I was just a few seconds away from my first underwater walk, a walk which would differentiate me from my not-so-adventurer type friends who are busy earning dollars by yawning in front of their Mac. After a couple of meat-and-potatoes training, the assistant helped me to fix the oxygen helmet on my head. I was in a group of four, with consisted an American lady and Malaysian twin boys who were in their teens. I walked towards the edge of the boat, put my foot on the ladder and started to climb down slowly as every inch of my body felt the cold turquoise waters of the Caribbean Island. Though I haven’t seen sharks in real life, I have to admit I’m scared of them, and under the sea there is no place to run or hide when I’m on a one on one combat with it. They even swim faster than me. I was assured by Mike, the trainer that there are no baleful sharks or vindictive piranhas and there have been no reports of any serious mishaps in the vicinity. My smile was back with Mike’s assurance.
I was a couple of few meters under the green sea, when all of a sudden my ears were paining because of the lack of oxygen. It was excruciating. When the pain began to ease down, I felt the heavenly white sand below my feet. I could see the scuba divers swimming all around me. They were artistic as well as aesthetic; I considered swimming is natural to them and not walking. To add to my nightmare, I pictured them as hungry sharks that are ready to devour me any moment. After a few seconds, I felt one of the Malaysian twins held my hand. We looked at each other and exchanged smiles through the transparent mask. After a few minutes, the other twin as well as the American lady was with us and we formed a circle in order to balance our body against the strong Caribbean waves. None of us could describe the feeling when we were in the midst of the coral reefs, the waving turquoise water, and millions of beautiful and colorful types of fish.
Next, the scuba divers gave each of us a piece of bread to feed the marine species. Just a mini second later, I was surrounded by umpteen fish species. I felt like I was one of them. The way they tickled and played with our body created a mesmerized feeling within us that none of us could describe it. I could see one of the Malaysian twins beside me being pushed away a meter behind by the military force of the fishes. I was no longer handing anyone’s hand; what I was a holding was an angelfish on my naked hands. I could scrutinize the fish from so close that I could count its scales. This was definitely the best experience I have ever had in my life.
I was on my knees when suddenly I felt a big weight on my left leg, and I was drifting forward I felt a queer fear playing inside my head The weight shifted from my leg to the body and I yelled a big cry “SHARKKKKKKK”. My eyes grew smaller, cheeks expanded and eyes were getting watery. My tears were crawling down my cheeks and soon it would dilute with the waters of the sea. Not only my tears, I assumed my blood would dilute too while I’m being devoured by the voracious shark. All of all second, I summoned all the wrongs I had done in my life and asked God for mercy and wished my new home in heaven was as beautiful as the Caribbean Islands, except the sharks. I wished I was a better person. Amen.
I wanted to die with dignity so that when I enter the doors of heaven I want my fellow dwellers to salute me and not spit on me. I was just a few seconds away from death. There was no way I could cheat it. I turned around very slowly and tried to peep through the corner of my eyes. I had a queer feeling that it was waiting for a perfect kill. My feet were trembling as I was rolling sideways. It was right in front of me. I smiled through my mask as it could see me. Next, my smile evolved into laughter. It looked at me with a perplexed and naïve stance. It was no ‘it’, it was ‘him’. I smiled at the Malaysian teen and showed him the thumbs up.