spielberg and tashijong…


hey i got back from a crazy 5 days of trotting about. don’t know where to begin with…i’ll probably update you after i get some of the snaps developed here.

anyways, moving onto tangential issues, i don’t get the deal with swimming. was chatting up with harry…we call her hairy…haahaaa…anyways, she’s learning to swim…yeah harry’s a she and not a he coz it’s short for harmanpreet…so she’s floating and spending time under water and all swept away with the idea of all the silence and blue that one finds under the surface. she’s also been a bit excited about the sound of bubbles when she blows them through her mouth…not her bum mind you, that’s a whole different bubble game altogether.

so anyways, i love the idea of swimming and i know to swim as well but the last time i spent in the pool was about 12 years ago. yeah. it’s been a grand dozen. i just get totally intimidated in the water – not really hyrdophobia…just the fear of being stalked by a great white.

don’t laugh it off…it’s a genuine fear.

and it came about first in calcutta. when i was about 4 odd years old. i’d gone on a ritual summer vacation visit to my grandmother. and found a certain fancy to the huge tubs filled with water kept near the kitchen – this water was drawn from the well in the courtyard. so i’d go running towards these tumblers and jump into them, splashing water all over the corridors. now the lady who used to take care of my really frail old granny – uma di – found a devious ploy to push me off my water fancies. she spun a story about invisible water monsters and crocodiles that lay still at the bottom of the tub and waited for naughty little boys to jump in.

but they never did anything when i jumped in before…

ahhh…that’s because they’d just had their meal. or maybe because they’d just gone home…

the little boy blinked his eyes. thought a bit. and then so where do they live??

the lady was up to the task – they live below the tub. you see the base of the tub? when no one is looking, it slowly gives was and is a portal to another world. a water world that is dark and full of scary creatures that eat meat. and they aren’t the fish you eat on the table my child, no. these are big monsters, crocodiles, flesh eating reptiles, giant sharks…anything that you can imagine.

the little boy looked at uma di. he considered her for some time and then slowly walked up the stairs to where his grandmother was resting in her room. 

and then jaws happened and everything came to place. never ever show a child that film. ofcourse i can’t really blame my parents. a whacky teenage neighbour who i thought was my god showed me the spielberg film. and uma di’s stories came flying back to me. these god damned creatures actually did attack from the deep. i still remember that atleast for a couple of weeks after having watched the film, i refused to put my hand into a bucket. my mother had a difficult time with me. she always had really, but i think that spielberg had a few bengali curses flying his way in the late 80s.

and so it was a matter of great personal honour and pride when i actually jumped into a swimming pool and walked around. it didn’t matter that i was on the shallow side. as long as the pool was full of people, all was good. as long as i could touch the floor of the pool, everything seemed safe. ofcourse, good things come to an end and i had to learn to swim and was pushed into the deep end of the pool.

i hate the idea of swimming with nothing but water beneath me. but i learnt to swim.

and my mother’s face beamed with pride. my uncle was overjoyed. he was a champion swimmer in his younger days and saw part realisation of his dreams of winning the nationals through me. but my absolute aversion to water broke his heart. i’d learnt swimming only because it’s a skill. period.

i still have this profound fear that the floor of the pool might just give way and open up to a waterworld of creatures that no one has never seen or heard of…that i might just be sucked underwater into this vortex of horror. and then ofcourse, the cream of it all – be stalked by a great white and eaten by it.



anyways, so when harry was talking about her underwater adventures, all these little memories packed away in some corner of my head came flooding back…

…suspended mid-air, big tub of water just beneath me

…my mother scolding me for spilling water all across the house

…watching jaws with my hippy neighbour

…uma di taking me to a dingy part of the house, the much dreaded store-room. and then telling me horror stories about child eating monsters that live in tubs and cups and pools and oceans

…kicking frantically in the deep end of the pool, trying to reach the shallow side

…watching jaws alone in the middle of the night

…having a profound conversation with my six year old cousin about great whites

…watching jaws alone in the middle of the night

…but having said all that, there is this one image that it all seemed to end with. of anshul and me jumping into the water. on a cold morning in the mountains. just below a the little monastery of tashijong. we jumped into this little pool that a passing stream had created and the cold stung us hard…

and then we forgot about the city and work and everything we’d left behind…and laughed away like maniacs…


~ by mentalsyrup on April 9, 2009.

4 Responses to “spielberg and tashijong…”

  1. so now everyone will think i’m hairy and a bubble bum! u deserve a shark chase! 🙂
    i’ll add…tht i also feel like a ballerina in the water cuz of the weightlessness. hehe. water is so surreal…and can stoke so much imagination…beautiful and horrific.

  2. if you want to blow bubbles, dip your head/ass in a bucket and ready aim fire…well…
    i think hairy has taken quite a liking to her bong/odisi instructor…jaws to baywatch…hahahah
    anyway i quite understand why you would laugh maniacally but anshul…told you he likes bathing with men…the roman that he is…caligula incarnate heee hehee heee

  3. Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for posting. I will certainly be subscribing to your site.

  4. I can completely understand this aversion to water. I love the open water. Hate the pool. But am PETRIFIED of the water. I can swim….I think every child is pushed into the Anderson’s pool here in Kolkata.But once you are no longer a novice, they literally throw you into the dark, black waters of the Dhakuria Lake. I’m guessing that is where I started freaking out because you can’t see anything in the water. It is black and there are strange things that keep brushing past your leg. Enough to give me nightmares. Yet I stare longingly at the sea and feel this urge to jump in. Fear is a mighty strange thing. Damn!!!

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