Friday, August 8, 2014

Overcoming fear

I still remember the paranoia in the girl’s eyes when I took her swimming that year. She just refused to get into the water no matter the cajoling in combination with the threats of dire consequences made by Hitler Mom. She was six and the story was the same every summer since we had moved to Bangalore.

The club in the complex, we lived in, had a lovely pool and had facilities for coaching in the summer. I would register her for lessons and she would parrot every excuse in the book, to not attend classes. When she did attend class, she would have the coaches tearing their hair out; she would dig her heels in and refuse to get into the water. Given the large number of children they had to coach, they invariably ignored her and gave me "the look". I was at my wit’s end. Swimming was a skill I wanted her to master for the joy of weaving through water is quite unparalleled. Life is going to take her through the rough and tumble and swimming would be one of the greatest stress busters with zero need for the chemical anti-depressants.

The situation took a 180 degree turn when we landed in Nigeria and were introduced to Coach Tough!! She agreed to take her under her wing and coach her. The initial days were tough and the story seemed to repeat itself. But Coach Tough did justice to her name. And then there came a time when she swam the entire length of an Olympic sized pool, determination writ large on her face, never once flinching when she crossed into the deep end. Watching a nine year old overcoming her fear and being confident of her strength was overwhelming to say the least. My Mommy heart cannot thank Coach Tough enough.

Post her triumph over her fear, Aarzoo Elizabeth Kaveri Sen, aged 9,that year, wrote this piece......and made me proud and confident that she has it in her to turn the lemons into lemonade!! Here it is unedited; and I better duck for cover before Ms. Intensely Private bares her teeth and claws at me for sharing this.

Photo: Coach Tough and her wards

Our Friend Water

To all the people who are scared of swimming, deep waters, going to the beach or for who are afraid of water. Here is a story about me being afraid of swimming. I always would feel scared of going to the pool. I had these bad thoughts that would scare me like drowning, getting hurt, etc. No matter how much my coaches, my parents and relatives tried, nothing worked. I started having even more of these scary thoughts after my coaches said they were going to push me in the pool. I didn’t like the coaches. When my dad started working in Lagos, Nigeria, my Mom made me sign up for swimming lessons in Lagos with Coach Tough. When I went to sign up, I saw her and we spoke. I told her my problem and she told me not to worry etc. The club has two pools. One was 10 ft and the other was 9 ft. But they started from 3 ft and the other started from 3.5 ft. Day by day, when I learnt swimming, I realized I had overcome my fear. But still I was a little scared of the deep end, but I overcame that. My Mom always said, “You will never drown. Water is our friend.” Then she explained buoyancy etc. This was because of my Coach Tuff I overcame my fear. I love her v.v.v.v.v.v.v.v.v.v. much!!! She won a lot of awards in International Swimming competitions. She had swum for Nigeria. Everybody should know that water is our friend. You will never drown. ( I don’t know, depends!)


Suchismita Majumdar said...

How sweet! I should make Indranil read this, he too is dead scared of water. Well done Arzoo and mommy! :-)

Muthu said...

Thank you so much Suchi.....this post is kind of overcoming my own fear of writing after a long break. Hope to be as disciplined as you. You have inspired me to write, every time

Anonymous said...

Heyyy muthu. ..awsome read. I hv to go through the same now. shez 6.ha hs ha

Muthu said...

Thanks a ton Ms. Stylepiranha - Archana. Omi is a toughie, don't worry.