The water splashes all around me.I wobble around uncomfortably in the weightlessness.For a moment darkness surrounds me.The moment expands,swallowing me in it and the world becomes silent.Then,water enters my lungs,air escapes through bubbles.My mind empties itself of all emotions,as actions slow down to a pause.Suddenly,a hand reaches down.Grabs me by the arm,and pulls me towards the light.And the world swings into action again.
The creek of Khadavli lies at a distance of 20-25 kilometres from the temple town of Titwala.After spending a month or so in total ennui,every one of us wanted to get off from the city.With temperatures in the city dropping to an all time low,we hit upon an ingenious idea - To go skinny dipping.
well, not entirely.But yes,the idea was to get to an even colder place and dare ourselves.I suggested this place, which is quite a spot for teens to be initiated into the 'big,bad world.' When i was a shy,little teenager, friends in my colony had taken me out to this water-hole to teach me to swim.And after that i had my first taste of beer.Boy,it was something to have fear and excitement running in the same quantity through your veins.It was perfect for a dare adventure thingy.
We decided to first visit the temple of Titwala,to seek blessings.The chilly Sunday morning was taking its toll.We had begun to shiver on the train itself, and we still weren't even close to the water.All of us put in our best prayers.After a while at the temple,we decided to hike our way to Khadavli.We had a slight difficulty in charting our way.Obviously,cos none of us,among 25 , knew north from south.The battalion was split into 4 groups.We created quite a ruckus as we walked through idyllic towns that we had only seen in movies.After about 10 kms, most of us were deflated.My group was in high spirits.We were carrying the 'munchkin' bag and had munched through it on our way. The guys ahead slowed down,and asked for the bag to be handed over to them.They wanted us to lead now.We did,while they kept wondering if the bag was really as light as they felt.
As we were just on the outskirts of the lake/creek,two well fed bulls came running our way.I had never seen such a sight.All i heard of such things was on TV,or when my mom described festivals held in her hometown down south.I froze for a moment,before my friend jerked my shirt.We ran....... ,not a fellow dared look back.Unfortunately,the bulls had changed course after coming after us for a couple of minutes or so.By the time we looked back,we were 3kms away from our destination.
We reached khadavli by 11 am.We hurried to find a spot for ourselves and found that most were booked by boys( who had skipped school).We chose one, gathered our papers round,set our bags on them.And we set off to practise our skills.Most of the guys knew swimming.Our group decided that we would go in last.We played around in the shallow part for a while.The water was too cold for my comfort,the sun hadn't warmed it yet.As most of the guys came out shivering in the flabby paunches ( i was the thinnest of them all,in fact , i looked malnourished in front of them.), Bunty opened the 8 pack. We grabbed our cans of Fosters and raised it to the sun.
An hour later games began.MY challenge was to perform the best dive that i could muster.I couldn't refuse,I knew that they would throw me in if i did. So i looked up at the sun. Took my position at the cliff. A few paces back.Then a stop.I pushed my feet forward on the slippery mud.MY mind raced through actions i could perform.MY heart started beating like a royal enfield.As my feet left the last of the dirt platform,and my body convoluted into an awkward position,my mind screamed "Maybe you should have told them that you don't know to swim".
As i rose up through the waters,shivering and coughing violently;my friends laughed, clapped and cheered.Amit looked at me and said "That,my friend, was a splendid dive.Where did you learn that?"