Toastmaster of the evening, fellow Toastmasters, to introduce myself today I’m going to talk about water. Not just because that’s what my name means in Sanskrit but also because water really defines me.
I guess that’s a really strange way to introduce oneself but after racking my brain for several weeks trying to think of how to introduce myself, this was the best I could come up with.
Let me try and explain. I could tell you biologically who I am. Which is an Indian male about 36 years old. But that hardly covers really who I am. There must be millions of other similar Indians out there!
I could try in terms of my profession and education which is that I studied MBA and then worked in finance. But everyday we read about banks and other financial institutions firing people by the dozens so what happens if I too lose my job? Does it mean I lose my identity? I hope not!
Maybe we could try in terms of astrology. So by western astrology I’m unfortunate enough to be born as half cancerian/ half gemini so no horoscope really applies to me and once again my search for an identity remains unfulfilled.
How about relationships? A lot of people say they derive value and purpose from who their partner is. Well, the trouble with that is that the closest thing I have to a partner is my dog and no matter how much I may love him, I’m not sure I want to be known as Oscar’s master.
So then what? Well I decided to talk about what I love. What am I truly passionate about. What makes my pulse race, what is 100% guaranteed to pull me out a funk?
I tried to think of what my go to activity is when I’m feeling down and out or conversely deprived of what activity do I feel like rubbish?
Well for me the answer is water. Specifically water sports. The highlight of everyday for me is going to the pool and completing my 1 or 2 km swim. Listening to nothing but my own bubbles of breathing for 1 hour, feeling my body glide through the water is the most relaxing thing I know. I was recently injured and unable to swim for 3 weeks and boy was I miserable!
When I actually get to swim in the sea on weekends it’s like a child at a candy store. To add to the pleasures of pool swimming, you also have waves gently rocking you as if on your mother’s lap. What could be better?
Scuba diving is similar. When I’m 40 metres below the ocean, seeing all the pretty fish swim by, totally at the mercy of the currents and my own fate it’s like a small child in his mother’s womb. Protected from the harsh world with office politics, relationship headaches, et al. I feel like I’ve been born afresh as a new entity with no connection to the stresses and pressures of the modern world.
In fact I would say that for me swimming and scuba diving are meditative activities. I have never once gone swimming or diving and come out not feeling a hundred times more at peace than before.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that both swimming and scuba diving require very precise breath control. Yoga theory says that control of breath is control of mind so maybe that’s what makes both activities so very calming. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that as a Hindu I was brought up venerate the Ganges and maybe that psychological association now carries over onto all bodies of water. Maybe it’s as the Balinese say that water is purifying and washes all our sins and away.
Or perhaps, it’s just because I don’t have the damned mobile to bother me when I’m swimming or diving and have a perfectly valid reason to tell my boss when I don’t answer the phone.
Anyway, whatever the reason may be, I love water and am grateful for every second I get to play in it.