Feb 27, 2011


By Alisha Sethi

Its funny how what we do in our childhood stays with us forever,or atleast till a realy long time. During my school years I remember reading about a psychologist called S. Freud who said that 'The boy is father to the man'. This rule applies to girls as well. My childooh was quite ordinary; all the events I have skimmed over so far prove that point, but the 11th of June 2007 was a day like any other. Part of what happened that day still remains with me and that is why I am devoting an entire chapter to it. 
In the summer of 2007 my family and I had gone to Dallas for my cousin,Shahyan's,wedding. The wedding and all its subsequent dinner parties were over within a week and to let go of some of that stress that had been overburdening all of us,we decided to go on a cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. The entire family had united for the big celebration. I remember how difficult it was to find a flight from Dallas to Miami that would take all twenty seven of us. My sister and I along with our three cousins were always to be found together,be it on the plane or on the cruise ship. Numa,Alizeh,Saman,Ali and I. What a good time we would have at the expense of each other. Now I know that when I say it like that it does give the impression that we werent careful with each others feelings,but we were. The only day we perhaps let it go too far was when we visited the famous beach of Nassau,on the 11th
of June.
All the uncles and aunts ( in short all the elders ) had set up chairs and beach mats so that everyone could sit and have lunch before heading off to the water sports area. The five of us clearly knew the instructions but on a perfectly sunny day in the Bahamas would anyone feel inclined to listen to their elders? We told them we would be right back after washing our hands but ofcourse,we werent.
The restrooms were situated on a far corner of the beach and thankfully far away from all the adults. There were just two restrooms so we took turns occupying them to change into our bathing suits. I had decided that since I was the eldest I would get to go first but Saman had very conveniently decided to trot all over my authority and made a beeline for the bathroom before any of us could stop her. She banged the door and started singing at the top of her voice a song she knew I particulrly detested. I was irritated. It was the first time any of them had gone against my decision. Determined to teach Saman a lesson, I pulled Ali,Numa and Alizeh closer and told them exactly what was brewing in my head.
It took about ten minutes for all of us to get changed and as soon as we were done we took off our slippers and went rushing towards the water. I beckoned my trusted partners in crime to take Saman forward,deeper. The wtaer was so cold I had to fight to move my legs. Soon we had reach a depth where my feet were barely touching the ground,even though I was the tallest. The four of them were holding on to inflatable tubes since neither of them knew how to swim. I signalled Ali who was standing nearest to Saman and as soon as he saw me he put his hands casually on her tube. The first phase of my plan was complete and now it was time to move on. I suddenly yelled,
"Hey Saman! Lets go underwater!"
Without waiting for a response from her, I put my hands on her head and thrust her into the water with all the force I could muster. Ali upon hearing my call pulled the inflatable tube from infront of her so that till we felt she had suffered enough punishment she couldnt come up. I put my feet on her shoulder to push her further down but at the same time I was holding on to a few strands of her hair to make sure I still had a grip on her. It was all going according to plan, I could see her frantically splashing and trying to resurface but my grip was firm. Then all of a sudden just as I was about to release her pain,like a needle injected, shot through my left thigh and it became uncharacteristically stiff. Unmistakable symptoms of a cramp. A surge of panic rushed through me as I realized I couldnt move a muscle. I was slowly going deeper into the water and Saman was going down with me. I was like a statue sinking,Saman's weight adding to my weight. Someone was shouting above us. With alarm I noticed that Saman's eyes were closed and she wasnt struggling anymore. That was the last thing I remembered.
When I finally woke up I was spluttering,coughing like a person choking on bitter medicine. We were on shore. Saman was sitting next to me,shivering despite the blanket that draped her. My aunt was hugging her, stroking her forehead while muttering reassuring words. Then all of a sudden, I was wrapped in a hug too by her. Imagine being hugged by a woman whose daughter you had almost killed.
We never ended up telling them what had happened that day. The lifeguards thankfully werent able to figure it out either . That day taught me when to draw the line. It subdued my behaviour to a large extent and coming to think of it,my ego as well.


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