Monday, July 28, 2008

One summer afternoon

I had woken up at nine. I am on holidays so there is nothing strange about waking up at nine. And it was a Saturday morning. But I have always insisted that I am incapable of sleeping till late and that I must go to bed at ten and wake up at five in the morning. This is my natural rhythm of life, I say.

Perhaps, over the past few years, my sleeping and waking hours depend upon my computer and internet? Early morning is the time for reading emails, writing blogs, reading on internet. And, here in Bibione I have no internet, so I don’t have any incentive to wake up earlier.

After a lazy coffee and cereals, I put on my swimming costume and a t-shirt, Nadia was wearing her two piece swim suit and off we went to the coast. It takes about ten minutes to reach the seaside and every day we follow the same routine - a walk towards the light house of Bibione and back to the beach for a swim, before coming back home for lunch and afternoon siesta.


Yesterday was no different. It is liberating to wear swim suits and walk in the city centre where other persons are more or less in the same state of undress. The sky was bright blue and there was not even a tiniest bit of cloud floating up there. But it was not hot, there was a nice cool breeze.

It was almost 10.30 when we had started from home and by the time we reached the light house it was almost mid day. I asked Nadia to climb on some rocks in the beginning of the sea, so that I could take her pictures. While I was clicking her pictures, I remember thinking that those pictures were like love letters. Probably all marriages go through this process that starts from love, goes trough a process of friction, discussions, fights and mutual adjustments and then finally finds its groove, where you understand each other and in spite of all the differences, love each other’s company.

In front of the light house, we asked someone to take our picture. Every year, in front of the light house, we ask someone to take our picture. Looking at these pictures from the past 26 years, I can see how age has been changing us.


1988
1991
2005
2008

As we walked back, I remember that we looked at a family with a dog that was walking towards us and we talked about the absolutely cuddly dog. And it was almost as an afterthought, when I realised that the lady in the group was topless. How quickly you get used to the human bodies, and why do fundamentalists of different religions make such a hoo ha about female bodies, I had thought.

Back at the beach, it was time to go for the swim. The water was slightly cold and absolutely transparent. Putting the head under the water, I felt that I was floating in the beautiful green coloured world. I could see Nadia swimming close by but there were not many other persons swimming at that time. Probably people were going back for lunch since it must have been around 1 PM. Then I started to do rotations, I love rotating in the water, going round and round like a seal. The only problem is that nowadays my head starts to spin so after some rotations I must lie still waiting for them to pass.

I was floating in the water, when I heard Nadia call me. “Don’t go near the boulders, they are sharp and cut you”, she called. During my rotations and floating, I had drifted close to the boulders placed inside the sea like a finger going inside the water from the beach. I dived in and swam away from the boulders. As I came up for air, I saw that I had not moved away but rather I was a little closer to the boulders. I tried to feel the ground with my feet but it was too deep and I couldn’t touch the ground. I could feel the strong current pushing me towards the boulders, so I tried again, making big powerful strokes to move away. Again, as I raised up my head from water, I saw that I had made little headway. Suddenly I panicked. I could feel the sea as something living, surrounding me from all sides and pulling me inside.

Nadia was swimming towards me and I told her to stay away and not to come closer in that strong current. “Go towards the boulders, let the current take you, go the other side of the boulders”, she cried, sensing my panic. I followed her advice, going towards the boulders and slowly got up on a boulder just underneath the water surface. The surface of the boulder was full of sharp cutting edges but I did manage to get up and sit down. Nadia on the other hand, had gone beyond the tip of the boulders and passed to the other side. “This means it can be done and the current is not that bad”, I thought and slowly the panic passed.

After five minutes, when I had got back my breath, I moved gingerly over the boulders underneath the water surface and then dived in, swimming away from them without any problems.

Perhaps I had not been in mortal danger and it was all panic and if I had shouted, life guard would have heard me or other persons swimming not so far would have heard me and would have saved me. But for me, that sensation of being pulled inside the sea, feeling the sea as a living being surrounding me and laughing at me and tempting me to go and loose myself in its wonderful green world, were very real and if Nadia had not been there, perhaps that panic could have ended differently.

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