Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nightswimming

Tonight, I went nightswimming in the pond behind our house. I have swum in the pond many times, but never at night. It seems completely unfamiliar in the darkness – bigger, somehow, and more alive. No one else swims at night; I have the pond all to myself. With my head under water, I see total darkness, not the familiar aquamarine.

But the song referenced in the post title is about skinny dipping, which I regret to say I have never done. I have no experience of the forbidden thrill that R.E.M. evoked so wonderfully well: The fear of getting caught / Of recklessness and water / They cannot see me naked.

The closest I came was on a trip to the Panchet Dam with college friends. A thunderstorm had been brewing for some time; Bunty and I were in the river when the heavens opened up. The ones who were on the shore split up: Lahiri, Kisku and Aastha braved the rain, while the rest ran for the car which was parked on the highway quite some distance away.

Bunty and I were enjoying ourselves thoroughly when the siren sounded and the sluice gates were opened, and we had to get the hell out of the water (in hindsight, it is rarely a good idea to swim downstream of a massive dam). The rain had stopped by then, so we decided to change into our dry clothes. We found these in the polythene bag by the river, exactly where we had left them, but our towel was nowhere to be seen. The others, in their panic, had snatched up the towel and run off.

It was almost dark by then. Street lamps and car headlights glimmered on the distant highway, but other than the five of us, there was not a soul in the huge tract of barren land behind the dam. Bunty and I told the other three to walk away and not look back. Then we stripped and changed into dry clothes.

Lahiri and Kisku later told us they had looked back. Aastha said she hadn’t.

15 comments:

Rick said...

I have been rather wary of swimming at night ever since i grabbed that snake which i confused for a weed. The snake wasn't pleased, you see.

Are you sure that the others had taken the towel away "in their panic"? And not, say, in er, good humour?

Think about it.

ಕವನ said...

I prefer being able to see the environment I swim in, as blurry as that is, it is still comforting...

new age scheherazade said...

This reminds me of the swimming trick I used to employ to hide my nonexistent swimming skills in third grade...walk on your knees in the shallow part while thrashing your arms about in swimming motions. Worked for quite a while.
But nightswimming sounds wonderful. Also, what's the difference between a pukur and a doba?
Pinka: my word verification was Gables :)

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

Panchet was one of the good parts of my Maithon trip, it was drizzling slightly when we walked the length of it, but there was a lot of sunshine and wind as well. A little strange.

I found a pukur behind my house, one part of it is a dumping ground.
:(

@ ana: I commented as soon as (and because) I saw your comment, hoping for a nice vw. But it's very unremarkable.

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Oma, what fun. I cannot swim :-(

Sarbajeet said...

The towel was not taken away in panic. Arjun had been planning it all along. Apparently, the fact that you were using it in the first place without his permission set him off!

Soumik said...

went to take shelter under a tent, but found it to be fishing net...bad luck kisk, lahiri and AAstha...when the other guys reached near the car, rain stopped, bad luck Abira, Manz, Arjun, Ankit and Sarbo...this is where both of us stand...

Pratiti said...

@Sarbajeet(and Sroyonda, too, of course): Arjun does this to people when they use his towel without his permission?? He doesn't look like he would!

Sroyon said...

@Rick: Subsequent comments have borne out your theory. I thought it was panic because, knowing my friends, if it was deliberate, they would have taken our clothes also.

@scheherazade: Well our trusty Samsad dictionary defines both 'pukur' and 'doba' as 'khudro jolashoy-bishesh'. But in my understanding, dobas are smaller and usually have slime and kochuripana. Then again, this may be mere association.

@Sarbajeet: Some day, I will extract terrible revenge on Arjun.

@Pratiti: Arjun is a classic case of appearances being deceptive.

Rick said...

Considerate friends, then. You are a lucky vegetable.

Rahul Saha said...

Poor Lahiri and Kisku. My sympathies (thankfully not my empathies) are with you.

Abhiroop said...

Stop this maligning, you oafs. We looked back but for a fraction of a second. And that too, it was quite dark, accentuated by the rain, so we could hardly see anything (not that we wanted to that is). And our looking back was driven more with concern than anything else.

And Aaashu DID look back. Hah.

Aastha said...

I had NOT looked back!!

BJ said...

"concern"?
Sroyon, Larry lies.

Arjun said...

Larry, no point defending yourself. You told us that you had turned back. I'm not sure about Kiski, but knowing him, he would have also had a look. Same with Aaaastha.