Monday, October 07, 2013



It’s close to 7 pm. The sun has long set, leaving the middle of the ocean pitch dark. Save for one light- which ironically, is at the bottom of the relatively shallow ocean floor. The setting would be ideal for a lost-at-sea-shark-attack story, but this is not one. Far from it.

Within moments, the divers go down to light the ‘camp-fire’. A set of incandescent LEDs pointed up at the surface. Not to be outdone, the dozen or so boats let loose their surfboards, fitted with an equally powerful set of LEDs. Suddenly, it’s a veritable Las Vegas down there. The moments-ago dark and silent ocean is buzz-feed of activity. There are these flashing bubbles rising up to the surface, taking on different forms of light as they leave the divers’ breaths to make their way to the top, their journey often cut short by a waiting snorkeller’s arms of wonderment. Drawn to the light like moths, plankton of all shapes, sizes and colours start hovering about. The orchestra is almost set, the supporting cast have taken their places. The audience waits with bated breath.

And then comes the grand entrance. The stars of the show. Manta-rays over 1000 pounds large, with wingspans over 12 feet. Graceful as ballerinas as they execute one musical somersault after another. The snorkelling spectators can only gape with wonder at their intimidating jaws, their sheer presence and their uniquely patterned underbellies. They’re so close- an outstretched arm would leave an indelible print. There is no music, but the silent symphony can be heard more clearly than any sound. There is no choreographer, but then co-ordination is for humans, not ethereal beings. And with a dark-blue setting, vision obfuscated by shimmering bubbles and silvery plankton, what could better qualify for other-worldly.

Life sometimes has very subtle ways of reminding us of the enormity of it all and our relative insignificance. Sometimes however, the message cannot be more highlighted. Floating on the ocean surface, I take the classic step back or hundred feet view of the world. I find myself staring at a group of people floating in the middle of the Pacific ocean, a faint glow when all else is dark, and 1000 pound creatures gliding somewhere beneath it all. If ever there was a time when I had any doubt on the wonder of the world we are lucky to live in or on the magic that exists for those who care to seek, those moments are forever eradicated. I’ve apparently had this epiphany before, but this time truly, apne hone par mujhko yakeen aa gaya.

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