After nearly three and half decades, I allowed myself to re-enter the folds of water . A silent promise to my son forced me to enroll for a swimming class.
For someone who fears water even while bathing , this was a small step equivalent of a giant leap in my lifetime. As I dangled my legs and carefully allowed the water to rise above my shoulders, I could sense the tightening of muscles in every inch of my body.
My coach, a middle aged soft spoken man, turned around and said, “Madam hold your breath and put your head underwater. ”
I was not prepared for this sudden immersion. What about gently breaking ice by sitting on the platform and staring at the blue clear tiles below ? wondered my mind.
Sensing my trepidation, he shouted across from the kids swimming area.
“You came to life only in water madam.Anyone can swim, just let go of yourself , the water will bring you up.”
Knotted through my body were a thousand thoughts about this and that . A last frontier on my list of things to do began with swimming. I needed to conquer that first step of submerging my worries and letting go under the 4 feet of clear blue liquid.
As I submitted myself to the water and the coach standing nearby, I could feel myself go lighter and coming above the ripples displaced.
Saranagathi, a term often ingrained by a colleague friend of mine, came to light. The secret of letting go is submitting yourself unconditionally to the higher power( here may be the coach, may be the force of water, may be god) .
Letting go is a concept most talked about, least practiced and most difficult to adopt. As we age, we are not able to submit our self , our responsibilities and us to the flow of time. We continue to tighten , to hold on , to control, to dream, to think, to (re)act and in the process break a momentum that comes naturally.
A quick trip to hospitals across the city paints a bleak picture of the old and suffering they undergo. Men and women , holding on to the last detail , unable to digest the reality that they face , trying to still control the flow of time that is well past them.
The 4 stages of life , our scriptures have defined, follow the meticulous rigor of being unfastened to fastening with knowledge( Balam to Brahmcharyam), graduating to tightening and testing with responsibilities( Brahmacharyam to Grusthashram) and then evaluating with the ultimate process of resigning to call of time( Vanaprastham).
Complete unconditional surrender allows us to float above the realms shackles life entwines us in and experience the joy of being weight less.
Call it moksha, call it jannat, call it renunciation, or redemption. Its all about letting go at the appropriate moment. Too early , we ll never feel the knots unravell, too late what would float would be lifeless.
A movie etched, in my memory is Zindagi na milegi …., A dialogue engraved forever is ” Ek dubki mein zindagi ke saare rahasya khul gaye …. bus saans lethe raho” – ( One dip, has unravelled the secret of life – just keep breathing) . Well mine turned out to be the moment when I held on to the one little breath I had taken , and let go of everything except the essence of life.
A long road to learning the art of swimming lies ahead, but the moment of truth has just passed by.