Thursday, October 01, 2009

Can you swim?

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It is deliberately and consciously that I try to keep current affairs and ‘breaking news’ away from this blog. This is a blog full of Bubblegums and Candies, hot chocolate and iced tea, warmth and love, comfort and happiness and of course, delighted genuine peals of laughter. I get hundreds of mails from people who share their lives with me and who consider me a good friend. I am humbled and honoured that my writing touches your souls.

But today, if you have come looking for the things that you usually look for, (especially the 'surprise' that I promised in last post) I’d suggest you stop reading. Sometimes bitter pills are needed too, as digestives.

It is the Thekkady boat tragedy that has compelled me to write this post. Perhaps it is because I have visited this very place and sailed on the glorious river Periyar, a countless times. Perhaps, it is because I have recommended this place to my friends who are visiting Kerala for the first time. Perhaps, it is because, after getting married, I took my husband to this very place with great ardour and showed him the sites that he marvelled at and my heart swelled up happiness and intangible but definite pride, as though I owned the place. We loved it so much that after the children were born, we took them too on this same boat ride and enjoyed their delighted exclamations when they spotted the elephants.

Perhaps it is because of all this that I can identify with the excitement of the tourists who rushed to see the wild elephants when they spotted them, thus making the boat capsize. A boat carrying 76 passengers capsized and my tranquil and serene Periyar has now become a monster that has swallowed more than 36 lives including 11 children.

I could not bear to watch the NDTV compere thrusting the mike into a man’s face who had just lost eleven of his family members including his wife and two children. The harsh lights of the camera zoomed in for a close up, to capture his grief and the interviewer prodded piercingly asked him whether the body of his two year old child had been found. Perhaps she was hoping that he would break down, thus making ‘good television’ footage, sending their TRPs soaring. I switched it off in disgust. I suddenly remembered why I had stopped watching news on television and had stuck only to music channels.

The Chief minister of Kerala has announced a compensation package of rupees 5 lakhs, for each life lost. Even a million pounds would not have sufficed The politicians are saying all the right things, condoling death and expressing their ‘heartfelt’ grief. The inquiry reports talks of safety norms being flouted as none of the passengers were wearing life jackets and nobody warned them about rushing to one side.

However what really strikes me as I write this post, is that so many of them could have saved themselves had they known how to swim. The shore isn’t ‘unreachable’. For a person who knows swimming , it is really not hard to swim to safety.

I strongly feel that we Indians, pay scant attention to ‘life skills’. Swimming is a life skill, yet is it taught in schools? No! We are too busy making our children cram for Board exams and after that, IIT JEE and CAT and GRE and what not. You can perhaps argue that not many have access to swimming pools. But let me tell you—where there is a will, there is a way. Most cities that I have lived in, do have fairly clean and accessible public pools which you can use for a small fee. But hey, chances are that if you are reading this blog, you are well off and can comfortably afford to access a pool at a private club or a hotel. The question here is not of accessibility—but people seeing the need to know swimming. If you do know how to swim, the rest of the post is not for you. But if you don’t, then please read on.

Everybody in my family swims. I learnt swimming as a child and yet I had never entered a swimming pool till I was 20. My father was an expert swimmer and in the village he came from, the children learnt to swim, before they learnt to crawl. When my father was a child and before he learnt to swim, his brothers used to take him in a boat to the middle of the river. Then they would carry him and throw him into the river. You natural instinct is to lash out to save your life. Of course, they would not let him drown and they would pull him out as he choked ,spluttered and spat out the water. They were tough and they did not believe in molly coddling and taking the easy way. This was their way. It was the only way they knew. A couple of more such treatments and dad learnt to swim.

I too learnt to swim in this very river. The current was stong. Summer vacations were always spent at Kerala. My dad would take me and my brother along with numerous cousins. We were the ‘city dwellers’, the ‘softies’. They were all excellent swimmers as they had lived there. The current was very strong and your swimming skills developed a lot as you tried to swim against the current. Swimming with the current was so easy in comparison. (But it was very easy to be swept along too—so you had to know how to get back). After having swum here, I was astonished how tame, swimming in a pool seemed, in comparison, when I first entered it. I have since then, swum in the Arabian sea in the beaches of Goa and magnificently breathtaking Lakshadweep. I have swum in the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram and Chennai. In comparison to the sea, even the river seems tame now.

When I was a child, I have seen my father saving a life, at the sea. The man was drowning and dad jumped in without a moment of hesitation. Being an expert swimmer, he yanked him out and had brought him to safety by which time help had arrived. At a resort in Bangalore, I have done the same for a eleven year old child who had somehow fallen into the deep end. The profuse gratitude of parents towards me is something I can never forget.

I was insistent that my children learn swimming in India. I taught them myself even before they turned 4. But it was not in a river like my dad taught me-- it was in a very tame pool in our residential complex. Still I thought I had done a good job, as compared to the children in India, they seemed to swim well. But imagine my shock when we moved to the UK and I was told that my son, along with a few other children needed special classes to clear swimming tests. He was excellent in academics and far ahead of others in Math. But when it came to a basic life skill, he lagged behind. What I really liked was that it was mandatory , here in UK, to clear the swimming exam. There is so much stress on life skills. He was also doing carpentry for the first time in his life, something that he had never done in India.

You can argue that UK is a developed country and so the state can ‘afford’ to do it. Our government does nothing in this direction as it has other problems etc. But I am talking about YOU. What I am trying to say is please pay heed and help yourselves. If you do not know how to swim, please enrol for a course. Invest time in it.

You may not travel in a boat on Periyar which will capsize. But of course you will do other things at some point in your lives. You never know when a basic life skill like swimming could come to your aid. The life that you save could very well be your own.

66 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you, even I don't know how to swim... and somehow never learned to do it.

    I stay away from water and do not indulge in risky water sports because of the fact because somewhere the confidence isn't there.
    Its really great culture & system in UK to put so much stress on life skills and I hope the same comes to India as well.

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  2. Prateek: Somehow I feel it is so important for people to know it. And it is never too late to learn. see--one need not indulge in 'risky' sports. Even travelling overseas in a flight can be a potential hazard if one does not know to swim.

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  3. You have such a valid point, Preeti. We hardly focus on life skills. I learnt swimming 3 years back, but am still a novice. And you're right, it is a personal decision to learn skills. We could , one day, save someone's life like your dad and you did.
    Awesome post .

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  4. Meira: thank you. Yes-- even my focus is on academics first. I tell my children to go study but I don't tell them to go swim :)[but then my two do it without being told--swimming not studies :)] Forget someone's life--we could save our own life! I feel so strongly about this.

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  5. Goshh...im very scared of water...hence never attempted to learn swimming. but i made it a point to see dat my kids learnt swimming. as for saving lives in water...i have heard of very good swimmers losing their life, trying to save others.

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  6. Sima: The main thing while saving a person's life it to try and grab them by hair or from the back. Because in the death throes and blind panic of self preservation instincts they can latch on to you and drown you too. It is very good that your children know swimming. There are many things that can be done to overcome fear of water. Somehow I feel it is very important.

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  7. I can't agree more with you Ma'm. I seriously can't. Had even a few known how to swim, probably a lot of lives could be saved. There comes a point when you realize that blaming the system makes zilch sense. If someone can do something it is you. In your own small way. Where there is a will, there IS a way. Very rightly said. I am so glad Atul and Purvi know this skill. As far as clearing exams is concerned, I know Atul is exceptional and he will clear it. If nothing else, it will just fine tune his skills and make them perfect. I really wish all parents thought like you :-) Take care :)

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  8. I comletely agree with you. Swimming is not a fad to remain fit, but an essential life - skill, just as it is essential to know some basic cooking and first aid skills.

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  9. Tranquility: Thank you so much!yes--he did clear. I wasn not worried about that at all :) This swimming thing was in year 6. He is now in year 7. Then point is that it is mandatory here.

    SMM: oh yes; Basic cooking NEEDS to be taught in schools too--also first aid.

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  10. I don't know how to swim, but I shall make sure I learn it before I die!

    Just felt like coming back to tell you how nice your posts make me feel. You don't have to be chirpy or happy all the time in your posts. Reading you feels like you are in conversation with each of us. I haven't seen this kind of a connect very many times.

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  11. All thru my school life I wished for 3 things...
    to learn karate
    to play the piano
    and to learn how to swim

    I feel so terrible writing here tht I havent done any of the three.
    Please excuse me... I have to go away to hide my tears.

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  12. Oh my god…that is such a depressing incident. N everytime I read about the Govt announcing the donation of lakhs to the deceased family..i always wonder..how can money be the solution to a lost life [ I do u’stand that many times the monetary help is very essential for the family)

    N I couldn’t agree more about the lack of teaching life skills in India. We really lag behind in it. Even the so-called Good A grade schools don’t make swimming compulsory. In the US, too, swimming is a mandatory skill. It makes so much sense!
    N yes while access is one of the reasons, another reason is that in India many people are shy to wear the swimming costume n so they stay away from it..and for others they simply don’t know how n why they SHOULD know swimming. It doesn’t even occur to them!

    Both my hubby n I didn’t know swimming and so earlier this year, in march we enrolled ourselves in a swimming class.. It really was embarrassing to be one of the very few adults learning how to swim… but we figured better late than never! N now I have conquered my fear of drowning though I’m not skilled enough to swim for long distances or save anyone’s life. Well, something is better than nothing..right?

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  13. Pavi: Indeed VERY commendable that you learnt as adults. Learning a skill as an adult can be hard. I did try to learn roller skating but failed :) Yes--the swimming costume angle problem I had forgotten about :) You have a valid point there.

    Reflections: I can't do Karate, i can;t play the piano, i also can't roller skate (though i tried to learn as an adult) and I can't ride a motorbike (with gears ) too :) Now please stop crying!

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  14. What a tragic tale you have told.Yes indeed, swimming is taught here at an early age ( I suppose it's something to do with living on an island..should we one day have to 'swim for it'!)It seems quite odd to hear of adults who cannot swim as it's such an integral part of life, recreation and well being.

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  15. That was a great post,PS!!I hope you know how much the incident disturbs me. This has become a culture in India, PS, and a very disgusting culture- to thrust mikes to the family members of the bereaved, esp NDTV. I stopped watching their horrible compering during the 26/11 Mumbai carnage!!
    And, FYI, I have just enrolled for the swimming class.

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  16. Good post...well 8 yrs back i wanted to learn swimming....after 2-3 classes, i discontinued...last year iw anted to overcome the fear..went for 15 classes..winter spoiled the continuity...this year i have to try again..

    do we indians generally are afraid of water...i think most of them...

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  17. by the way , i have also been to thekkady more then once..nice place..disheartening to hear the news...

    you have mentioned that the boat capsized because people rushed to see..it is a normal rule that one should not move in a small boat..it that a case of not following the rules whichled to this accident...

    again we indians are very poor in following discipline...

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  18. SO true. I also never learnt how to swim and i even have a water phoboa when it comes to beaches-so i didnt even try to learn.

    Your post has encouraged me to take up swimming though i think its grossly late-but better late than never.

    Excellent post maam. I am going to show this post to everyone who ignores basic life skills like I did all my life. Thanks again :)

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  19. I feel very strongly about this too. I did not learn swimming when I was very young, but learnt some while in high school. And then few years ago here in US, I spent every evening of one summer in the pool.....I would not say I am an expert but I have no fear, can save myself, and can try to go help too.

    My husband is extremely scared of water, but after much coaxing, this summer, he went for swim lessons. And now he practices every week at the gym pool. He can float and won't drown....and he will get better next year. This summer, I did a lot of water activities with him - like rafting, kayaking, canoeing, etc to remove this fear. So getting there :)

    One thing that could have saved them is wearing life jackets. Here in US, even if you are an expert swimmer, you are told to wear life jackets for most of such excursions or activities. And people wear it. I myself always do. Especially if you don't know how to swim, life jacket should be a must!

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  20. Could not agree more on the importance of swimming. It is a matter of life and death. I am still learning to swim. My children are in classes too. And like previous blogger said, wearing life jackets is important too. Too many of us think that nothing will happen to us and ignore these life saving advices. Thanks for the post.

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  21. This tragedy was an eyeopener to many..and i'm hoping a lesson will be learnt from it. I know nothing can bring back those smiles across the families faces, and a lot could have been done had they known swimming.

    I agree, kids have to be taught life skills early on in life...it is far more important than academics, at times.
    Sometimes I feel the basic values to life is ignored out here in tourist spots where emphasis is paid more to reaching out to people rather than safety. Wish that could assume a higher priority with those responsible for these programmes.

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  22. How true! Im trying to learn to swim through classes and man am I finding it tough! I wish I had learnt it when I was younger :) But Im still trying :)

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  23. Preeti: A really though provoking post. I must confess I never learnt swimming because a) I ws always scared of water. b) Raised in North India, I was never so close to water, so I never even felt the need.
    But, yes, I do now want my son to learn this skill. Not just as a life saving activity but also a "I can have fun in water" activity too !!

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  24. You make a very important point about life skills and I would add basic first aid and CPR type stuff to it. I did not know about rescuing people in water from behind them - makes a lot of sense. It is such a sad incident... one instant they were all thrilled and then... I have been trying to get my husband to learn swimming without much success. Thanks for reminding me to stay on his case.

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  25. Brilliant post Preeti. So absolutely true - Life skills must be learnt and J's comment on first aid and CPR is very apt.

    And totally agree with the pluses of the British schooling system - My daughter goes to a British school as well and its the same thing ; life skills are taught in a fun way. And I don't mind her not being a mathematical genius at all.

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  26. I agree 200% , I dont know swimming owing to sinus and breathing problems I get when I get into water, but ever since I got operated I was wondering to learn swimming, and this accident has made me realise the imporatance of it, I have enrolled in a class and would be learning it.

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  27. Dear PS,


    I read all of your posts very very sincerely and wait for them desperately. You connect to people very nicely and seem to be a very warm person.
    God Bless you.

    Inder

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  28. I dont know why i was scared of swimming back in school...i missed out on learning under the national team's coach...but anyway, ur post has proptem m to make amends and join a local swimming class in my area.. thnaks...

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  29. Rohan: Happy the post motivated you. I do feel it is very important.

    Inder: Your words mean a lot and resonate with sincerity. Thank you so very much. It is readers like you who keep motivating me to write more and more.

    Srivats: I am sure you will learn quickly. Trust me one does feel a sense of accomplishment when one swims--it is hard to describe--it can only be felt.

    Ramesh: Thank you.Yes, CPR and Basic first aid also should be taught. Somehow Math, we do it without even being concious. i am always playing mental math games with my two. It has been drilled into out heads that 'academics' are very important (which they are) but many of us neglect fitness and other things.

    J: Very valid point about CPR and First aid. Actually jumping into water to rescue a drowning person can pose a danger to your own life, unless you know hot to do it. Many have lost their lives trying to rescue--it is scary as the strength of the drowning person in the desperation to stay alive and escape from death-grip increases ten-fold. If you are in a pool then you can throw a float or a rope or a pole.But in a river and the sea, often jumping in to rescue is the only option. One has to speak also to make the person calm. Their panic is very scary.

    Dil Se: You must learn with him too! :) Maybe you will also have fun.

    Doli: You will succeed. there is a movie about adults enrolling in a swimming course for different reasons and how they re-discover themselves about it. It is a good movie.

    Prats: very true what you said about the tourist spots and misplaced priorities. Really hope this gets rectified.

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  30. inevitablenow: Glad you are learning. I am sure you will do it soon. Thank you for reading and commenting :)

    Shachi: Really good that you learnt. Does your husband mind being coaxed liek that or does he feel good about it?Do read my comment to J about rescuing people. Yes--life jackets could have saved them--but they would need a large number of of life jackets --and knowing Indian tourists (really sorry to say this but it is true) they would probably be stolen and sold instead of being returned.Or perhaps they would be damaged with scribblings of dirty words and names and numbers. Who knows. Indians have been rated as one of the worst tourists in the world.

    Aditya: It is never ever late! Age really does not matter. (I had written a post 'don't let age put you in a cage' and you are only 25!! People get university degrees at 70!

    Sunder: yes--I don't know why many Indians are scared of water. Maybe it is because of parental fear instilled. The boat was not 'small' It was a 'double deck' boat. But yes, Indian have been rated as worst tourists. We have scant regard for others and public property, it seems like. i am aghast at how people litter. I sincerely hope it changes.

    Pointblank: Thank you

    Savitha: Yes. Indian media is very insensitive. Strange coincidence right--that i post and you have just joined a swimming class?! Good luck--i am sure you will learn soon.

    Niall: It is indeed tragic.Many Indian adults do not know how to swim. It is not taught in Indian schools. India tends to emphasise on academics.(and considering that we inherited the legacy of the Raj, it isn't too surprising.But I do not want to apportion blame here. That is just how it is and it needs to change )

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  31. O yes....so right... I so want my daughter to learn swimming and i have been on the look out for an easily reachable pool(meaning near house) So i can take her there. I have been on the look ever since she was 3 months. THough i havnet found one Yet I am not disappointed - i know she would learn it in school as it is mandatory here. I totally agree with you on the importance of life skills.

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  33. Do you think that swimming could have saved them all? Do you mean to say that a Karate master cant be attacked??!! I know a karate master who was attacked and got injured...even very good swimmers die in rivers...accidents happen!

    Learning swimming is good but we cant conclude it as a complete life saving system.

    The point here is SAFETY measures, I feel the lack of safety measures by the kerala tourism is the most annoying thing - Need for Life jacket/Rescue team/Proper Guide...etc is the rule of the hour.

    I agree with you on the news channels point of view they go senseless...

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  34. Sri: Accidents happen. Safety measures were indeed flouted. I am not denying that at all. But you have missed the point of the post which is this -- Had many known to swim--many would have not drowned. They could have swam to safety. I have been on this very cruise more than thrice. Shore isn't hard to reach is what i was saying. but if you do not know to swim, you stand no chance at all. Learnign to swim is a 'safety' need just as wearing life jackets is.

    Life begins: it is good that it is mandatory in her school.

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  35. For long time i had been postponing this ... but will take it up seriously now & join swimming class this week.

    The post was very touching.Could not control tears as i was reading.

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  36. //Aditya: It is never ever late! Age really does not matter. (I had written a post 'don't let age put you in a cage' and you are only 25!! People get university degrees at 70!//

    Absolutely right. Agreed to the last letter. :)

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  37. No frankly, I cannot. If ever I were in a boat accident, I would drown. But I made sure that my children learnt to swim.
    Loved the blog and the questions it raised. You are right, a lot many parents insist on cramming for exams but they don't think it is necessary to learn life skills. They'd rather the child use that time for yet another coaching class!!

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  38. This incident has pained me too. Every time I see weeping relatives - I simply feel so bad. Yes, I too think swimming must be taught to each child and that should be a part of essential learning package.

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  39. hmmm a need of the hour post..!

    I and my hubby just visited thekkady 2 months back and travelled n the double decker boat n periyar enjoying the greenery, birds and the wild life!

    It came as a shock to me as it never struck me tht such an incident cud happen or that i do not know swimming!

    I hav hit the pool in my residential complex only for 3 days and stopped there after giving the chill climate of bangalore and the 7 pm timimgs as the reason!

    I am determined now to learn swimming!

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  40. Everytime i read/hear about such tragic events in water..i would think of learning swimming..but had never been serious to put an effort on to it.

    Yes a very valid point made by u..we never take life saving skills seriously...Parents emphasize on studies n nothing out of it..which i realise very much these days..But never late..still have time to learn things :)

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  41. I came back rather shame-facedly now to chk wht u wrote against my comment......and just had to laugh out aloud;-D
    Guess what, I could ride a Yahama in my college days & cd roller-skate a bit tho not fluently...heee I'm feeling so much better now.

    p.s: I really did cry u knw as I wrote tht comment yesterday both for the people in tht needless tragedy & for myself.

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  42. And in all that confusion I forgot to tell u that I loved this post:-)).

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  43. Preeti, That tragedy is unbelievable. You go to a place so many times and think it is safe and something like this happens. Life is unpredictable.

    This post raises some pertinent questions. Our Indian schools stress so much on academics that they find anything else irrelevant.

    Having grown up in a Air Force camp, Taekwondo, Swimming, Tennis, Golf etc. were natural sports many officers kids got trained in. I have learned Taekwondo and good at Tennis but somehow I have this water phobia that I just am not good at swimming. I can probably swim to save my life but still not comfortable. My brother is an expert. My parents tried their level best to make me comfortable in water but I just couldn't enjoy it ever.

    My 5 year old loves it and is good at it but I am sure there are many like me who have at least mild form of Aquaphobia.

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  44. In this case, he was okay. I had to give him the push needed to go learn. We went to Mauritius for our honeymoon, then Hawaii for our first anniversary, and during both those trips, he missed out on activities coz he was scared. So he wanted to learn, I just had to help him with his fear.

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  45. Television and TRP's.. well, they go hand in hand. What you said is true. The TV channels want 'sensation' in their presentation and go to any lengths. Not to mention a couple of TV channels how they broadcasted the positions of our soldiers when they were battling out againts terrorists in Bombay or Kargil !
    Swimming is really a good sport to indulge in(forget the live saving part) and really is a great freshner, though I learnt swimming in the pool of a club after I joined work ! Never mind, I still can say that I know how to swim, atleast in a pool :-)

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  46. Hey where did my comment go?

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  47. A very telling blog indeed...last weekend I was at Panchgani with my wife and my 1 year old daughter. We stayed at one of the resorts which also had a pool. This was the first time that I was introducing my daughter to the swimming pool. As you might remember, I have been a swimmer myself and was taught how to swim by the same technique used by your dad's family, except that I was thrown in the shallow end of the swimming pool instead of a river, when I was about 4 years old, and even there the water was way above my head. Thankfully my dad was around to pull me out after all my amateurish attempts to stay afloat failed. Slowly but steadily, the survival instinct took over and I learnt how to swim. I attempted the same with my daughter(the most water she had been in so far, was the rubber raft in our bathroom :))and I was pleasantly surprised to note how comfortable she was in the water. My wife, on the other hand has never learnt how to swim(or saw the need to learn to swim). However, after getting to know about this tragedy, we have decided that both my wife and daughter need to learn to swim at the earliest.

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  48. Though I do agree that learning to swim is essential, one should understand that we have hardly any good pools where one can go. Not all can be members of clubs or afford the steep fees that some of the hotels charge.

    Keeping that in mind, even if the majority knew to swim, why can we not provide basic safety equipment like it is done in most other countries. One cannot step onto a boat unless you have a lifejacket on. Where these people provided one? Even before the boat moves someone goes around checking if the boat is balanced, people are shifted to ensure that this is maintained. Why can't some safety measures be followed? The boat was new, the weather fine, and this tragedy should not have occured in the first place.

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  49. Though I do agree that learning to swim is essential, one should understand that we have hardly any good pools where one can go. Not all can be members of clubs or afford the steep fees that some of the hotels charge.

    Keeping that in mind, even if the majority knew to swim, why can we not provide basic safety equipment like it is done in most other countries. One cannot step onto a boat unless you have a lifejacket on. Where these people provided one? Even before the boat moves someone goes around checking if the boat is balanced, people are shifted to ensure that this is maintained. Why can't some safety measures be followed? The boat was new, the weather fine, and this tragedy should not have occured in the first place.

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  50. Aaila,
    Mereko to nai aata :(

    (You're just amazing blogger :D)

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  51. I don't know to swim...I tried to learn but just couldn't..I made my daughter learn swimming though..we went to thekkady just 2 months back..went boating in this very lake...but not once did it cross my mind thatsuch incidents can take place! we take things so much for granted! this incident was indeed unfortunate...but i wonder if god forbid we were to be in such a situation..would my 10 year old daughter actually swim back to the shore in midst of so much panic and chaos..?

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  52. That was really well said. My father too learned to swim in the rivers as a boy and in the oceans as a cadet! I am yet to learn but I am gonna do it. :-) Good post and it is definitely a bitter pill we all need to do something for ourselves!

    PS: Do write about how it felt swimming in the Oceans ... I am sure it ll be a lovely read! :-)

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  53. As for pushy journos, I too am totally disgusted with them! Rem the case of a guy who kept shooting videos of a girl being molested rather than coming to her aid? Something is not right in this world!

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  54. i read about the tragedy...very sad..

    In Delhi, i made the kids learn at the swimming pool in teh sports complex...you never know when it would be of use

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  55. This was such a touching post. Can we do something to create better awareness about pushy, insensitive journos please? They make TRPS out of tragedies and they think its fine to do that.

    About swimming, I too learned swimming very early in life and I am keen to teach my son so that he enjoys it and learns to use it when life requires him to.

    Loved your blog, really.

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  56. I learnt swimming way back in my pre-teens and really everytime I meet someone who doesn't know swimming, it really surprises me. But then not everyone has an access to a pool, I was lucky that I did at that point in time.

    I really admire the concept of swimming and driving classes being held in many schools in Pune, something I never experienced in any of the schools I studied in. This model really needs to be replicated across India.

    Really liked your post. Journos and TV channels just focus on sensationalism, be it a drowning tragedy or death of a child who falls in a pit. No one raises the point of safety procedures, and life skills that once imbibed can prevent such mishaps.

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  57. There is saying in the arab culture that all u need to teach a child to survive is swimming, horse riding and archery...

    i learned swimming the same way as ur dad..was thrown in the river and had to swim back to the shore while my cousins ran along the shore ...loved it..

    u r rite of course..but the sad part is most gud ideas appear in hindsight.

    u just gave me one more reason to justify why i never watch news or read newspaper

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  58. All through while reading the post, I felt as if I was being reprimanded in an absolute no nonsense manner and I totally liked the concern.

    I seriously don't know how to swim Preeti, I tried learning back in college but gave it up as I found it so difficult! I know I'm such a loser!
    .
    But I really wanna learn, and I hope against hope that I do it sooner than later

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  59. It was sad sad thing..somehow that day was marked by deaths all over the world. Floods, earthquakes were happening all over the world..It was just not the perfect day..Ironically there is a lot of talk about 2012..thought i believe it could be a hype that the Crew of the movie is promoting..

    About swimming..i never learned how to swim..i might be found playing around shallow waters in the beach or at some amusement park..but i sincerely am pretty scared about going in deep..something about the it freaks me out..

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  60. Shantharam: yes--it was a grave tragedy indeed. I don't know about 2012.

    Sparkling: I am sure you will! Somehow I feel everybody should know. Out of the 70 plus passengers 36 died..Other escaped. I am guessing they swam to safety.

    Tys: Yeah--I guess most people from kerala learn in the puzha. I learnt in that only. TV news is total waste of time. Some are still ok--example BBC.

    Thinker: Good that you know. It is indeed a lifeskill.

    Swapna: thank you and welcome to my blog. I guess the TV stations will justify it saying it is a part of their job and partly it is the public which is lapping up such crap dished out--if there was no demand there would not be a supply, right?

    Suma; Yes--really happy you did.

    Thoughtful train: Swimming in the sea--I love it. But I really don't think I can post about it. I mentioned only because it was relevant to post--that it is not 'impossible' to swim in river. I dont remembere the case of that TV journo who kept filming instead of helping the girl--sounds horrendous to even imagine.

    Namita; True--but then at least if one knows to swim one surely stands a better chance, isn't it? Otherwise you lose the battle even before you have tried.

    Shunty: Seekh! :) Thank you! :) And welcome to my blog.

    Radha: yes it should have been. But the fact remains that half the people escaped. Perhaps they swam to safety. And thing is people rushed to one side in excitement. They should have been warned about consequences--signboards should have been posed prominently. Fact also is Indian tourists hardly pay heed to safety norms.

    Manish: I remember you used to be an expert. You even won prizes for swimming right?! No wonder your daughter loves it! She has inherited your genes! I think this is the first time you are publicly commenting on my blog. Thank you! :)


    SMM: No idea! Blogger must have been hungry! :)

    Nandagopan: Good you know!

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  61. Shachi: good he has you!

    Soliloquy: yes--maybe. I wonder why people have that fear.

    Refelctions: Thank you :) Happy to make u smile :)

    Hunter: I am sure you will..BRRR..i can imagine the chill :)

    Last cigarette: yes--every school should teach it.

    Shail: glad both your sons know. I am sure they would be able to rescue you :) U're very right about the attitude of most parents.

    Aditya: :-)
    javascript:void(0)
    Guru: Yes it was sad. I asked for you email id in my last comment. Do send it to me please.

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  62. i completely agree! swimming is a life skill that everyone should know! ive got countless friends who don't know swimming and even refuse to try to learn!!

    it actually irritates me to no end! what if u really really need it tomm???

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  63. I agree about learning how to swim - I don’t know how but my niece and nephew who grew up in London and Auckland both have swimming at school - My niece used to hate it at first but her parents made sure she learnt - Am so glad they did that. But more than that, we Indians need to learn a lot about safety measures. That boat was carrying more people that it was supposed to and there were many unused life jackets lying in it. I wonder if there was any one to supervise and ensure that the boat does not tilt to one side when the tourists were rushing about. Why is life so cheap in our country?
    You know I was supposed to be at Periyar the day of the tragedy - but I canceled my trip due to a back problem –I shudder when I think of so many innocent lives lost.

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  64. tht's a gr8 piece of advice...will discuss this with my husband...

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