It happened while I am doing 6th standard. Every one of my age in my village learnt swimming somehow. I used to sit and watch near the well. They used to do all the types of gymnastics. Some will jump from the motor shed. Some used to do forward somersault, some one used to do flying reverse somersault.
My village friends (Kannan, Vasu, Kumar, Sudhakar, Thanigaivel and others) decided to teach me swimming. Same day they took me to well with rope and dried pumpkin. In modern world you guys got plastic Lifebuoy. Those days dried pumpkin was used as lifebuoy. Our friends tied Dried Pumpkin and rope around my wrist and push me to the well. They taught me how to flip hand and legs.
I learnt up to some extent and even after that I am scared to swim without Lifebuoy. One fine morning I am just preparing near the well. One of my friends pushed me to the well. Initially I am scared and our friends keep on saying “Kumar flip your hands and push you legs against water”. Since my friends were around the well and encouraged. I got some confidence and started to swim.
We used to swim for hours and hours. During holidays we used to swim almost whole day. We used to play
- Catch me if you can
- Holding breath under water
- Swimming only by legs or only by hands
- Reaching maximum depth of the well
- Throwing stone in to water and catching before it reaches the bottom
- Swimming continuously without taking rest
- Splashing water on other’s face
We used to switch well. We walk few kilometers for border and deeper well. Some farmers won’t allow swimming because we may shake and spoil the pipes and pump sets. Some farmers don’t mind because we used to do small favors like
- Look after their pumps set, we will stop when water level falls near foot valve.
- We help them while relocating the pumps
- We will get those pipes and foot valve which fell inside the well.
- We help in priming the pump
- We help to join the belts; even we carry belts and Handles from farm to their home
- We look after the irrigation of their farms.
- Help them while digging well
Some farmers will take our cloths and play with us for some time, some other will throw our cloths in to the well to make them wet. Few make complaint to our parents. But nothing will stop us swimming except one………..SNAKE.
SNAKE...small or big…water snake or cobra even if we saw its skin we won’t go to that well for several weeks. We will look for other well.
- Swim….until we feel hungry
- Swim….until the well water level falls below our hip level
- Swim….until the owner shouts at us
- Swim….until one our parents visit the well with broom stick to beat us
- Swim….until our eyes turn red
- Swim….until our ears pain
- Swim….until we end up with fight
- Swim....until we met with small accident
- Swim….until we saw snake
My childhood days went like this for few years until that day.
During long swimming sessions water will enter into ears, we will remove it by towel end or cotton butts. On that day even after doing so for several times water keeps on coming from my right ear for hours….for days….I am unable to tolerate the pain. I went to ENT doctor in Thiruvannamali. No improvement. After that I went to ENT doctor in Thirukovilor, after few days things got improved. She strictly told me not to swim...at least under deep water.
Sill I am crazy about swimming. I felt very happy when I came to know that my newly rented apartment has swimming pool at roof top. On first weekend I took necessary things and rushed to roof top. All I saw was FISH TANK of 2m wide x 3m length x 2 m depth. When I jump in that pool…almost all water came out of the so called SWIMMING POOL…… I started to hate ARCHIMEDES PRINCIPLE since then.