My eyes were reduced to a slit.The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds since morning,but right now,it was spewing heat over my head.I was trying to find the face that I was supposed to trust my life with.I knew he was somewhere around.The knot in my stomach was wrenching tighter.The lump in my throat seemed permanent.He emerged smiling and jerked his head slightly telling me to follow him.Like a little child,I did just that.After a few steps towards the horizon,he noticed my hesitance.
‘Are you afraid?’ he asked. Embarrassed, I nodded,breaking into a smile and said ‘sort of’. He gently took my hand in his and said, ‘trust me…its a beautiful experience’. I nodded again and we set towards the horizon again.When we reached the distance he told me to let go off the weight and float freely.I tried and panicked immediately.He pulled me close by the waist in the most non-offensive manner possible.He looked at me reassuring with apathy,and said ‘keep breathing’. In that instant I knew he would keep me safe.Forgetting every thing else I started floating.He showed me the world I had never thought of witnessing.It was beauty beyond words can describe.I knew exactly what being one with nature meant.There was peace in every inch of my body and I never wanted to get out of that phase.But at that time,I wasn’t even thinking about that.I was living the moment…with him,silently gliding by my side,only looking at me to ask if I was okay at regular intervals. He let me put my hand on his shoulder as he guided me through the mystical world.I had never felt so safe before.He lifted me twice as I ran out of breath.Even if that bothered him,he hid it well.I lost the track of time.I could hear nothing,and feel nothing but peace.Peace…for the first time in my life I understood what the word really meant.
As we returned,I thanked him profusely,for being there in one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.He just smiled and said ‘most welcome’. I don’t know his name,nor does he know mine.He must have guided thousands in to the nature’s realm.By now he must have forgotten me,but I can never forget my snorkeling instructor, for without him, I would never have been able to go under water and feel light and free,the way I have never felt before!
(This is the first part of a series of memoirs from my recent trip to the island of Lakshadweep,India.)