Saturday, July 12, 2014

Holy Diver

How would this world be like after I'm dead? This is a recurring thought. What would I be like after I've breathed my last? Would a fragment of me remain in this world forever? Would I be alive in a different sense, a different form? The lines in my hand, hair on my arms, my toes and the gaps between them, twinkling eyes, boyish voice that I'm told the girls love, a balding head that I despise, an asymmetric face, parts of human body that I've seen many a times in Science text books that exist within me but I'll never see them, thankfully so, a heart that failed to love, a brain that slows down with every passing day, they would all disappear in thin air. Will this change the entropy of the universe at all?

I found these thoughts amusing as I climbed up the round metallic staircase. A teenager who seemed to be no more than half my age was climbing briskly ahead of me.
"Are you a regular? Never seen you before."
The husky voice stirred me out of my thoughts. The voice sounded like someone was calling me from another universe. It took me many seconds to make sense of what was being asked.

"Are you alright?"
"Yes, sorry. I was thinking about my work. I'm new here. I've recently moved to the city."
"Are you a pro? I haven't seen any divers of your age around."

I didn't understand what was the right thing to do at that moment. Take pride in the fact that I was the oldest around trying to dive or curse my year of birth.
"No, I'm not a pro. I saw some kids last week and thought it was fun. I thought I'll give it a try." I said adjusting my rubber cap to give some breathing air to my right ear.

The boy stopped in his tracks. He turned around completely.
"Are you kidding me? This is your first jump."
"Yeah. Don't worry. I'm only going for 5 meters. That is nothing."
"You could hurt yourself seriously. This is no age to dive. I suggest that you go and try your hand at golf."

Enough! I thought of asking him to mind his own business. To keep his advice for his father. Something stopped me though. I have always found it hard to be rude to anyone. Make no mistakes about it, I'm not proud of it. What is raved as politeness is in actuality my timidness. It wasn't the first and the last time in my life when I didn't say what I should have said. It is as if there is a transformer inside of me, placed besides my vocal chords, that takes what I want to say and converts it into what I actually say.

"Fuck off." is what I wanted to say, rather should have said.
"Thanks for your concern but I think I'll be fine." is what I said instead.

"Sir, I admire your spirit but I'm a professional diver and I think you are taking it way to easy."
"I won't die, will I?" I said displaying my irritation.
"I don't know what makes you think that 5 meters is safe for a first time diver. When I started as a kid, I did 1 meter for months."
"You could seriously hurt your back."
"I won't die, will I?" I repeated.
"Is everything about life and death? What if you get a serious injury that disables you for life? Would that life be better than death?"

That sounded reasonable. I thought hard on a line of argument but really couldn't think of one. It's not that I can't reason well. I can. I give up way too easily though. The boy based on whatever he had said so far sounded intelligent and even if I found a way to continue the debate on whether I should or should not go ahead with my first dive, I could see that he would easily win the battle of reasons. I was feeling the pressure. I had to find a way to my first dive.

"Do you suggest that I go for one meter only?" it was worth the try.
"I like your enthusiasm. I've been diving here for the last ten years. You remind me of myself. I wanted to directly go to the 10 meter board when I first came here." he said and paused.
"How about I give you some tips at the one meter board?"

I knew I had unlocked the door. I played along.
"I could do that myself. Do you really think I need coaching at 1 meter?"
"You do. Also, some injuries are more psychological than physical. It's a small lesson anyways."
That was reasonable as well. I gave in.
"Thanks. Let's do it."

We started climbing down towards the one meter board. I started thinking what if I hadn't found him? What if I had climbed and jumped from the 5 meter board unscathed? That would have surely given me the courage to go up to the 10 meter board. I imagined myself running in circles towards the highest point. I saw myself jumping from the board and then in a flash it all went wrong. I hit my head on the board. I fell down and smacked my belly flat on the water. I choked. My lungs tried hard to suck in the air but all I could sense was water in my wind pipe. My hands and legs splattered the water as I looked around. The sun changed its shape and moved frantically. It was like watching television on a rainy day. My ears buzzed. I couldn't scream. May be I did but no one heard.

Then, there was peace. They were removing my body from the pool. Someone checked my pulse. Somebody called up the police. Somebody scanned my wallet. There was commotion all around. No one realized that I was absolutely fine lying by the pool side enjoying the sun. I was in the tranquil state that men desire all their lives.

"Are you ready for your first diving lesson?"
He was on the edge of the one meter board.
"Yes coach."
I really was not. How could I tell him about my fantasies though? It was the transformer at work again.

He was facing me. "Diving is fun and it's very safe. You just have to follow some basic..."

He couldn't complete what he wanted to say. I thought he wanted to tell me that you just have to follow some basic rules. May be principles. Guidelines is probably a best fit. His right foot slipped while turning towards the pool. He fell with all the force and his balls got crushed on the edge of the board. There was a loud scream followed by a splash when his back hit the water. He struggled to find his way out. I looked around and realized that there was no one I could call for help.

I wanted to help.

I would have if I knew how to swim.

Lucky bastard.

1 comment:

  1. Hello K! We've missed you.
    This makes for an interesting read. Life/fate/whatever you call it, is a trickster and has the last laugh, always.

    ReplyDelete