Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Swimming & me!

I still remember how I used to be frightened of baba when it was Sunday, it was swimming time then and luckily (for him) he used to take time off his business and swimming to teach me and little amruta. Amruta as usual was excited and raring to go. Dads favorite, daughters generally are! And I used to be as far away from baba as I could.

Its true, if your dad is damn good at something he wishes you could be like him too. I was never in harmony with this. What could I possibly do? The first race of my life at the age of 5 and I could hardly complete half of the 50mts. I knew baba lost whatever hope he had of training me into a swimmer that he was, the fame he earned. But Amruta never stopped. With the great reflexes that she had and a lot of practice she made it to the Junior Asian Games as the goal keeper of the Indian team. She was the one who proved to me that nothing is impossible, you just have to try it, do it. And that's why even today I keep trying different things, you cannot decide that you do not fit in a activity, the activity tells you!

Many years down the line, during the 3rd year of engineering something came into me and I thought this is the time, its now or never. Baba was always excited about me becoming a Mechanical Engineer, the first engineer in the family. But I knew he still wanted to see me swim like a Pro. Aai, baba and Amruta had a hearty laugh when I told them I wanted to take part in the 50 Free event. “..5-5 taas practice kartat sagley swimmers. But I won’t stop you” said baba. I could see that even he was excited about me finally getting in, but he wasn’t showing it at all.

1 month and 5hrs per week is what I had along with my Engineering studies. I did whatever I was made to do by god. Judgement Day was here. At the competition baba was giving me last minute tips, stroke correction but all I could see at that moment was his excitement.

“Competitors on the deck please” came the call. I was nervous. Its been more than 10yrs since I have been on the starting blocks where each and everyone's eyes are glued. “Take your marks…......GO!” went the whistle. For a moment I literally felt the world freeze. I saw all the years baba had taught me swimming go through my mind in a second. “SPLASH” my whole body plunged into the water. Swimming as if I was being followed by a shark, I swear I was pushing my hands so hard I thought I was gonna rip them apart. Touching the end of the pool, I was breathless like an asthama patient.

I looked up to find baba standing near the ladder. “Tuzhya heat madhe pahila alas tu (you came first in your heat). You timed 30secs”. He was jubilant, very happy. Timing wise I didn’t even make up to the first 5 swimmers, still it made a big difference to him. Imagine how happy baba was. The guy who held the 100mtrs butterfly national record for 10 yrs, telling his friends at the swim meet that his son got a timing of 30s in 50Free. Believe me this was not at all anything even near "good", 24seconds was the National Record , and people get there after years and years of practice. But this was the moment I was waiting for, to see baba being proud of me for swimming and not studies. Then there was no turning back. The same day for the 50m Breast Stroke I came 5th amongst 18 swimmers. That was it, he felt on cloud nine now. This was the first achievement in my whole life, which made me really really happy!