Saturday, May 26, 2018

Swimming Surprises

It's summertime and swimming is the highlight of our day.  The best way to celebrate 'no school', in my opinion (and probably my son's too).

My own swimming is usually a low key but happy affair of relaxing and watching the water move by, with shafts of sunbeams piercing it.  A place of no thought and effortless gliding.

With my son around, it takes on a completely different hue.  The Bangalore club pool is packed in the summer with other children (being coached), their parents sitting alongside, regular swimmers and, thrice a week, an aqua-aerobics class attended solely by grandmothers.

In the midst of this, we come, splashing in- the grandmothers turn to give beaming smiles to my son and chat with me about their lives.  I exchange smiles with the parents (they are quieter on the whole than the grandmothers), get to know the children by sight and by name.

The swimming coach comes over to share a few moments of conversation and swimming tips with my son.  I am one of the few, possibly the only parent, to enter the pool solely in order to teach my son.  And he is learning, in his own determined, chaotic way - refusing teachers and floats, bobbing up and down in the water until he is able to move a little at a time, by himself.  Hands and feet move in an unstructured but determined fashion while he breathes out bubbles and endures the chlorine of the water (glasses are too tight, he says, and so are swimming caps).  A happy, bubbly, truly free style swim.

After this, we sit out with his toy trains and eat our snack (which has gradually increased in size over the last few weeks, the number of trains has also swelled).  We watch the swimmers and my son strolls over to say a word or two to his neighbours.  Sometimes, they talk to me as well.

And what wondrous things result from these conversations!  Grandmothers' tips on places to buy swimsuits, a European lady telling me that my son would certainly learn swimming - based on her swimming experiences with Polish coaches, and most recently a very precious gift of an old winding train set from England, placed carefully in a hand painted biscuit tin, given by one of the swimmers to my son - it is the set he used as a child.

My son beamed on receiving this and said he would have fun with it forever and ever.  I hope he does- and I hope he has fun with his swimming forever and ever too, just as I do, with mine.

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