Edited by – Zenya Siyad
Normally, there are two reasons why people might be scared of the sea – its immensity and a fear of the “unknown”. Both are rational fears; if you ever had the chance to look at the sea, your eyes would be washed with blue that exists all around. With the sea merging with the sky, it is even harder to place a boundary. While Poseidon’s Kingdom is a territory humans have managed to invade, we still do not have a stable hold over it; its “limitlessness” makes it impossible to have a full understanding of it and its residents. This makes the sea dark and mysterious, rooting into our imagination the most horrendous stories about encounters with its residents as well as the experience of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Hollywood clearly wants to continue feeding into these nightmares with movies like “Jaws”, “Deep Blue Sea” and more, converting our already scary imagination into visible pictures.
In spite of these fears, if people want a relaxed and calm holiday or just some time to unwind, the sea with its beaches is the first place that comes to mind. It is the same with me too, since my fear of the “unknown” does not stop me (most of the time) from enjoying the beauty and calm that it brings. That is why I consider my relationship with the sea a rocky one. Living in Mumbai, I have had the privilege of having this relaxing aura right at my doorstep. Ever since I was young, if I ever wanted a break from daily routine, I would find my escape through a simple walk along Carter Road (for those who don’t know, Carter Road is the suburban version of Marine Drive, a very popular place for seaside walks in South Mumbai, India). Before my physics board exam in class 10, I managed to spend 3 hours walking on Carters Road, calming myself down through the vibes of the sea.
I wonder why the sea has such an effect on many people. One of the reasons could be that its vastness makes us realize how small we and our problems are in the face of the world. As we stand watching the waves hit the shore, little do we realise the time that runs by. It dawns upon us that with time fleeting by, our problems too, shall pass by quickly. That is how my love for the sea rose. The simple change of scene, the “washing” away of all fears with the receding waves. This makes the sea a paradox, where what causes us fear is in fact the remover of our fears, resulting in a seesaw movement of emotion between fear and calm.
How does something so simple and monotone manage to portray all these characteristics and meanings, and produce these emotions and life lessons? In all its simplicity, the sea manages to place within us two stark emotions, one being fear so we don’t take it for granted, and the other being calm, where we can let ourselves relax with the presence of the sea. And this by itself leaves a permanent mark of the sea in our lives. It makes you realize that life does not need to be all colourful to produce an impact on this world. Even a simple colour – a personality – is enough to leave lasting impressions. What we need is to make sure is that our presence is noted, and while we help people out, don’t let them take you for granted – the fear versus calm. The calming aura of the water when mixed with its threatening, fearsome stance, provides a perfect balance. Imagine what would have happened if the sea was either “over-friendly” or “over-fearsome”. It would have either led to the destruction of the sea, or destruction of humankind. So, I believe that a balance between these two – fear and calm – provides lasting happiness and ensures that we live a more or less stable life.
The paradoxity of the sea makes it all the more intriguing to me, and I find myself enjoying a walk by the sea more and more. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, the stress and the emotions that come with being stuck at home can be immense and one needs to find an outlet. The sea has been my companion through these times, allowing me to expand myself across its horizon. Maybe over time, my relationship with it won’t be so rocky anymore, and my fear will slowly ebb away. I do hope that others get a chance to experience such a relation at least once in their lives. The sea is indeed a force to reckon with.