She closed her eyes, listening to the sound of the tap water spilling over the stainless steel glass. It was rhythmic, like the explosive waves of an ocean crashing the trembling shores. She imagined what it would feel like to be in those waters.
Sitting on a plastic chair in the living room, she reminisced the time over half a year ago when she herself was a part of that world. It felt almost like a lifetime had passed since those wonderful times, and now, all that she had left were those precious memories that made her want to go back.
But then, that was another life, where her swimsuit was the only thing that separated her from the rush of the waves. It was a time that, she realized, she would never get back, no matter how much she wanted it.
Swimming was her passion; it always had been since the age of five. She loved listening to her mother telling her the story of how it all began at the tender age of five when all she could do was to look at swimsuits no matter where they went. It was then that they decided to put her in her first swimming class.
This was a story that Radhika enjoyed listening to whenever the topic of her swimming came up.Starting in the local pond by her house, she stroked her way up to lakes, rivers and finally the seas. It wasn’t an easy journey, through blistering heat and shuddering cold air, but she’d gritted and borne it all. That was how much being a part of the water meant to her.
Her coach always believed in her talent and told her that she had the passion to match a rising storm.
“You just need to keep practicing,” he said, trying to encourage her enthusiasm and she took his words seriously, wanting to make a living out of the one thing she loved to do the most.
However, her academics took a serious backseat as she concentrated on the calming waves, much to the disappointment of her parents. But she didn’t know how to tell them that this was a love that she’d never be able to let go of. The nights got longer and the days became more tiring as she consciously focused on excelling in both her dream as well as her parents’. But she never let that stop her.
A smile lit up her face at these long lost thoughts and distant memories. But then, turning to look at the awards decorating her showcase, she sighed.
‘Radhika,’ they all said. ‘No. 1 Swimmer in the City’.
Over the years, she won numerous contests, refusing to give her opponents a chance. But, this year, for the first time, she wouldn’t be turning up to any of the contests. This year, finally, someone else would win and she would watch via her 21 inch screen, the life that she once had but could never get back.
She thought back to that moment when she lost it all.
The one fateful accident that marked her last moments as a professional swimmer haunted her. It wasn’t a night that she thought would change her life so drastically. After much pressure from her friends, she had agreed to go out and celebrate yet another one of her victories. But in one minute, as she was crossing the road, it happened.
Sixty seconds manage to shatter her dreams. She wondered time and again if it was fate that decided to leave her longing for the rest of her existence or if she ran out of all the good luck that a person was allotted in a lifetime.
“Radhika,” Her mother said, coming out of the kitchen with a ladle in her hand. “It’s time for your singing lessons. Hurry up!”
Sighing for a second time in the last fifteen minutes,Radhika picked up the crutches that lay leaning against her chair and got up, looking down at the stump where her leg used to be. Having lost the ability to pursue her passion, she found that she didn’t need to give up hope altogether. In the tears that she shed for a dream that would never be, she found a voice in her that was waiting to be honed. Music, she realized, would now be her first love.
Being a part of the waves for the longest duration of her life, she’d gotten accustomed to the tune of the waves. Her sensitivity to the lowest of sounds helped her find this new dream.
She glanced one last time at the photograph on her shelf of the trophy she won last year at the Swimming Championships. The aspirations that she was she was once so close to now turned into distant dreams. They say failures are the stepping stones to success. But this was one that she would never be able to rise from.
That, however, she understood, didn’t need to stop her altogether. A person was entitled to more than just one talent.
As she opened the main door and stepped out, she heard from upstairs, the wonderful rhythm of the musical beats and the serene melody coming from the group of students singing together.Smiling, she got into the lift, eagerly waiting to join them all in this new journey she discovered.A year ago, if someone mentioned singing to her, she’d have shrugged them off. But now, however, it was her passion.
Life, after all, is meant to be unexpected.