I always wished to learn swimming some day in my life. But I realized that it was more of a need than want when we booked a Snorkeling tour a few years ago during our Goa trip but could not get into the water as the coordinators warned us not to try if we have don’t possess this basic life skill. Imagine going on a boat to snorkel, where rest of the folks enthusiastically dived into water and we were sitting inside the boat like stupid dumb spectators killing time by watching others do it. That day I decided that I will learn swimming some day. Like a lot of other things on my checklist, this one was forgotten soon. Well, there weren’t many opportunities to learn when we were in India. We moved to Sydney, got our kids admitted to swimming classes and inquired for Adult classes. Unfortunately there were advanced classes for adults but no basic ones. Last year our local Aquatic centre launched Beginner lessons for adults. We kept procrastinating as there were other priority tasks (as is always the case). One fine day when Abbas went to renew Mantam’s swimming lessons, he called me and said “We’ve been pushing this to the backlog for ages. I’m getting both of us enrolled. Let’s do it.” I was shocked, “Whattt? We can’t afford it now, we have too many things going.” Abbas “Arey, we will always have too many things going. Let’s do it.” Me replies “Errrr, if you say so, fine! Let’s do it then!!”
Each group has 4 students and one instructor and they conduct 30 minutes class every week. Abbas and I were in the same group and two other men. I missed the first class! Abbas came home and told me that other two guys are also not complete amateurs. I was a nervous wreck before my first class. Abbas could float and also move ahead in water, although he didn’t know the techniques. In my case, I could hardly even stay under water for more than a few seconds. The D day arrived and when I spoke to the instructor, she asked me where should she begin from. I told her that from the most basic level as I have never ever done anything in water! She tried to hold my hand and drag me forward, and told me to lift my feet from the ground. I was worse than the kids who learn swimming. My feet refused to budge. She gave me a pool noodle but nay, my feet were as adamant as before. She then procured a kind of waist band that helps people float from somewhere. With too many gears to lean on to, in my first class I learnt just lifting my legs from the ground but they were still diagonally immersed in water. Phew!
We started going on Saturdays to practice. We bought a pool noodle for me to practice. The fun part about going over the weekend was that a lot of other parents came with their children to teach them. In our case, the roles were reversed. Mantam were my teachers, strict ones at that. I was the tantrum throwing child saying I just couldn’t do it. They would comfort me, encourage to do better, applaud when I did better. I thoroughly enjoyed being a kid to my doting daughters. These practice sessions helped me so much. I let go of the waist band in my third class. With due progress, I learnt to float without any clutches. I was on cloud nine the day I floated by myself, without any help. I missed one more class due to flu. Altogether I took about 7 classes, at the end of the term, I was able to float and swim the distance of a metre on my own. We have decided not to go for any further classes. We need to practice more and more with our patient, in-house, loving instructors.
Any of you who has been thinking of learning some new skill, but never got to do it due to fear or other commitments taking priority, I insist that you do it on a whim right away. Trust me, tomorrow never comes. Live in the moment and make the most of it.