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A Whole New World

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I'll be honest, at 37 I was pretty set in my routine of home, parenting and professional life. It was all going on comfortably till I found myself lacking in confidence even in day-to-day activities. And yet, nothing motivated me to break out of my misery. I didn't want anything to disrupt my daily grind, which was pulling me further into a depressing vortex. I realized it was time to shatter the glass bubble, one way or another.

Around this time, my husband had found joy in SCUBA diving. His accounts of training and diving with Absolute Scuba were filled with fascinating anecdotes of underwater and surface experiences. I was happy for him but secretly envied his newly-acquired skills. Probably sensing my state of mind, he encouraged me to try it too, but my challenge was more basic – I didn't know to swim.

Starting my swimming training was like going back to being a kid and learning to stop being scared of water. Keeping aside all embarrassment, I decided to train along with my six-year-old son. His coach taught me too! Within a few months, I felt a change in my attitude as I acquired a vital life skill. Next challenge was to try a dive for real.

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The opportunity presented itself on holiday in Andaman Islands with a PADI Discover SCUBA dive. The experience left me wanting more, and a certification lured me. It was not hard to decide my next step, but the follow-through was a challenge. From understanding the science behind diving to preparing myself mentally, I had now started dreaming in shades of blue.

It was a big relief that the training was in a city pool, an environment I was familiar with. Seemant, my instructor, knew I was nervous and tried to stay calm while handling my worries! For the first time in my life, I was involved in an activity that genuinely challenged both my brain and body, requiring me to be focused and free at the same time. The best feeling in the world was almost within my reach. How do I describe the feeling of being submerged (even if it was a pool) with an overcast sky and the raindrops dancing on the surface? Watching the ripples from underneath was almost poetic! The successful pool training was my gateway to the sea.

I grabbed my opportunity hungrily. Mind you, I was still a bundle of nerves because the certification required that I demonstrate my pool skills in the open sea. After 15 years, I was travelling on my own. That in itself was a big step for me. On the overnight bus journey to Murudeshwar, my son called up from home and said, Mom, you can do this. Absolute Scuba's friendly atmosphere eased my worries and helped me concentrate on the task at hand.

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After four dives, of which not all were easy, I finally got certified. The feeling indeed sank in when I got the PADI card in a month. SCUBA had set me free, gave me the confidence to try new things and be open to new experiences. The big blue always allured me. Now, I was ready to respond to its calling and truly immerse myself into a whole new world! The ocean has opened its arms to me, I have the key to the secret underwater world, and it whispers its joys and pains to me now. I reciprocate the love by continuing to dive and thanking the sea for changing my life forever!

Author: Niketa Mulay

She is a full-time Mom and writer, part-time poet and a diver for life! She's an 'Absoluter' at heart who also loves to sing, read, swim, eat and cook.

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