Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Floatsam, jetsam and kidsam

I was chatting with Mona the other day and we were discussing our kids' swimming lessons. I realized that I had not written about how Adi learnt swimming this past summer. We joined a club nearby just so the kids would get access to some sort of sporting facilities. Being quite new to the club and its workings, I had no idea how coveted the swimming class slots were. I thought we would have a leisurely first few days of summer vacations before we got down to these dirty duties. My husband, the esteemed M, was laid up after his surgery and so he was not jumping around in his usual methodical fashion, organizing lives and so on. It was left to me, the artist of the family to go and see the coach and figure out fees and such like, a task that I usually abhor.

I landed up at the pool at peak sunshine hour and spotted a multitude of children splashing about. I hoisted up my skirts (literally for I was wearing a floor length skirt in keeping with the theme of inappropriate dressing) and tried to locate the coach. I caught sight of him at one end and scurried to catch up to strike a deal except that by the time I reached there he had already swum to the other end. Acutely aware of providing entertainment to the watching millions - a task I am becoming really adept at since an incident involving me falling down on my ass after slipping on a wet floor, mind you - I finally managed to catch hold of the slippery eel of the coach. He laughed at my request and told me that there were about a hundred kids in waiting and I could technically put my son's name at the bottom of the list but he wouldn't hang his hopes on it.

I came back home and dolefully recounted the story to M who muttered something about having to crack the system, something I don't do very well given the other full-time responsibility of entertaining the milling crowds. Well, anyway, after repeated requests and so on, a slot was miraculously obtained for the boy. Now began the task of getting him to actually swim.

The scene just before the lesson began was a harrowing one. The kids would emerge from the dressing rooms and be marched off to the lifeguard to put their floats on. After that it would all get really disturbing. Some of the kids would wail for all they were worth and would hang on resolutely from the mothers' legs as they determinedly hobbled towards the pool. Others would get into the pool but scramble over the sides and make a dash for safe land before being caught by the agile mothers and being dragged back to the water and others would just give their watching mothers tearful achha silla diya tune mere pyaar ka looks that the maters completely ignored. It was madness of a scale hitherto unseen. The pool would soon be teeming with children of age 5, their mothers watching from the sidelines. Now the coach spoke in a very strange accent and it was difficult to understand exactly what was being barked at the kids. I think by and large the kids guessed the instructions judging the tone. Or maybe sign language, who knows.

The mums were also really cool. Some of them actually swam as much outside the pool as their child did inside, making graceful swimming motions with their arms and looking really silly and not giving a damn. Remember that when you are deciding on our old-age homes, you kids.

For a few days, I valiantly stood by and cheered on the boy, my heart in my mouth. Then Thatha arrived from Singapore and this duty was transferred to him. Thatha is a man of technology and vision and sometimes he likes to combine the two. And so, armed with his tablet, he would land at the venue and then make videos of his grandson as he tried to stay afloat and mail them to us. The madness continued but in a week's time or so, all those crying, bawling babies had kicked their floats. They were swimming! They were diving from boards! They were swimming! It was most gratifying to see those little tadpoles actually traverse the length of the pool.

Most exciting. We have it on video. Multiple videos, in fact.


Aparna said...

long time reader, finally delurking!
I was laughing through and through..thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

Hi parul,

what is with M? is he recovering ok?
Please pass on my get well wishes :)

mothers swimming on the side - classic Parul touch! u are so funny!

Sujatha R

Choxbox said...


Roshni said...

Okay not to sound like a stalker but I did spot you at the pool this summer and I almost came up to gush about how wonderful you and the blog are. But then you were busy with Adi and realized celebs also need their space. :).

Parul said...

Aparna...Well, hello there then :)

Sujatha...Thanks for asking. He had knee surgery but he is well now. And happy you find me funny. Prime attraction :)


Roshni...Arrey why didn't you come and say hi? I'd have loved to meet you. Are you a regular at the club? Let's catch up next time, no?