Dip Trip

Swimming class – day 1

8.15 am: walking into the pool in the Anna university campus, splashes and squeals of kids waddling around in the pool. The pool luks a bit murky, wondering how soon will be doing a butterfly stroke in those 12 ft parts of the pool. hey dont they always say shoot at the stars..
8.50 am: registered for weekend classes. waited in the changing room till it was the ladies slot and walked gingerly to the edge of the pool now crowded with kids aged 3- 15. tried eagerly talking to a lady who looked around same age as mine. seems she came to pick up her son. hmph!
well that didnt stop me from getting into the pool and when the instructor told me rapidly in tamil how to get around the pool, i stared at him(well there was more than 1 reason to do that anyway) – open mouthed. hihi..
9.00 am: am holding on to the side of the pool and floating in a floater and doing the bend-kick-join routine. tsnt half as fun as i thought.
9.10 am: am…very…breathless…
9.15 am: instructor came and said dont stop.hmph! wot does he know of us first timers..so sneakily took another break.
9.30 am: my back..my back..my back.. i think i lost it in the pool!
9.45 am: when does the stupid hour get over @#@%@^#$^
9.50 am: hey!!!! i discovered wot was wrong..was holding on to the side of the pool too hard. if i just relax bit and not think of how many people wud hav peed in the pool the routine is quite easy!
9.55 am: im a mermaid!!haahaahaa..
10.00 am: time s up. awwww.. just when i was getting a hang of it.
10.30 am: back in flat. feeling backless and shoulder less. wonder how my legs are hanging down there without a spine to hold on to.

Swimming class – day 2

8.55 am: pool less crowded , but damn smart kids are diving into 12 ft, which looks like a distant dream..
9.00 am: instructor tells me do the routine again after that will start hand movements in 4 ft. yessir!
9.10 am: damn the arms, damn the instructor, i am floating like a log and not bcoz I am swimming @#$@#%
9.15 am : smart-kid 1 swims past by as if he were a darn old fish. im sure i saw him snickering.
9.20 am: over-smart-kid 1 dived and swam under me causing me to shriek out SHAAAARK!!!
9.30 am: smart-kid 2 asks me y am i stationary for a long time!
9.34 am: ok something is definitely wrong.
9.40 am: gotcha! instead of pushing the water on the surface sideways, i was waddling it down with fingers separated.. think of frog and do it..
9.43 am: HA
9.50 am: crossed pool twice – widthwise.. heheh
9.55 am: frog frog
10.10 am: done and out. tried kicking smart-kid 1 under the water. think caught really-small-kid. gotta get outta here fast.

Swimming class – day 3

hmm pretty much the same.
except that the girls who joined with me have been attending classes daily and have started swimming without the floats.
oh and also, the instructors know my name now and use it to shout from the other end of the pool and tell me to stop taking so many breaks or why dont i try swimming!!

Swimming class – day 4

total disgrace!
now im swimming just like a drunk frog who is really thankful she has a floater to keep her from drowning in 5 ft deep water.
and not to mention the embarrassing time when the instructor told me to kick wide and i did and he kinda winced bcoz i kicked him where it hurts most. ahem!
its the money i spent and those occasional moments of joy i feel while floating in water that’s keeping me stick to the float. 😦

Swimming class – day 5:
Hmm pretty much the same.. except that i have mastered the art of floating inside a floater, which by now feels like a brother i never had.Hence cant wait to get rid of it.

Swimming class – day 6:
D Day
9.00 am :half an hour in floater and then its “so long farewell, its time to say good bye” to my companion in rough waters.
9.30 am: Bring it on baby!!!
9.40 am: hehe actually i was thinking, may be i shud have the floater back?? 😦
9.50 am: this (gasp) is (gasp) so(gasp) damn(gasp) difficult(gasp) and(gasp) funny(gasp) (gasp) (gasp) …

well basically i dnt know how to float in water. all i know is it will be a shame to the family if i drown and die in 4 ft water.
So here i am, sans float, stumbling,fumbling and frankly thinking its easier to sit on the floor of the pool than try to swim.

That way i can also ignore instructor’s sarky comments – “no water to drink at home??”,”Leave some for people who are actually swimming” etc.
10.00 am:over and out. met a newbie on her first day. gave swimming tips.. ooh la la..

Swimming class – day 7:

Day 7 never happened! As soon as i got into the university gate, a hoard of policemen and women surrounded me and then it was a rapid fire round of questions. Where are you goin? what are you doing? why are you here ( quite philosophical actually).Hmm.. finally an old inspector took pity on my bewildered self and explained paternally ” the votes are being counted ma, no outsiders allowed.” oh cool. and i thought they were going to arrest me for swimming in their pool.

Swimming class – day 8:

sceptically peered into the university and no sign of a khaki.so far so good.

At the pool floaters are sidelined along the edge – how i miss them!Got into the pool with glee and tried swimming. hahaha.. that’s a nice word.try. even if u are a born loser at something that word gives it a positive twist. anyway i “tried” swimming without the floater from one side of the pool to the other.

Anyone who swims would definitely know what goes into it. breathing right and propelling yourself right. I’m good in theory u see..
as i was thinking may be this is one of my luckier days, the instructor had to crush my hopes of competing in the next Olympics. or may be he thought i was practicing for the synchronized swimming by the look of it.
he took myself and 2 other ladies to the deepest part of the pool – the dark waters of 12 ft and told us, yeah just like that as if we were sitting ducks, “go ahead and swim”.

and swim i did! it was totally an exhilarating moment. i knew i cud no longer feel terra firma under me and that the instructor would help me out if i drown and that if i cud just swim a little longer, ill reach the steps and out of danger.

I did one more lap and waited for others to finish off. While waiting something happened which sucked away all my glee. the kid screamed!

The kid must be 12 or 13 years old and a very good swimmer to my standards. But as soon as she was taken to the 12 ft part, she started screaming. She was coaxed,pacified,warned but to no avail. she continued screaming at the top of her lungs all the time she was swimming. That did it for me. I sneakily got out of the pool and jumped back into the safe 5 ft and vowed to go back to 12 ft because i was doing a far better job there than here. but i just couldn’t get me in there too.. hmm time for some more synchronized swimming.

Swimming class – day 9:

Got companion to go to the class with. My roomie. She was so concerned about getting tanned that she was asking if we can carry an umbrella while swimming! hahaha just kidding.

9.05 am: so this is the 9th day and I started off at the 5ft. was still finding it hard to modulate breathing. Watched people swim with their heads above water. So pestered instructor to tell me how to do it. To which he looked into the distance (even though the pool has a compound wall) and answered “each one to himself” or something to that effect in Tamil. Looks like this is just one of those things that ill have to figure out myself.
9.15 am: GASP!!!!!
9.20 am: asked instructor to help me out. He demonstrated the breathing very theatrically and I had a tough time trying not to laugh. So frowned and was reminded of Joey’s acting class.
9:30 am: Hmm… Loads better. Was trying it out when the instructor asked us to move over to 12 ft!!!
9:45 am: I have arrived!!!
It did not start of well at all (as always). First time instructor pushed me to swim, I gasped and fumbled and almost walked to the side of the pool – to which he splashed water irritatingly and told me “breathe! kick wide! move arms! SWIM!”..I swear if it weren’t for my now-set tan, I would have gone crimson with humiliation. How can he treat me like a loser when i’m not one!

so the next time not only did I swim from where he pushed me, I also asked if I can swim back unaided to where he was floating and did it. Such an ego boost and I must say I have a terrible ego!

10:00 am: time must have flown past.

Swimming class – day 10:

9:05 am: exhilarated from last day. 5 ft is a piece of cake if I take at least 5 breaks in between when im supposed to take none. Also no more damn-smart kids and their doting mothers as summer vacation is almost over.
9:30 am: This is exactly how that lonely, burst balloon must feel among the helium filled, high flying balloons at the height of a birthday party. Am totally tired and not able to even swing my arms. Culprit? Skipped dinner and scanty breakfast. Lesson well learnt and point noted.
9:45 am: instructor tried moving me to 6ft deep water. gave him a dead pan look and told him me tired,no breakfast. He took it surprisingly well. Told me eat atleast 6 idlies before coming for swimming and didn’t ask me after that.

Roomie making good progress though once I think I heard her shout my name and tip downwards while flapping her arms.wonder why..

10:00 am: worried if ill be able to learn swimming by the end of 15 classes 😦

Swimming class – day 11:

skipped classes for 2 weeks owing to trip home and subsequent violent attack of influenza.
9.05 am: thought would have to start from scratch after the long break, but was surprisingly easy.
9.25 am: instructor says keep shoulders in!! couldnt figure out what that meant and told him “onnume puriyale saar!!!”
9.35 am: as soon as I tried shoulders in as he said, I stopped swimming. its out for me!
9.45 am: 12 ft
9.50 am: hmm.. could have done better..but was tired soon and couldnt help looking enviously at akshaya – another weekender like me. but hey! i sure clapped when she covered the pool with no stop.
9.55 am: ok i managed it bit by bit – my name is going down the hall of disgrace!!
10.00 am: a thoughtful me and vexed roomie decided we have suffered enough by watching daily swimmers out swim us weekenders.. we are turning daily swimmers too from tomorrow!

Swimming class – day 12:

daily swimming – not a great idea if
1.u are concerned about the common slot – swimming guys who dont give space but looks in the pool
2.u are concerned if your swimwear is proper – i learnt long back mine isn’t in chennai.
3.u have to reach office really early – means no breakfast or proper bath.
4.pain everywhere – you will realize you have muscles in places you never knew existed!

BUT! there is less tanning, more attention from instructors (and others of cors) and you really learn swimming fast!
so i crossed the 12 ft in easy dips. Actually the 2nd time was funny and worrying. i was a bit tired,but the instructor kept pushing me to do it and i kept swimming towards the side of the pool instead of going straight.At first he thought I wasnt swimming right and then it dawned on him what i was doing and then he quickly pulled me into the middle of the pool. I couldnt stop laughing and stopped swimming. then i realized what i was doing and started waddling away!

roomie also in better spirits than yesterday on the progress in the pool.

fruitful day, i must say.

Swimming class – day 13

Getting up at 5.15 am is not funny!

Roomie and i dragged ourselves to the pool and were 20 mins late. so didnt get to go to the 12 ft. hmmm.. should go early tomorrow. and swimming? crossed pool width wise twice! haha!

Swimming class – day 14 (actually 13):

wondering if there is a pattern to the Totally Disgraceful days at pool..
tried bringing some grace into swimming and the next thing i knew was sinking like titanic.

i find drowning quite enchanting, even trying to observe it whenever it happens. Im not bragging here coz i wouldnt be as peaceful and un-panicky if i were drowning in the sea or some place where they dont have anyone to save me after the second gulp of water.
So as i was saying, drowning has this feeling of being shut out of the world and even though you are thrashing about, you wouldnt know it coz water is just closing around you. i guess seconds after this feeling, it gets painful. but thankfully i never reached that stage and hope will never live to experience it 😉
So i was saying, it was like the 13th class and i swam twice without a break at the 5 ft parts and was quite happy with myself. Asked instructor to tel me how to float and was practicing that when he told me to swim over to 12 ft. and i did happily.
Little did i know how much close to drowning i would be..

i swam once across the width of the pool and the second time i started, i started wrongly. then i gulped water on my way up and i stopped swimming. then i had this wonderful feeling of water enclosing me. but i guess i was fighting for breath and i remember the instructor looking at me when i came up once .the next moment he pulled me up towards the sideline. He asked gently what happened (bless him coz my cringing ego wouldnt have survived if he had shouted as he did to other guys) and i said i got tired.

Again instructions on staying float and by then i thought all those guys in the pool were staring at me and thankfully the whistle blew for time out. and i soggily walked into the changing room with water booming in my ears..

Swimming class – day 15 (actually 14):

THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!! im drinking pool water/drowning/flapping arms,legs/generally cutting a very sorry figure at this stage of swimming!!!

Thanks to the new instructor whom i must have definitely harmed in our previous births. By the rate of his torment, i must have stolen his wife or something..

well he thinks pushing is the key to success and he follows it to the T. result?? me doing 3 and half laps in 12 ft deep water. half being the lap in which i got tired and drowned and that barbarian pulled me out and i hung on his arm like a leach refusing to let go. If i weren’t the one who was in this deep ****, i would be laughing my heart out at me.

Land never looked so beautiful and sky so high..

Dumped Swimming class – day 15 because of intimidating instructor.

Swimming class – day 15 (actual 15)

Tadaaa!!! Last class.

Did feel like going in a graduation gown and throwing the hat up in the air, but since swimwear don’t come in gowns and the cap is rather difficult to take off, refrained from that. Anyway the instructors have given me up due to irregularity in showing up, so pestered my other friend (not roomie as she moved to another city) to teach back stroke.

She asked instructor (oh yes the intimidating one) to tell us how to do it and he held my head up above water while I floated on my back. Wasn’t fun as he held head so rigid and I was scared my legs were appearing above water which would have looked very funny. Hello! I didn’t want to cut an absurd figure in front of all those guys!! Especially the one with tattoos 😉

Now once back, this horrible instructor splashed water on my face (very humiliating), which is their way of telling me I was no better than a stone in water. But my friend came to console me and as I turned to try again, I saw something that really boiled my blood.

There was that horrible instructor mimicking how I swam to other guys in the pool – complete with flapping arms and squeals!!!! The nerve!! And when he saw me staring at him, a word of advice “try back stroke in next session, now try regular swimming”.

Like hell I would try regular swimming! We went to the other end of pool – away from the appalling instructor who now looks like evil incarnate and other swimmers who either stand and stare at us in the middle of the pool or show off by swimming length wise and not stop for us poor souls swimming width wise, there by creating huge waves and momentarily drowning us. (It’s a tough world out there in the pool, I say)- and started trying back stroke from there.

It’s basic. All you do is tip yourself back, stare up at the sky, keep your body as straight as possible, kick legs, wade water with arms. Holy molly! I did it and it was awesome blossom!!!! Early morning sky, birds flying and chirping, flights threateningly low, and no staring guys in view. Simple pleasures of life…

But my friend got very conscious and found it hard to enjoy. So we decided to try the ladies slot next time.

So that’s how my last class was. Now I can pay extra/get coupons/get membership or whatever to continue swimming. I don’t know which one am going to choose. All I know is that in spite of all that chlorine inside and making self look ridiculous and getting intimidated by water, instructors etc, this has been one helluva experience and I mean to keep afloat!


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