I was one hell of a swimmer. At least I believed so until the day a swimming competition came my way and to a million more like me. I never imagined how that day would bring about my victory and defeat at the same time.
Our goal was way ahead of us in the form of jelly doors to an oval room at one end of the canal. The winner could only claim victory by making through the doors and shutting them off to all other contestants by turning on a switch that would make them impermeable. This was a competition of its own kind that almost all of us waited for ever since we had cognized our zeal to swim, compete and prove ourselves.
The firth was narrow and everyone was smart. But something in me told me that I was perfect, desirable, and that I am destined to be a winner. My sleek body had the power of hundred elephants and speed of a panther; agility and focus of an eagle. I could see through my sixth sense, the white jelly doors where I would claim my eternal victory.
A cutthroat chase began with a leap of faith that all of us took in the fast paced gushing current of water in that extraordinarily slippery basin. Fly, back, breast, and free- the choice was yours. Soon an individual medley ensued. As soon as I jumped, I hit a corner and fell back to a place from where I could barely see others. But I knew God was there at my side. Just then a great force came as a wave in the canal and whew!! I was propelled, in less than a millionth of a second, too far, way ahead of the others. From then on, I never looked back.
My goal fast approached as I mentally bid farewell to a million others. Final free stroke lead me into the slimy interiors of the oval room as I made past the white jelly doors. From behind the translucent chamber, I saw them watching- some applauding, some wailing over their loss, some still trying to stick to the walls as I turned the impermeability switch on.
There I was-a winner. What was my prize- I wondered? A soft voice told me- “You are your own prize my dear – now you get to stay here for long until you discover your own real self. Such an opportunity is rare and let this be your holiday, here.” A chill ran down my spine at once- in exhilaration of triumph and fear of being caged into my own prize. Had I gotten myself into trouble? What will happen to my craze for swimming now? Though the oval room was wonderful but it was curiously creepy as there was no one else other than me. How could have I spent even a single day there as a holiday- let alone for quite some time?
Exhaustion and depression put me into a deep slumber just to knock me all muddled up in the middle of the night. I felt something enveloping me from all sides. Before I could even open my eyes it engulfed my whole existence. An excruciating pain in my body made me cry as this thing cruelly ruptured it. I had lost my lustrous body. Was this my prize? I had a faint vision of God smiling at me, while I gasped into delirium. Something made me immobile. Speed was my life and a slender agile body my identity. I had been ripped off these two. I sure was dying or was already dead.
Inertia followed throwing me into a deep limbo until one day, I don’t know after how long, I was whacked back into senses. I had been transformed. My lean body had grown large and something in it made rhythmic beats. As soon as a beat occurred I felt a little energetic but nothing as compared to when I was a swimmer. I wanted to run away before getting turned into a monstrous creature but whenever I tried, despite that huge body, something pulled me back. It was sort of a rope attached to my middle at one end and at the other end to that eternal freaky switch on one of the walls of the oval room. A conspicuous disturbing roar, like that of thousand oceans was the characteristic of the room that too had been transformed into a gigantic pouch by now.
I never knew that life could get so worse. Sometimes I would float and rock but at other times I was pulled upward with a force and released down. It felt like those airplane mid-air nauseous jitters when it shakes out of air disturbances. Life here was constant hell. The only good thing was sleep that took care of my depression. Months passed by before one day I noticed that I had grown leaps and bounds ever since I woke up of that first deep sleep. May be this was what God mentioned about. May be the growing size would help me push my way out of the dungeon.
I had lost all sense of time and I didn’t know who I was anymore. Fully unsure of what future brings, I kept waiting. One day I heard someone said “Hi! How are you my baby- I love you so much.” That feminine voice resembled that of God’s voice. Was God too changing his form? Then a male voice followed, it felt like he had patted the rooftop. Ah ha! So someone was out there to rescue me finally. In sheer excitement, I jumped and barely managed to move the huge loaf that I had become.
After this I got more and more attuned to what was going on outside the cell. I didn’t know yet, how to communicate in their languages but I jumped and moved my limbs whenever I needed some extra attention in flimsy anticipation of freedom. In return, someone would screech back. Sometimes I would dream of my swimming days and of the competition day. I missed the million buddies and I often found myself in tears at my current state.
One fine day, the rock and roll stopped and floating was unusually slow. I had grown huge. I liked that the noise was minimized. Soon bedlam followed and with a great force, something like the pulsating wave that had helped me take a long leap towards the oval goal on the doomsday, the jelly doors got ripped open. The ocean rose into high tidal waves, spouting past me as I watched horror-stuck.
I felt naked without that warm water which gently rocked me and made me feel home. What was in store now? God had stripped me off my final comfort zone. First speed, then body, and now waters! I got goose bumps all over. I tried my best to move out with the oceanic waves but all of that happened too soon. To make matters worse, the mad screeching started. Why was God crying? I felt jolts in addition to the chills. There was some commotion going on outside as well. What kind of inferno it was?
Suddenly I felt a push and was forced out into a narrow dark tunnel. I almost fell unconscious with the grueling headache before I felt something pulling me at neck. I saw creatures ten times bigger than me. Half of my body was still stuck in the tunnel and they were trying to pull me out with all their might. I shut my eyes tight as the blinding glow of this new world was intolerable.
In hours I was pulled out of it with ropes still attached. They hung me upside down. Ocean water that I hid in myself too had to be expelled out. I started crying in agony. Instead of the ocean of water, I was now in the ocean of something else that felt not so wet – was it a breath of fresh air? But I wanted my ocean, the gentle rocking pace of it and the thundering noise. Then someone poured water on me. I immediately felt at home. Life had changed. Some call it being born twice. I wonder how much more was to come in the new lands.