Colours of unimaginable shades, geometrically impossible shapes, a hoard of lifers at one go. In a world whose language is silence, I swam my way through, breathing through my mouth and gripping the guard which was the only source of air tighter and tighter as time went by. All I could hear was my breath- in and out like clockwork, like they had taught us. Another tick on my bucket list- deep sea diving (in Andaman and Nicobar islands). It was more than I had anticipated, it exceeded expectations
We went in as a team of ten, all of us from the same tour package, and all familiar faces. After around an hour of training which involved using the equipment, breathing comfortably and basic techniques like removing water that might enter your goggles when under water, and also learning the various signals to be used to convey certain messages, we were taken down into the unknown, each one of us accompanied by an instructor who was to lead us through the trip.
As he finally turned me upside down and pulled me away from the surface, I took my first glimpse at a world that I had never before seen. And was it different!! Everything around me existed in a harmony so fragrant that it seemed to gratify the eye without arresting it. Eels, black as polish peeped out of corals, clamps of various colours breathed as the soft flesh between the two hard shells quivered ecstatically. Fish of various colours and sizes swam all around me, adorned with a classic dignity that was more an emanation than an attribute.
After about quarter of an hour, my teeth started to ache with gripping the guard so tightly, and my lungs ached for a fresh breath of air that was not compressed in a cylinder. I felt my ears popping and looked up to see the surface getting closer and closer. As we broke the surface, I thankfully gulped in a mouthful of fresh oxygen, glad to finally be out in open air, but extremely dejected at leaving the unknown world so completely unexplored. The millions of things that I had not been able to see beckoned to me, but I had to push on towards the shore, hardly able to feel my teeth and gums.
This hour of my life will always remind me of how insignificant we actually are in this world, and of how intricate and delicate everything is in Nature. It also gave me a new addition to my bucket list- to get a PADI certificate, which is a certificate that is given to professional scuba divers and I have sworn to tick this off my list as soon as I graduate.
As Tec Clark sums it up beautifully,“Scuba diving is sensual. To breathe underwater is one of the most fascinating and peculiar sensations imaginable. Breathing becomes a rhythmic melody of inhalations and exhalations. The cracks and pops of fish and crustaceans harmonize with the rhythmic chiming of the bubbles as you exhale. Soon, lungs act as bellows, controlling your buoyancy as you achieve weightlessness. And, as in your dreams, you are flying. Combine these otherworldly stimuli and you surrender completely to the sanctuary of the underwater world”.