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New Job Review

It been 9 month and 19 days since I work for a government environmental agency . It has been a journey full of unique experiences, new lessons and a billion small instances that I could empty out only if I had a thousand paged book and a lot of time. But this is a pathetic attempt to keep a record to later revive my memory of this wonderful time span which I never want to forget.

Love nina

I didnt sleep the whole night voices kept asking me how would I make it to the end of 400 meters …..in an open sea…..with waves ?it all seemed almost impossible ! I was almost at the point of a breakdown when I suddenly miss my old dive teach Nitin it was 6 and I wondered If he would be up so early so I waited till 6.20 then I couldnt wait anymore so I called , I prayed he would pick up but he didnt ….I sat outside crying ” How will I do this god I am not a swimmer!!!! Just then the phone rang Nitin! ” Hey whats up?” I was so happy to hear the pudgy voice . Nitin told me that he wasnt much of a swimmer either and that the best way to pass a swim test was to turn over on your back and float to catch your breadth and keep propelling your way forward and turn back with your face in the water when you have finished catching your breadth. He was the one who taught me how to float sleep in the water in the first place.” And drink lots of water” he ended listening to him really calmed me down . God sends angels in wierd forms .

So I got ready for the day ,cleaned the kitchen pensively, changed clothes , packed bag…..thinking about the technique he has told me about. then the bike growled ,Karan kept repeating his sentence of ” please drink water” very worried , maybe he wondered If I could actually finish the course ? I was beginning to wonder myself ,but I WAS GOING TO FINISH THE SWIM TEST . Prayed and read the bible . It funny how we go running to god only when we need him. I felt better ,this song “With Jesus in my boat I can smile in the storm” hugged my mind and I found myself not really scared.

The boat men poked fun at me but now for some reason It was a joke to me. I hugged Karan before I left and the trace sinking feeling left me and jumped in and then floated for a few seconds. Damn it felt so right! ” Thanks father!” I started and it was hard at first to keep course while lying on my back to catch my breadth but I dont know what power could just keep me going. I think I knew …but no power that was of my skinny body for sure. And the last lap Rajesh bhiya swam with me ……with the life bouy marking the 100 meter line . It was like god took me by the hand and sent so many people along to make sure I knew he was there. I really have no words.

 Today was amazing. I dont know how I passed the swim test . I know how God did though….Have you heard the song “Miracles of Miracles” from fiddler on the roof well heres the link watch it –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXm1P77MSpQ

this is what happend to me….if you thin, short, dark , ugly……well this is so your destiny to proove them and their ideas of what you are….all wrong

Well it didnt end there I ended up maping the tip of Chidiya Tapu after that and then realised I had injured my little toe real bad……And that was the reason I had to go home …..a bit of a beart break that I didnt complete my course…..BUT AS ARNOLD SAY

“I’ll be back” 😉

Drowning

Today is Dec 13th 2013 . Got less than a week more here. My heart was already sinking. I love this place and the Baath family. Today still haunts me, hope I can sleep. I am not a bodybuilder, I an weak and thin but I really need to pass a 400 meter swim test. Today I tried once and then after 150 meter stopped out of exhaustion . Karan had placed the rope and put the boat men in charge to monitor me. I look in from an the 100 meter line scares me. Can you imagine a four month diver scared of 400 meters…..but I was .

I tried again ….completed 300 meters and then got a catch in the ribs. Who was I kidding . Do I have it in me to complete this. I though about the summer swimming classes I used to cringe at every summer and wish I had seen this coming. My heart sank as I saw the boat turn to pick up Karan and the recreational divers. I get into the boat . what do I tell Karan?

He asked If I finished I nod a weak no and look away .I really need to complete this…..I spent four months here and never knew swimming would be so hard. 

Karan waves good bye to the guests and asks me to bring the 100 meter rope I get in the boat with him. I an really nervous and for some reason I can catch my breath I try holding his leg for comfort ( now I think I was crazy to do that) he jumps in and I follow. he starts swimming . I can see him distance away from me and my heart races. I move slow as a sea slug towards my goal ( A buoy) bobbing faraway between the waves. my eyes sting from the salt water. I wish Karan was beside me. but he’s not. I miss Nitin my dive teacher ( He couldnt continue with me cause he had to leave) It becomes clear I need to finish this alone, stop cribbing Nina and just keep swimming. But I can control this looser attitude so I start swimming faster to get past it….but funnily Im not moving any distance…..I try a bit harder this time spooning my hands well and move a bit and just when I think I’m getting a hang of this , I get a sudden shock across my ribs I try ti move, I try to breathe….But I cant. I try to wave to Karan but I can’t . I see his face near the buoys but does he see me . I try waving and desperately getting words out. water gets into my nose and suddenly a panic wave hit me. I can think , can move , I dont know what I’m looking at ….Just the need to see someone any one who can get me out before I gulp more water in…..I feel I’m going down my side of my torso is stiff…Is this it…I see the blury outline of the sea floor and close my eyes…..

Someone yanks at me and pushes me up, I hold on like a mad person and then realise I was pushing Karan down. “Float nina” he splutters desperate ” lean back and float” but I cant lean back cause my ribs are stiff and hurting .Embarassed I try to be less burdening by not pushing him down. I try to tell him what went wrong but it’s no use. He tows me slowly as I catch my breadth. I can feel my sides releasing a bit but not enough to breathe naturally .I hear the Motor men and boat hands laughing ( Biju bhya ) at my great spectacle. I feel really embarassed and I look away till we reach the Jetty and limp out. Karan and I take a silent ride back home. I cant even sit on the bike comfortable. I get poked fun at by Amman and all feels so much better I’m home with my little brother Nishanth sneering at me as Karan sprays relief spray on my side as I lie on the matress and aunty comes in asking ” she couldnt even finish 100 meter” I ‘m just happy to see her. I woke at two in the night, I cant get sleep, I suddenly realised the magnitude of the seriousness of what happened and somehow I’m more scared of not finishing dive masters than drougning. I cant sleep . How will I get though this swim test ? Who do I tell about this? This is something I cannot workout in a day ? What am I going to do ?

I just started my PADI rescue course and I dont understand how I developed this fear int he first place. Today we were going to dive at Fish point , thats south of Chidiyatapu, Port Blair , Andamans. Karan my boss flipped in after which I followed along with two other divers , it was a lovely dive , we spotted groupers shying away , yellow fusillers herding around , a puffer and a andaman sweet lip…..well when picture time came one of the divers ( Brig N) took off his mask and waved wild as Karan motioned me to take off my mask only to get a shrug of shoulders to his question to my embarassment  ” I just was too scared to do it”…..

 

Ever since I reached the islands the life style of the Baath Family is simply fearless….they fearlessly eat drink sleep love learn and play to fool at some really scary stuff ! You could call them foolish or careless but I have come to realise they somehow have an understanding that life is not worth living standing on the edge of the pool and denying yourself the knowledge of how it feels to jump in ( we all know how that feels) They know the risks they take but the knowing that life is short is what they know too well. I call them “WISE”

well that was in september and today is August 24th and this have change with me. I love this change . Today we took school kids (INDUS VALLEY) out to cinque island   where one batch dived there and the other dived at munda pahad that pretty close to our dive center. I happened to get a really shy girl but I fine with diving with girls and children on their first time . Just not Men, the bloody neandrethal’s  seem to forget to be still and they somehow dont listen too much either and the result me loosing my mast or getting punched a bit. But Karan can them like a sensi! 

On last buddy check and we are ready to descend and “pluck!” my goggle strap snaps . And so not to create a scene I dive holding her tank and my mask to my face . I attempt to remove my mask but I panic and breathe in water. I am already 17 meter below the surface of the sea. The I breathe out the water caught a bit, my eyes red as I blow out the rest of the water from the mask as i hold it to my face I try removing my mask three to four time and to no improvement. Thank god my first timer does not look up to see this drama.  Then after a bit we are above the sea bed my fresher need to pose for a group picture. As we leave the group I see Karan in a distance . So hes around……thats good…..I take a deep breath and remove my mask . I focus on nothing but being calm and slowly breath in with my mouth …..forgetting I ever had a nose….its works! I see the blur of Karan slowly fade as he moves away …..I am not scared.my head hurts though……I make sure my fresher does not hit the blurry outline of coral reefs as I point as fusiller that pass by . her cylinder in my hand , with her back to me, she cant see……I smile……Today I made it……oh damn I breathe in water by mistake! I nearly forgot i was underwater cause its so natural to me……FEAR HAS A ADJUSTABLE TRESH HOLD LEVEL…..and mine was just getting narrower and narrower…:) goodnight

Hard Times

I look outside the window and there is rain and the news stresses about a cyclone. my exams the next day and I have to leave…..sun or moon or rain or stars……I pack my bag wrapped in a layer or polythene and as I put on my shoes a sinking feeling fills my stomach.I know that feeling well it is time to go back, And just when I  realise it due to this sting of lonelyness…..my mom states firmly

” I’m coming with you”

 “youre joking ?”

“no im coming”

“up till college?!”

“yes up till uni”

“But its nine hours” 

“I can hardly pry my mouth open to say another word but the smile in her eyes and that firm tone tells me that I can’t really make her change my mind.”

So we get on the bus I read a few notes …towards my exams as my ma sleeps beside me. I sliently promise to be there in her storms. 

The days that followed were full of nights without electricity…..with exams the next morning…..sleep would come to me like huge towering waves as i squnted in the dull light of the emergency lamp . But dreams of her smiling eyes would be all i needed to marched through the syllabus sheet  like a viking . the very memory of her smiling eyes makes me want to make her proud. make her life worth all the sacrifice for me.

Her hard times is nothing compared to mine…..mine are just a couple of mosqitoes that could carry dengue and no electricity……I have nothing to crib about do I ?

Love make everything worth it….:)

Too much to eat

To much of potential either inside you or around you is a poisonous place to be. I happened to face my potential inside and around me with a courage I now realize was very very immature but I guess I’m glad I took the choice anyway…..that still gives me more work than I can chew……two incomplete assignments,Two hanging grants applications and Research papers with no ends and some with no introductions. Most nights are sleepless and the result is only more question than answers that I set out to find…..some nights after I find another question to a question I just look in the mirror and smile and tell myself: As long as your learning keep going dont give up.

Im sure it took a stupid man to get bitten by a rat snake to tell the rest that it was not poisonous. As long as I am learning its good as long as it an onward process its my gain. The signs might not show but that does not matter.

Like my teacher Dr Deepak once said after sending my guide and me to a place barren of the specimens we were searching for :”Only if you knew where it was not can you tell for sure where it was”

 

Her college is situated in a very rural place 28 kilometers from Cuddalore. She had just finished her exams and said goodbye to her mother who came to stay a while. She came to stay to see that her daughter got   through her internal exams. Things at home had left her raw. But talking about it made it worse and she couldn’t waste time,got to stay focused…its the future that mattered

There are a lot of power cuts here and tonight was no exception. And so almost sleep walking she moved to the one bed, that sat out on the veranda, facing the sea. she sat a while as lightning played among the clouds .I guess this was gods idea of pyrotechniques and it sure was a good show. 

She fell asleep only to wake up drenched with rain stinging her face . She opened her eyes. . She didn’t want to move . Staying here you become aware of the heat and the wind and the waves and the…..rain. And it left her in awe each and every time .

Clouds of lightening strolled over her head .she could see the shades of thickness as they trapped lightning. If this was rapture . She was ready , raw enough to want to see god face, tried enough to wish for heaven. But She had work left  , so much left that no lightning dare to come close. And so she just slept under the rain she didnt know for how long …..thinking about all that happened for a moment that slowly stretched to moments longer…until she shivered and realized she better get back into her room.

Good night!

Feild Trip to Samiar Pettai

We have to visit a fishery zone every week to study Taxonomy . So yesterday we went to Samiar Pettai….its a fifteen minute drive form the place I study and stay. “Samiar” means sage in tamil and “Pettai” means settlement in tamil. I guess there was a bit of religion invilved int he name but I haven known why they gave the place the name.

The sand was white. the side of the road looked like Rameshwaram. Our lil yellow mini bus sailed over the road as we travelled parallel to the sea shore. It was a lovely feeling …..its was liberating. I expected to see a heavy landing and thought there would be alot to study from . But by the itme we reached the beach. All that was there was juvinile Indian oil sardines caught in 1 cm mesh size-purse seines (not allowed) this type of nets are againts fishing norms in India. The fish are used to make poultry feed! they could have grown up to earn good profits! We played in the beach for a while. I collected a few jelly fish …..they seemed to be abundant along the beach…..wonder why ? …opps I better go or else I wont get any breakfast.

“Today I feel Christ is going to give us a good day” bellowed my prof as I sat a bit nervously on the bike checking if I had forgotten anything ….naw nothing forgotten! We drank a glass of coffee each and then we were off to collect data waideing in wait deep water hunting for the animal we were searching for.I carried a bright yellow data collection bag over my head and dived into the water to retrieve samples sometimes. And then I dont know how …..somehow …..I lost track of my slippers! My prof searched the water surface for my slippers along with me as we silently waded across the water. Since we could not stop data collection for just me slippers . I looked in vain over the flat surface of orange,yellow water as the sun hits the smooth surface only to shed a siluette on a few lazy buoys that kept bobbing in the same place

“keep the samples in the front pocket tambi” grinned my prof handing over the days collection of plastic vials “sir but it might float out!” “Tambi put it in” he insisted preoccupied with a pink jelly fish that was dangerously close to him in the water.

and then as we move further across the water and retrieve another sample we realize that the vials are missing. All our data missing in a plastic cover! After collecting two final samples we finally wade across to the shore . I don’t know why I am not discouraged for I feel it was more than just our foolishness to loose the vials. I sing the song i sang in the morning to god and say the same prayer of thanks…..For I know the god of the ocean can show me anything he wants if he wills it.

My guide was told by another scientist friend to go and visit another collection site in the neighboring stretch of beach .The sand was burning hot as I hopped and had to stand on my measuring board unable to bear the blistering pain.A we waded into the water we realized that there was a whole bar of sharp dead coral before we reached the sand region where animals we required could have been. It took us an hour to just get past the coral and to out dismay we found nothing in the sand zone and waded back . I found fossils along the shore of gastropods and collected them as my guide desperately clung to the thin shadow of a boat the happened to be parked in the sand . “Puck” was a piano piece I loved playing when I was a kid and it played in my mind as I got prepared to sprint across the sand to the bike that was parked under the shade of a Neem tree. The sea sure played puck with us today. We stopped further up the beach where hindu pilgrims visited to bathe as a religious rite and watched people walk along the ______ as a yellow lightlit the _______ and we talked about life and living it. I have come to relate to my guide as a father and his family as mine. I am such a lucky kid. Guess the sea is not the only one that knows how to play puck. We did have the final laugh . And that too the final laugh for no particular reason…

Today I watched a bird on the mudflats crouched , blending with the the black earth against the waves of mercury -like water as the sun set further far, past the golden glow it gave the water long …long before . It slowly raised a foot  like a geisha and the put it back in like it never came out in the first place and then slooooowwwwwly stretched its short ,but now suddenly ! long neck  out  over the water. only its eyes searched  the water and . its beak nearly touching the water it froze and then in fraction of a second it catches the fish.

If it takes so much of effort to catch a fish and efficiency and a skill. We humans certainly haven’t got there or even close.