Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Where the mind is without fear....

An adventure trip with friends among lush green Dandeli forests and an amazing Kali river flowing by...the best combination ever! Except when your friends insist 'getting into the water.' The waters and me have been polar opposites since time immemorial - me, not knowing how to wade in them and well, they not knowing how to withstand me without making me sink.

A coracle ride eased me considerably. I sat back and enjoyed the cool waters as my friends rowed away. Easy! The waters seemed to beckon...and instinctively I hugged my life jacket that had wrapped itself around me like a shield.

Satisfied, I smiled. I was safe.

They soon rowed us to a natural Jacuzzi amidst the rocks. Water cascaded beautifully, looking inviting and scary at the same time. One tug at my life jacket, and I felt confident enough to take a step forward. The series of mini waterfalls thunderously streaming down and the bunch of people roaring with happiness had managed to raise my enthusiasm!.

But before I could step in, the boatmen, asked me to surrender my jacket. I was no Karna to let go of my kavach so easily! Now how does one explain to those wild water loving jerks that I am capable of drowning even in one square inch of water? Nevertheless, off came the life jacket seeming to carry with it all hopes of saving my own life.

Gingerly stepping under one lovely cascade and having managed to find a foot hold, (and a hand hold and a back hold) I looked every inch like a spider precariously hanging in its web trying not to be washed away by the water current.

But pleasure of pleasures, it was by far the most exciting thing I had done in a long, long time! And like a kid who has to be forcible dragged out of his favorite play store, I had to be reluctantly dragged out of the natural water jacuzzi!

The water enthusiasts had apparently not had enough. Because what came soon after was a battle to conquer the rapids and raft across it. They assured me I would enjoy White Water Rafting, just as I had enjoyed the coracle ride and the Jacuzzi.

Who was I to question their wisdom? Hadn't I actually enjoyed the ride so far? So, the jackets were strapped on again, I had bitten the bait.

An oar was thrust into my quivering hands, a barrage of instructions delivered, my feet locked under a strap that looked like it could unstrap anytime, and we were all set to raft across the frothy white waters under the thunder, lightening and rains.

'Team, row forrr..wad' barked the ace boatmen and like obedient school children we row, row, rowed our boat forwards.

One sharp slap on my head and a mock later, I realised I had been rowing in the wrong direction!

By the time I could adjust to rowing the right way, another order followed, "Team...oars in annndd duck."

That meant we were going to cascade down a rapid. My heart pounded furiously and wildly, and I hoped the thumping would not upturn the coracle.

A Whoosh and a Splash later we had descended down the rapid like a knife through butter. Water splashing inside had filled up everything, the coracle and our senses included.

The coracle spun wildly out of control, and then we heard the orders again.."team, rowww...forrr...wad".

Obedient as we were, we rowed again and luckily I did it right this time. I could guarantee, it was my excitement that soaked me this time.

The thrill of it was exhilarating and I was sad that I spent my time being fearful instead of enjoying it.

As if reading my mind, the boatman barked again, "team, row...baaackk...wads" and his command was greeted by a huge roar from all of us. We went back again and again for another six times and I was surprised how my fear seemed to have dissipated. Each time was more amazing than the previous one and by our sixth ride we were totally exhausted.

"More....?" barked the boatman.

"Yes" we chorused.

"Ok, then jump in...go ahead..."

What? jump into the river? What if I drowned? 

I had voiced it loud enough for everyone to hear. All but me had dived in and I sat stuck to my place nodding my head and gripping the coracle ever so tightly.

"Either you jump or I throw you in" said the boatman and he advanced menacingly towards me.

Like an threatened child, I quickly climbed down. As quickly as i jumped in, I bobbed up, the buoyancy of the jacket holding me in place.

And then....a sense of calm set in.

The cool water enveloped me in its arms, the weightlessness of my own self was overwhelming and I felt myself go into a meditative trance. The fear of drowning was gone. I closed my eyes and floated, even danced a little.

Isn't life exactly the same? We face problems and we begin doubting the existence of God. God and his mysterious way. He always knows how to reach out to his children, doesn't he? He gives us troubles and we become fearful. We don't see that life jacket that he firmly wraps around us in whatever form it might be. And when the life jacket is not around, then we can be sure that he knows that we'd be able to handle it very in the Jacuzzi. It is when you surrender that he takes off all your load....just like how I had felt that weightless in the water.

All we need to do is to trust him. Trust that he will see us through.

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