If I were to think of the one thing I’ve spent most time and energy on while growing up, it’s definitely on coming up with excuses to avoid taking sports related classes. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching sport. There’s the drama, the sentiment, the thrill and great looking caucasian dudes taking their shirts off. But when it comes to playing, it’s just total trauma because I am an athletic disaster. No really, I’ve been told I have negative hand eye co-ordination, the stamina of a dead squirrel and that I’m generally doomed to be a total failure in sport by like 8 different instructors thus far. So if you think about it, I’m kinda like Abraham Lincoln except for the minor detail about him eventually overcoming his failures and becoming President and me still being a failure.
My mother thinks I have a talent when it comes to coming up with excuses – but the one thing people don’t usually understand about great excuses is that they aren’t made. They just happen. When I was 5, my father apparently had this vision of me becoming a swimming champion (on an unrelated note, I see where my hyperactive imagination comes from) and just like that, I was enrolled into swimming classes at Savera. Have you guys seen the pool at Savera? In case you haven’t I MUST describe it – IT’S CREEPY AS HELL. You know, in normal-people-land, swimming pools are just like giant tubs with blue tiles, because that’s how they’re meant to be. But no, the pool at Savera has like mosaic sea creatures. They start out as friendly seeming fish in the shallow end, become mosaic mermaids (or whatever) in the 5′ – 7′ level and finally, very evil looking giant fish in 12′ deep, dark end. For a really long time I was convinced that the deep end had these bloodthirsty sharks which ate children. And were invisible.
As if the invisible shark pool wasn’t intimidating enough, the swimming instructor (Terror Sir) was the stuff nightmares was made of. In our second class, he pulled us out of the nice, safe, shallow end and made us (about 6 of us, mostly 5, 6 year olds) line up near the deep end. And then, he pushed us in. Just like that. When you’re like roughly three feet tall, this is crazy scary – imagine being pushed in to this crazy mosaic fish pool (which probably had invisible sharks) with no warning, no floating aids and NO TRAINING. When I came back home after class that evening (I managed to escape the sharks thanks to my mad grab-the-nearest-adult-in-the-water-and-holler-until-he-helps-you-out-of-the-water skills) I was a mess. I begged, I pleaded, I even did the kicking that I was supposed to have done in the water to get out of swimming classes. My mom was unfazed ofcourse, even with my dramatic re-telling of how I nearly drowned to death. “The next time he makes you jump in, just say ‘Jai Anjaneya!’. Nothing will happen!”
(In case you are wondering, I actually tried this the next class – Instead of my usual 500 decibel shriek, I went in with a 500 decibel JAI ANJANEYA! war-cry. I got out and didn’t burst into hysterical sobs after I was out of the pool – This was a huge deal, and not surprisingly, it caught on among my peers as well. Pretty soon there was even like this mini-contest among us with respect to who can say JAI ANJANEYA! the loudest while jumping in. I still sucked at swimming though.)
Basically, my parents just wouldn’t let anything deter them from their ambition to mould me into an Asian Games hopeful, which was really sad because I hated swimming, as much as I hated the times Terror Sir would like dunk my head in the water as punishment whenever I displayed my incapability in the water, which was all the time. I played sick (“Swimming will make you feel better!”), I played scared (“Anjaneya is there no? He’ll take care of you!”) and I even played the bad girl card – I kicked Terror Sir right on the stomach in the pretext of improving my freestyle. This did not go well either, because he went and told my parents that I had the legs of a swimming champion and that I should extend my classes.
Just when I thought I had run out of excuses, one evening we were let into the kiddy pool for an entire hour because Terror Sir was too busy terrorizing his senior students for some competition the next day. The kiddy pool in Savera is also a piece of work – it’s a small pool made even smaller thanks to a GIANT Shiva-Parvati statue bang in the middle with a chlorine Ganga spouting from Shiva’s head. Some kids took it really seriously and would insist on playing “Temple Temple” during our splashing time and we’d form this line and go around the statue and drink some chlorinated water as our Prasadam. Anyway, so there we were, obediently circling Shiva-Parvati-Chlorine-Ganga when one of the boys (I’m just going to call him Oneboy cause I don’t remember his name) started yelling for his mother. Oneboy’s mom showed up looking all tired and exasperated snapped at him asking what the matter was. Apparently, Oneboy really really really needed to go use the loo on the other side of the pool to susu.
But Oneboy’s mom just rolled her eyes and was like “Why can’t you just do it there?”
Oneboy yelled right back at his Mom – “That is only in big pool! I can’t susu on God, okay!”
My mother who was nearby, overhearing all this, quietly told me to get out of the pool – and just like that I was relieved from swimming classes. Goes to prove that if Lavanya cannot come up with an excuse, the excuse shall come to Lavanya.