That day could have been the last one of my life, without whispering any such premonitions into my innocent ears! The day of one of my ultimate infantile adventures, which for all you may guess could be pedestrian from the point of view of veterans. Actually it was something that I glamorised within the heart of my hearts to venture into. I had after all heard of many, every year crossing The English Channel! If not as soaring, I could do something as simple as crossing that little stretch of the backwaters which happened to be right behind the resort that we were staying in at Kerela. And that was it.
Kerala is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is blessed with high mountains, beautiful coastlines, dense rainforest, aromatic tea, and coffee and spice plantations. The cultural heritage of Kerala goes back thousands of years, but one aspect of Kerala that I liked most during my trip was the backwaters in there.
The thought germinated into a full-fledged, well-conceived fanciful plan and was now at the verge of taking off. The authorities back in the resort had given us a clear green signal in favour of the little adventure, adding to my motivation with the bit of information of lots of foreigners doing it there. Sanjay, my very responsible husband decided to take care of my little one in his arms while himself lodged in a small boat being rowed parallel with me all the way to the other end. The plan was that we shall together be reaching the bank on the other side which was actually an isthmus separating the river on our side and no less than the magnanimous Arabian Sea on the other! What could have been a more mouth-watering idea than to be undertaking a project so miniscule and yet so mighty as to venture into the river waters, to be exact, the famous back waters of Kerala! From a macho swimming background in a pool maximum of 50 mtrs to a meagre river stretch of at least 500mtrs joining into the enormous Ocean, wasn’t such a big thing, was it?
We started early, assuming the feat shall be through in an hour, since like I said, the stretch didn’t seem so uphill. And there I was, wading in those back waters of an almost welcoming lagoon. A lagoon, just for reminder’s sake (I didn’t say you almost forgot your basic geography) is, a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Yes! It seemed that this almost still body of water was going to assist me in reaching my destination within no time. But once having been commenced it was already beginning to give me some jitters that entailed these tingling sensations resulting from brushing against long sea weeds or for all I could guess, unidentified sea creatures. No, no!! No psudo attempts to rake up sensations already. There weren’t any sharks or crocks lurking in those non transparent waters so to speak as confirmed by the resort people. Yet anything even far smaller was enough to trigger some goose bumps, in spite of my brave attempts at overlooking them. Thank fully I was safe as far as any such dreadful possibilities were concerned.
Having started in my free style stroke, to prevent exhaustion from taking over I found myself switching over to the more relaxing back stroke sooner than later. But something unusual was beginning to happen. I noticed my husband’s boat drifting away from me instead of maintaining the parallel track it was meant to. I was clueless. My mind however did not intensify the inquiry in that direction. I was more or less still at ease dealing with the here and now of managing through those shallow waters that I realised were much shallower than I could possibly imagine. They were as I understood later a proper coral inhabited area. But the fact of their boat mysteriously distancing itself from me did not become my boiling query, which by all means should have.
I was still lying with my back upon the cushy waters managing my distance with mild leg movement, that all at once I noticed my hubby wildly gesticulating something at me. I was bewildered at that body language. My ears that had all this while been immersed in the water jerked themselves out with my head becoming erect to gather some meaning out of all that confusion. And I instantly understood that I was being commanded by him to do something that was imperative. I could faintly gather him instructing me to another direction, away from where I was heading. I have thankfully been an obedient partner at times, and fortunately so in instances like this one. I followed suit and I saw a host of local fishermen gathered there on the bank vehemently conveying me to be out of the waters while simultaneously beckoning me towards them. I found myself instinctively compliant. And whoa! Here I was pulled out and now standing on my two feet being given the facts with a dash of a hype deservedly awarded to the possibility I could have rolled into. I was heedless towards actually being siphoned into the ocean with the outward flowing backwaters!
Really! But how come? They divulged something that we should have been informed by the resort authorities in advance.
The night before, due to heavy downpour the backwaters were on a high tide. And the current was very strong. Now I could see the pieces of the jigsaw making some sense…No wonder I was sweeping towards another direction. Because it was the current that was pulling me!! So while Sanjay’s boatman was taking the boat in the intended direction I was headed towards another. And it would have been a matter of a couple of more moments before it would have put me in the very mouth of the ocean becoming a tiny morsel to it. Its mighty suction would have made it impossible to be pulled back from as confirmed by the experienced fishermen who looked so alarmed at the prospect of somebody getting into it in front of them. Phew!!
Safe and sound, I can propound Shakespeare’s “All’s well that ends well”, without of course not overlooking the role that fortune plays in our lives.