“A person’s first swim can often become an important indicator of their comfort level with water. Now having experienced mine initially as a five year old, I’m guessing it felt fantastic for I’ve never been able to stay away from it since! My entire career today, in fact, is all about exploring this gift of nature in all aspects possible.
Hailing from Tiruvannamalai as the son of a sports master, physical activities were always a major part of my childhood. That coupled with a limited inclination towards textbook education naturally made me spend more time outdoors, training professionally to qualify as a coach. But in the process, I noticed something striking. There was a stark contrast between the waters I’d swam in as a child and the ones I kept seeing as a grown-up diver. The seas seemed to be filled more with plastics than animals with the scenario becoming increasingly alarming around the seabed area.
Again, another shocking sight was witnessing so many of these sea creatures entangled in plastic strings, nets and sometimes even sharp hooks that kept piercing their bodies until someone was available to physically remove it. So all factors combined gradually grew to become trigger points on the ground reality of water pollution, thereby sparking
some significant changes within. The first of it was definitely switching to a plastic-free lifestyle.
Now alongside that, I wanted others too to understand the gravitas of the scenario and possibly see all that I’ve seen. So I took it upon myself then to slowly create awareness and educate people through various means, even if they happened to be customers stepping into my scuba diving company.
Besides that, another item on my bucket list was to restore the dying coral reefs in India. We often marvel at foreign countries for their conservation initiatives, but a whole lot of that can even be done right here! So with that vigor, I began my research whilst simultaneously seeking the required permissions. And soon enough, a bunch of us proceeded to reuse scrap metals, sometimes even as big as a discarded car after removing its engines to plant them underwater, thus creating man-made coral hotspots! It was a very simple move but one that bore fruit sooner than we expected. Within a few years the same sight started drastically thriving with life assuring me yet again to discover all that one can do with this magical element called water!
My work as a diving professional often presents me with unique opportunities from time to time. Be it the role of a trainer for the defense forces or an Aqua therapy coach for those with special needs or even a few interesting collaborations with the archaeological department, I’ve had a few special swims which have been nothing short of an adventure!
What’s more fascinating is the impact, all this has enabled me to create amongst thousands of people. Aqua therapy specifically looks into restoring those who’ve completely lost hope in navigating and view their bodies only as additional weights that are dragged around. Nevertheless, within just a few sessions, there’s usually a new-found spark in their eyes with more requests to stay in the water than returning to their wheelchairs. Some even tell me that the water makes their paralyzed bodies not feel heavy at all and, in fact, more alive than ever! And to me it’s feedback like these that make me fall more and more in love with what I do!
And that gratitude naturally reflected in my choice to introduce my daughter as well to swimming at a really young age. She immediately took to it and even became a budding advocate for water conservation, soon after. It started with her observing tons of masks on the surface of the sea and piles more being collected every time in our cleanups, last year. Those visuals fed her curiosity to understand the whys behind these occurrences, eventually steering her towards the path of sustainable living. What makes me more proud is seeing her adopt a plastic-free lifestyle too, on her own in an attempt to curb pollution from her end.
Reflecting on all this, it’s safe to state that what started out as just a hobby has today become the guiding theme of my life, in more ways than one! And like always, I’ll stand to protect this magical element of nature in my lifetime, for that, I believe, is my ultimate purpose!”