All’s Mangalam that ends Mangalam
I love swimming. I’m no expert swimmer, in fact, I look ridiculous when I am attempting free style (I haven’t figured out yet when exactly you are supposed to breathe) but I do a mean breast and back stroke :) A bunch of us girls were practising baltis in the IISc pool. Flip - feel slightly nauseous- surface, that was the routine.
I came home, sipped my morning filter coffee and casually scratched my neck- my mangalsutra was missing.
Me (hysterical)- “B! My mangalsutra is missing!!”
B (complacently)-“ Oh? Its ok, it happens” (goes back to the Hindu).
Me (bleating)- “What shall we do? What am I going tell our parents??”
B (complacently) “ We’ll think about it” (goes back to the Hindu)
Apart from the sentimental value of course, the mangalsutra was (1) REAL expensive and (2) had been bought by my in-laws. I was quite certain I had lost it in the pool so I dragged B there immediately. I tried jumping in right away with all my clothes on, B managed to restrain me. The cleaning lady and the life- guard (pathetic excuse of one actually) shook their heads disapprovingly. “What kind of girl loses her mangalsutra?!” The life-guard climbed delicately into the shallow end of the pool, swam a few laps and informed me that he couldn’t see it anywhere. By this time B was convinced that we were never going to find it and decided to head to work. He advised me not to do anything stupid or life threatening and departed.
Naturally I had forgotten to bring my swim suit along with me. I ran to ask my friends for help. One of them, a slight waif- like creature, who fit into the palm of my hand, offered to lend me her suit. I was too upset to think so I just squeezed into it. I jumped into the pool and…. “rip”, there was an ominous sound (well what did you expect??). Who cared? I dove right in and out popped my contact lenses. Now I must tell you, I am extraordinarily short sighted. So, there I was floundering around blindly, while people gaped. My guardian angel appeared in the form of one of our security officers. He had been watching my antics for a while and his heart simply melted at the sight of a half- blind young woman in a torn swim suit fighting so desperately to retrieve the sacred symbol of holy matrimony (mangalsutra, sindoor- they never fail to touch a chord do they?? :) ). The fact that he was an ace swimmer helped of course. He dove in gallantly and resurfaced empty- handed. Not one to give up easily he dove in once more. He disappeared from sight (at least that’s what I am told) for about a minute and HALLELUJAH appeared holding aloft the trophy triumphantly! I am not too sure what I did after that, but I am fairly certain I wept tears of joy and between sobs managed to get the angel’s name.
The next day I discovered (after some detective work), where the security officer lived. I reached his home holding a big box of sweets. He seemed embarrassed but touched. He told me gravely that I must not thank him but thank HIM for having helped me in my hour of need :) I am not a religious person at all but what can I say except- “ Thank God it was a swimming pool and not the sea :)”