while. Then floating for a while to conserve my energy for the next swim. Getting hit and tossed around by powerful waves, the salt and sand stinking my eyes, the fierce sun roasting my skin. Just before sunset, I sighted a pod of dolphins swimming nearby. I was awestruck. I swam forever and ever, like a woman possessed.
The sea has always marveled me. As a child, I have had the same dream many nights. I am floating in the wind like a soft feather and beneath me is the endless enigmatic ocean. Suddenly I am feeling vertigo and crashing down into the water. I have been terrified and overwhelmed by this dream.
I was afraid of going to the beach or stepping my foot into the water as a three or four year old. The crash of the thundering waves, the dark waters and the creatures that I imagined were lurking beneath, made it impossible for me to hit the waves. But as years passed by, I grew less and less afraid of it.
As a child, even though I was scared of the sea, I loved reading tales about it. I have imagined myself as a mermaid living in an underwater kingdom. I have also sailed the seven seas with Sindbad in all his fantasy voyages, of course in my imagination. I was enthralled especially by his first voyage in which he and his mates set ashore on a giant sleeping whale thinking that it was an island.
It was in fourth grade that I laid my hands on Moby Dick in the school library. I revelled in reading it countless times during the two months of summer vacation that followed . Likewise, Jonah’s story in the Old Testament has also fascinated me.
I started loving the sea. When I was in college, my love for the sea made me join the Naval wing of the National Cadet Corps. I did some swimming, sailing, boat-pulling and other water sports for a brief period. In the second year of my college, I became the best woman cadet of my State and was selected to join the NCC Naval wing contingent which was to participate in the Republic Day parade of my country that year. I was also selected to join a team of cadets to go for an international youth exchange programme. But I didn’t go for any of that. My NCC days had a rather sad and abrupt ending because I lost my fight with my father who was totally against it. (That is another story for another time).
Coming back to where I started, I don’t know what worked for me; swimming in the sea, the waves, the smell of the salt and sand, the wind, the dolphins, the starfish that latched on to my feet, the burning sun, the night sea shining in the moon light, the stars, the flickering neon lights of the numerous beach huts, the smiling foreign tourists, cheerful locals – they all played a part in washing away my blues.
After back to back spine surgeries, it’s complications and a host of other physical ailments attached to it that I had to go through in the short span of a year, I was feeling very gloomy and depressed. But not anymore. Not after my days near the sea. I long for a happy life once again. I am not floating in hopelessness and sadness anymore. Yes, I am weak out of what my body has gone through. But I want to gather strength and come here again, to swim better, to walk better and may be to jog through the beach in the mornings.
I lay in the sand like a beached whale. I enjoyed it. This is a private beach. Here, I am not under the prying eyes of locals like in my place. Here I can wear anything and do anything at the beach or in the water. I bought a two piece bikini which I wore underneath my T-shirt and shorts. I wasn’t ready to show off the layers of steroid-induced fat that covered my body. But I am hopeful that the next time I come here, I will be wearing only the bikini when I go for a swim, not clothes that weigh me down. So, I have resolved to lose those unnecessary pounds.
The power of the thundering waves, the power of the wind, the power of the ocean; the power of nature that man cannot fathom. The power of the Universe-Divine.
It gives us the realization that we are nothing but specks in this place called earth. That we are here only for a short while, and the next moment, we are gone. All this loathing, greed, jealousy and vile are of no use in the grand scheme of things. It’s all futile. We don’t know the end of the story.
I thank the sea for giving me hope. Now I want to ride the wave till I hit the beach.
P.S: I just can’t help it but add two very beautiful bible verses describing the wonder that is the ocean at the cost of sounding preachy.
‘So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee: that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.‘(Psalm 104: verses 25-27).
‘ For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so that it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail. Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.’ (Jeremiah 5:22).