Sunday, 27 September 2015

Swimming as a way of life

 -Brian Mendonça

Perhaps the one of the singular joys of life is to swim. Those who do, know the surge of pleasure a few laps in the pool can give – especially after a hard day’s work. Curiously not many in Goa know how to swim. With the Arabian sea lisping at the coast, one would have thought it were de rigueur to learn swimming in the state, but this is not the case.

The water component in our body is as high as 60%. We are naturally drawn to water. Oh the thrill of floating on the water on your back looking up at the blue sky, and the tops of coconut trees! This scene is a reality if you use the pool at Bogmallo Beach Resort, Bogmallo. We used to often go there for a Sunday brunch which included a dip in the pool followed by a sumptuous buffet.

Sometimes when one goes for a weekend getaway, but the accommodation does not have a pool, one looks out for another hotel with a pool to use – just to pamper oneself. That’s what we did when we stayed at Turiya Villa, Canacona. Star hotel, Colva had a separate pool area for kids which my son loved. Longuinhos, Colva also has a pool on one side of the room and the sea on the other. The best of both worlds.

Recently I was teaching Dwayne (4) to swim in the pool at Devashri Garden, Porvorim. We brought along a buoy which he had to wear around his chest and arms which kept him afloat. As I did my laps in the deep end he shrieked in delight wanting to follow suit. Queenie kept a watchful eye on him, as she always does when the two of us hit the water.

My earliest memory of swimming in Goa was quite bad. There used to be place called Resort Hotel at Chicalim. I had gone for a swim with Arvind. I only half knew to swim and when we were in the deep end I panicked and started thrashing about in the water. Arvind was much lighter than me, and it was possible I could pull him underwater. With admirable presence of mind he gave me a tight slap on the face, hooked my head in an arm lock and brought me to safety. I always remember him for saving my life that day.

Since then I perfected the art of swimming when I was doing my research, at the Osmania University swimming pool at Secunderabad. My working life in Delhi was jazzed up by the monthly membership at the YMCA pool at Jai Singh Road near Jantar Mantar which was just below my office. I also enjoyed swimming at night in a pool in Bangalore in an executive apartment which was booked for me.

Swimming is wonderful exercise, especially for the lower back. You feel rejuvenated and alive – as though you have connected with yourself. You feel younger and in tune with yourself. Why not jump in the pool today?

Published in Gomantak Times Weekender on Sunday, 27 September 2015. Pix courtesy Auburn masters swim team.

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