A dive to remember

scuba dive

All set to dive

This is how I walked into the ocean that afternoon. Smiling, ready and prepared to dive. Scuba diving is not something you get to do on every trip and thinking of that, I had convinced myself that I’ll give it a try.

I had read a bit online, spoken to a few friends who had dived before and even dreamt of those movie-likeย moments where it would be all magical and surreal. I would walk into the sea, swim near colorful fishes and see corals up close.

The reality was entirely different.

I registered, signed a couple of disclaimers, wore the gear and walked into the water holding hands. Then, I couldn’t stay strong and kept on losing my balance. I realized how standing on the ground is so much easier and tells you that it will not shake. A firm foot on the piece of land you stand gives you confidence. I did not feel that. The sand beneath my feet kept slipping away.

Meanwhile, I learnt all the hand signals and quickly memorized them. They were simple. The instructor told us how we will dive meter by meter. No rush and no issues even if we can’t reach the seabed.ย It will all depend on how comfortable we feel and our ability to bear the pressure under water.

To the instructor, I seemed ready. He did not see that I wasn’t able to let go of VT’s hand. In a couple of minutes when I let go, I grabbed my instructor’s. Some things are better observed than told. Every wave would jolt my short frame and the vast sea in front of me was building its presence. The moment I would find a stable speck of sand, it would get washed with water and I would feel like a child again struggling to ground myself.

There was fear and the sea was all around. A look at the horizon was overpowering my will to attempt a dive. Standing in neck-deep water, I realized how I could not see anything but water ahead of me. My eyes were covered with those waterproof goggles and my nose wasn’t completely blocked to be able to breathe through the mouth. I struggled and held my breath. Released and used my nose. The technique wasn’t working well.

At that moment, the instructor told me to get my head under the water. Still holding his hand, I went down. As water splashed on my face and the goggles, I panicked. I came up in milliseconds and gave up.

No, I don’t want to dive.ย 

It’s okay. I am good but I don’t want to go further.ย 

I meant what I said and I accepted how I felt. No, it wasn’t that the instructor did not give me enough time. It also wasn’t that the goggles did not fit me well. It didn’t matter if I had known swimming. There were no excuses.

I was scared and I gave up.

And it’s okay. It’s okay to be scared and to give up. We needn’t fight all battles we face. I had a choice and I chose not to dive. I am not upset about the fact that I did not try. Maybe I will give diving a second chance, but at that point I was okay to let go. Life is not as short to not take chances. I learnt that I cannot beat myself up for giving up.

I realized all this on my attempt at scuba diving. It was a dive and a lesson to remember.

Writing for YeahWrite #302 today.

41 Responses

  1. Nibha says:

    Bravo! You atleast did that much! I bet I would have given up on that long before that! But you can now give it another shot if you want!

  2. Good for you for even going as far as you did! I’m not a strong swimmer either so I totally understand the fear of water. But you are indeed brave to try something new!

  3. Marcie says:

    You got a further than I would go. Good for you for trying!

  4. Ivan Jordon says:

    There’s no harm in taking a risk to try something new in life. It will make you stronger.

  5. James says:

    Parul – I’m sorry to hear that scuba diving was/is not for you. But, you’re not alone, it’s not the right activity for a lot of people and you were smart not to force yourself to do it. Panicking under water could have had a lot worse consequences than simply going out of the water realizing that it’s not for you. You made the right choice for yourself!

  6. Emmalene says:

    Great blog Parul, and it just shows that not everything is for everyone! I feel exactly the same way about snorkelling…fine when I’m up to my waist in water, not fine when I’m dragged out to snorkel with turtles in Mexico. Should have been one of the best experiences of my life but i just panicked and cried!

  7. Claire says:

    Great post! It often feels like people only ever share their successes online, but it’s so important to acknowledge that sometimes things don’t go the way we imagined, and to show others that’s OK, like you’ve done here ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. April Munday says:

    What a shame, but it’s sometimes better to know when to give up, rather than to carry on regardless.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I had a funny experience the first, and only, time I went scuba diving. I panicked too but once I got down there … wow!

  10. go for the next time. Thats not tough and if you want to do you can do it easily

  11. Geets says:

    You’ve expressed your emotions so beautifully, Parul. Reading this post is somewhere making me realise how A feels about it. And I, on the contrary, is a total game for it. I did it once and it was magical. And I literally used to wonder, how can someone not do it! And here, I got the perspective reading you.

    I’m so happy reading you and will catch on the posts I’ve missed all these months!


  12. Shilpa Garg says:

    Sometimes it’s not easy to let go of our fears. Things like diving, bungee jumping etc require an unconventional leap of faith.
    Agree about picking our battles. Not every conflict is worth turning into a major battle!!

  13. I have to admit, from the start of this, I shared your anxiety and I wasn’t even in the water. I never learned how to swim totally and I get super scared of open water. You did great getting to where you did. And you wrote this really well in a way that anyone who’s had a fear would understand.

  14. Alok Singhal says:

    Everybody learns from their mistakes. I remember somebody saying at my workplace long back – you have to get your hands dirty to learn the job!

  15. Such a candid account. Felt like I was neck deep in the sea with you. Love the honesty Parul. It isn’t easy to pour out your fear in words. This was a great read.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s true – sometimes we need to pick our battles. Stepping out of our comfort zones is a concept that is so often glorified but it can’t happen all the time. And that’s perfectly OK.

  17. Marcy says:

    I was right there with you, feeling the fear. I liked your vivid details here: “A look at the horizon was overpowering my will to attempt a dive. Standing in neck-deep water, I realized how I could not see anything but water ahead of me.” I think it’s great that you accepted your decision and liked how you explained it.
    Marcy recently posted…At the Boston Womenโ€™s March: The Seeds are PlantedMy Profile

  18. vineeta says:

    After reading ur post at least I can’t take a chance . Being an elderly lady I believe not to show unnecessarily courage for such adventures.
    It’s good you tried and that’s important .

  19. Nancy K. says:

    What a valid lesson we don’t hear enough: it’s okay to be frightened and say no. You did everything you could and, most importantly, you listened when your soul cried, “ENOUGH!” I’m not sure I would even put the gear on. A beautiful post and reminder that at the end of the day, respecting our “no” is always the best option, even for ourselves.

  20. I climb into the water gingerly and will leave the diving to others ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Uma says:

    Like Naba, this reminds me of the underwater sea walk but we did at Bali. I was initially scared but managed to do it. It is certainly not easy to walk underwater and the concept of distance inside water is something else. Although we had the support of the manmade trail, it was difficult to keep your balance. I’m sure if I have the courage to scuba dive especially since I cannot swim. It’s Ok, Parul to give up sometimes. There are no standard rules of enjoyment in life. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Uma recently posted…Awaiting colours of changeMy Profile

  22. This reminded me of the undersea walk we did in Mauritius. Believe me, I was reluctant to go and the entire time I was petrified. I just went along with it because S wanted me to accompany him. Though looking back, I wish I hadn’t done it. It’s okay to be scared and give up. The present day me wouldn’t have done it. And I totally understand what you must have felt and why you did what you did..

  23. Rajlakshmi says:

    I am sure you will be comfortable the next time. But I thought they usually have an hour lesson in the swimming pool to get a feel of what it’s like. Anyway it’s ok… As you said, you choose your own battles ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…5 Art Project IdeasMy Profile

    • Parul Thakur says:

      It wasn’t in the pool but directly in the ocean and I don’t think it added to any comfort. I don’t want to think that training was shorter but that could be a reason ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Sh says:

    There is always next time for u to try !! All the best,

  25. Shilpa Gupte says:

    That’s okay, Parul. We all experience fear at some point, But, I am sure, that next time you will definitely get over your fear and give it a second try…and be successful at it, too!

  26. joshi daniel says:

    may be some other time ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. arv! says:

    It’s perfectly okay not to dive if you don’t feel comfortable. Life is all about choices! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Bellybytes says:

    Gosh! Just the thought of getting in the water freaks me out. I don’t think you did anything wrong giving up. As you said there’s always a second chance. And even if there isn’t it’s no big deal!

  1. February 8, 2017

    […] up scuba diving at this island and I gave up after I panicked. VT did me proud by showing some real taste for […]

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