“You see sir, we are the Kandurassefanu, the kings of the sea. We are the greatest divers in Maldives and now you are going to be part of this elite club,” said Dost, my diving instructor. It was my first attempt at scuba diving and I loved every bit of it. Having reached Maldives, the previous day, I instantly fell in love with the coconut palms thriving on more than thousand islands that comprise the nation. Grouped into 26 low atolls in the Indian Ocean, less than 300 of the islands are inhabited. The Maldives is flat with white sandy beaches and is treasured by excellent reefs with an abundance of marine life.
Scuba diving is one of the major activities and is done at a leisurely pace. The scuba guys had come to pick me up in the morning from my hotel. We took an old trawler deep into the sea in the reef areas. I wore my scuba gear as Dost, meaning ‘friend’ in Hindi, barked instructions at me. I jumped into the sea with my fins on and started breathing through the regulator. I began to sink into the cool blue waters and the bubbles from my mask rose upwards. I felt that I was an astronaut walking on the moon with zero gravity. This may be how they felt. My limbs became light as I sank deeper and deeper almost 25 metres below.
The dance of nature started to take shape. Multi-coloured fishes, ray fishes, black frogfishes, giant sea turtles and all other mysterious water lings whizzed past me in a play of light and shadows. The dark green seaweeds danced amidst the swirl of the currents. I started chasing the turtle and was successful in touching it. I wanted to sit on it and go for a ride but the reefs were thick and I lost the turtle. To be so close to nature, however, was a rare treat. How effortlessly nature moves and how infinite its scale! One infinite exists up in the universe and the other exists below the sea in the abyss.
The saltwater slammed up along the walls, stirring the sponges and soft corals clinging to the rock sides. Inside the lagoons, the rock pinnacles vaulted up from the bottom to scratch the water’s surface. Nature was at its best. Time slowed down as I sat on a rock absorbing the surreal life all around me. All this time, Dost was taking pictures and videos for my blog. At 50 dollars a dive, it was worth it, the vision of beauty and peace. Slowly, Dost shook me out of my tranquillity, held my hand and took me upwards to the surface. “You see, many people go to the spa for meditation to try and lose themselves. I dive to lose myself. This is my meditation” reflected Dost. I completely agree. I had forgotten all my worries during the dive. I had enjoyed the richness of nature. How strange it is that the more we take from it, the more it gives us. If it can go on endlessly, so could I. It is amazing, wondrous and boundless.