Thursday, January 14, 2016

When I screamed in terror

I have a really funny phobia. I am scared of fish. My worst nightmare is to wake up and see fish floating around my room. Alive.

It all started with a dream when my friend gifted me an aquarium. I must have been like 16.

The funny thing is, when I saw those dreams, I found them amusing. I have no idea when they turned into a phobia. But once they did, I could never walk into a pet shop filled with aquariums. Hell, I couldn't even walk into the marine animals exhibit in Prince Of Wales Museum, Mumbai without pretending as if I am watching a scary movie. I was so sure one of those things was going to start moving that I just kept one eye open the whole time.

Taking me to the beach is an amusement in itself. I start shrieking if I think something brushed past my leg. "Ew ew ew something touched me!" I've said and it has turned out to be sand, or shells or something equally harmless meant to be at a beach.

Which brings me to my Krabi trip. Can you imagine a person so afraid of fishes getting mightily excited about going snorkeling and scuba diving? Yeah, I really didn't think things through. On our third anniversary, my husband and I booked a sunset cruise (the best, please go for it, even if you are scared of fishes or swimming) that promised to take us snorkeling twice and cliff diving. That was incidentally the last day of our trip and I was eagerly waiting for the big day.

It came soon enough and with all the innocence (or should I say stupidity) of a three-year-old, I took my snorkeling gear and jumped off the ship. I refused to take any watermelon for the fishes, because hello! I didn't want any near me. So I was going to see... what? I forgot in the excitement of snorkeling.

Needless to say, when I first put on that mask and peeked into the water, I screamed with terror. There were tiny yellow fishes all around me and touching me! I screamed and screamed and my instructor laughed and laughed. I said "I DON'T WANT TO BE NEAR ANY FISHES!!" as if my life depended on it and he laughed and said, "Don't worry, they won't do anything to you." Like that was supposed to be any consolation.

I must tell you, it is very difficult to scream with the snorkeling gear in your mouth but I did a pretty good job. Running out of breath after all that shrieking and trying to breathe through my mouth, I convinced myself that the snorkeling mask was unnecessarily magnifying images and the fishes weren't really THAT CLOSE. When I went back on the ship though, I realized how silly I was being. I could almost hear my mom saying to me, "Kahi karat nahiyet teh tula!" (They aren't harming you).

So, I resolved, not to be so silly on my next dive. And I am proud to say, I did not scream. I pretended as if they were coming to greet me and were kittens, not fishes. It worked! And I actually enjoyed myself.

Scuba diving is next. I'll pretend the tortoises are golden retrievers.