Monday, August 9, 2010

River,Canal and the Wadi

Cut 1 : My Phobia
I dread heights, i used to be more afraid of water. As a kid i once had the misfortune of watching a man fall from our terrace in to our well and there was the incident when i got swept off by the current while washing our truck in a river and i woke up later in a hospital. I also remember falling in to a water cask head first and remaining there till saw my legs sticking out and saved me from drowning. So by the school going age i was really very very hydrophobic.

An irrigation canal ( Source : Google)
Cut 2 : The canal
I am riding a bike, sandwiched between two burly 3rd year seniors of my engineering college, i'm feeling numb coz the ragging had been going on for weeks and i was sick to the point of quitting college. The bike suddenly veered off the main road to a dirt road and we approached a pedestrian bridge connecting two banks of an irrigation canal just wide enough for a man to pass. I closed my eyes and i could hear the gurgling water above the din of the motorbike. The guy must have crossed that narrow bridge a 100 times on his bike he crossed the bridge with out reducing speed and i felt the fabric of my jeans scraping the wall of the bridge. Our college had no mens hostel then and most of the guys rented out villas near the college. It was customary to name the villas so as to identify them easily and names went like "triple x", "white house" ," Pentagon" , "Kryptex" , "saplee villa" , " buji villa" etc. This time around they were taking me to a particular villa named " Durandam". I thought about all the stories about "durandam" , of it occupants and their antics. Durandam is a malayalam word which means tragedy i hope i neednt explain further.
I was expecting the usual round of punches slaps and horrific abuse which were common in those days in engineering colleges as part of the ragging for first year students but to my surprise there is only shakehands and casual conversation. One of them introduced himself and took me along for a walk. We walked and talked and then he lit up a cigarette and hoisted himself up on the railing of the canal's walls and made me do the same. He asked me if i could swim to which i explained my phobia. He nodded and pointed to me a foot ladder and told me to make a good note of it. I was still asking myself, why he asked me so when he just pushed me in to the canal's gurgling,froathing swirls. I opened my mouth to scream only to taste murky water , i thrashed around, i tried to call for help when i came up for air , the current was pushing me along like a twig. I saw a lot of seniors by the bank laughing their heads off. All of them shouting at me to grab the ladder. I grabbed it somehow and made my way up slowly, i collapsed exhausted and vomited my insides out. I smiled to myself as i my ears and nose slowly cleared. They had much fun at my expense but i got cured of my hydrophobia.
Ragging is really good to break the ice and get rid of your inhibitions,if it is done by sensible seniors and as long as it does not involve abuse. I made a lot of friends amongst my seniors and juniors because of ragging. When i first came to muscat i felt very very alone but my life here changed for good when i met 12 other guys who studied in the same college.

As-Siffah wadi near quriyat : (Pic by me)
Cut 3 : Wild Wadi
I am navigating using a gps, with kevin (my colleagues 10 year old son) on my lap. we are trying to find a wadi near as siffah dam. I see a bunch of omani guys jumping off a cliff face as we park by the wadi banks. I walk over to them saying salam and i watch as they show off their diving skills. One of them says to me " sadeeq taal minni, leish entha kauf ? "(my friend come over here , are you afraid?). I smile and tell them " aiwa sadeeq , aana wagid kauff" (Yes my friend i am very afraid). Another one sneaks up behind me and push me off, i was expecting it and i do my perfect knife dive routine and come back up with a thumbs up sign laughing my head off to the loud cheers whistles and mabrouk calls from the omani guys.
So this is the story of how i acquired and got rid of my hydrophobia, now i have the fear of heights to overcome.


anilkurup59 said...

Well well, good that you got cured of your scare- hydrophobia. But if you hold the view that ragging cured you well then my friend you were immensely lucky. If you had gone under and got rescued and had to be resuscitated , then you will have a different opinion of ragging. One does not have to maimed in battle to realise and understand the futility of war!!!

scarlet pimpernel said...

Hi anil ,

Nice to see you here, no i dont hold the view that ragging cured my hydrophobia.What they wanted was a good laugh at my expense and being cured of the hydrophobia was the unitended result.Thanks for commenting

anilkurup59 said...

All is well with that ends well!!
Keep blogging , I l visit your posts again

Insignia said...

Wooo...your phobia got cured at last!

I liked the names of the villas. Even though it was ragging and whoever ragged you wanted to entertain themselves, you got benefited from it! Awesome!

scarlet pimpernel said...

Talking about whoever ragged me, some of them work in the same city and we meet often for drinks and help out each other.

The Holy Lama said...

Help each other to finish off the drinks? :) Thank God, you survived to be cured of hydrophobia. There are ragging cases where fear drowns them.

Saad Shaikh said...

SP, you're one lucky girl. :)

Who else gets free from their inhibitions in this bizarre a way? :P

scarlet pimpernel said...

@Holy Lama

illa peg teerkan ..aarkum help vendi vararilla , njan uddeshichathu mattu sahayangal aane..

scarlet pimpernel said...


Name: Scarlet Pimpernel
Sex : Male


Tomz said...

Watch the film Vertigo, by Hitchcock to know the hero got rid of his fear of heights, (Acrophobea as they call it)
Btw I am afraid death by water and fire. I have phobea to reptiles, especially snakes.. also i am a claustrophobic

FONTY said...

hi, excuse me....
do you like typography?

:) said...

gud dat u r trying to overcome the fears. even i have unusual fear of birds and yellow colored heavy machinery...every1 has i think.

Feisty Crone said...

This sounds like a very old custom in the U.S. (I don't hear about it being done these days), throwing a child/young person into the water and standing by in case he/she sinks instead of paddling like crazy. I've had some family members tell me that's how they learned to swim. Others told me they never went near the water again.

scarlet pimpernel said...


I will watch vertigo asap ;-)and i among the animals i am only afraid of humans.


I think we are lucky if we have only one phobia


hello ,

nice to see you here and i am glad you could relate with my experience and yes,now a days we dont hear about throwing a person in to water to make him learn ;-)

Neha More said...

its nice to overcome one's fears as come out as a stronger person....been long u have not written and neither visited my blog....luking forward 2 some posts 4rm

Kim said...

What a way to get cured of a phobia..personnaly i would have yelled at them as i came up but u took it well and gave them the thumbs choice on your part.

Fancy going for another swimm ? jk

scarlet pimpernel said...


yEAH, am always on the look out for new places to swim. I wonder if there are any freshwater ponds where one can fish?