Five Times

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Chapter 7

May 15 2018

The same time when Abi's family departed from their home to the airport, back in the ocean world, Whalros was desperate to make his first move. He, along with his whale community set out a plan for the first hunt. They found the most visited place in the sea world and made their presence well before time. The first site he chose was the snorkeling site at the Havelock Island. He hoped it would work. And you know what. It actually worked.

It is no surprise to say that Havelock Island in Andaman is one of the most admired places. The white sandy beaches and the pellucid water are the great proof that the Island is still a blameless place to look on. I can be sure that this island is a complete opposite of what we see in Eliot beach (in Chennai) which is dirty and polluted. Simple bamboo huts under the undulating coconut trees are the perfect place to rest. Of course there are star rated cottages and resorts other than these huts, if you wish to. Simply Havelock is a paradise.

There will be no one who doesn’t love adventure, being in Andaman. So, the snorkeling is the one that gives the best and it is highly commercialized in Andaman. The trip is totally incomplete without this.

Well. That’s a very pleasant morning and people in Havelock are excited to have a dive. After one hour of hearing theoretical instructions of do’s and don’ts in the underwater world, teaching the hand signs, the six member crew was finally ready to explore it. They were way too elevated for the dive, not knowing that something horrible is waiting beneath.

“So shall we move?” Anne, the trainer asked looking at the crew, guiding them to the site. Anne took all the basic equipment needed and with all the six snorkelers, they left together for the diving site.

It was just 15 minutes ride to the site from the Havelock Island. There was one girl named Jasmine who was so nervous. Even though the air was pretty much refreshing, Jasmine could feel the sweat on her forehead finding its way towards the sides of her face. She was in no mood to enjoy the beautiful view of blue water around her. She was excited to have some adventure but her fear over sea (to be technical - thalassophobia) was more than her excitement.

She anxiously looked at her friend Sana, who forgot herself in the nature’s beauty.

She slowly neared her and hissed in her ear. “Sana… Can I wait in the boat when you go down and dive?” She was almost at the verge of crying. Her eyelids were fully wet.

“Jas…Please be cool. It won’t be that threatening. If that’s the case, will anyone dare to visit it? It is an amazing world down there. Please stay calm and relax Jas”

They reached the site. Anne guided everyone to have their wet suit, fins, snorkel, goggles and of course the weights around their waist. Anne advised everyone to grip the snorkel well with their teeth. On failing, they would have to drink the salt water gasping for breath.

When Anne looked at Jasmine’s tear soaked eyes, she couldn’t control her laughter.

“Hey… Don’t be worried too much. This is not some ghosts place to be afraid of. Come let’s go” said Anne and she left to check with other divers.

But Jasmine just looked at the vast sea that touched the sky and her heart beat fastened as ever.

Whalros was patiently waiting with his soldiers. He jolted when he heard the fluttering sounds of waves all of a sudden. But then he calmed himself knowing that the prey was close enough. Soon Whalros transformed himself as a Jelly fish and started swimming here and there.

The six members stepped into the waters along with Anne, holding on the ropes in the boat. Jasmine looked more frightened despite Anne’s supportive words. Anne made Jasmine drown inside the water with ease. It was bit tough at first to get into the water with the weights tied around. It won’t let you drown in the water so soon. The weight was such a burden to carry on. Jasmine had to fight for hardly 5 minutes to get inside. And once she was inside the water, she felt weightless. Even she couldn’t feel her own body weight. She wondered at the sudden transformation.

At first, Jasmine freaked out on being submerged under water. Anne was communicating with hand gestures to make sure that everyone was alright. Anne made Jasmine comfortable by being with her most of the time. Jasmine saw the bubbles coming out through her snorkel and rolled her eyes to check with others. She was bit relieved when she saw bubbles coming out from other’s as well. Jasmine gritted the snorkel so hard in the fear that it may slip into the water. She was totally stiff and couldn’t mentally enjoy the calm sea till she saw that sight.

Not only her, everyone was stunned on seeing the sight in front of them.

They were stunned not because of fear but because of joy and wonder.

Everyone was just spellbound at the sight of colorful coral algae swaying along the waves. They doused themselves in its beauty. Even Jasmine kept her worries aside and cherished the moment.

Everyone neared the coral to have a clear view of it. It was spongy and looked amazing. They could see all the colors in the world in one place. Everyone had their best poses clicked to save a memory. It was no doubt as it was like visiting a heaven being alive. Only by that time everyone realized the calmness they were surrounded by. The movements of the water, deep down at the sea was utterly slow. No horn sounds, no rush, no signals to wait, no traffic jams and definitely no stress. There was only one thing in the underwater world.

The freedom. The peace. The calmness.

Jasmine was engulfed by the clear-cut view of the blue water. She felt extremely peaceful and felt like floating in air. Clearly they were deep under water, yet she felt like flying in air. She wanted the time to stop as it was. That’s the power of the water world.

When everyone was addicted towards the world of corals, Anne showed them the other surprise. Everyone stopped breathing again in sheer awe. All of them hung in the water motionless.

Wow. Hundreds and hundreds of colorful fishes suddenly appeared from nowhere and surrounded them. It was in front of them, back and also the sides. But they didn’t attack the divers other than giving them an evil eye.

It swam in groups. It took around 20 minutes to fully disappear from the sight. As a spark they appeared and within a spark they are gone. The crew was fortunate enough that they gained a most thrilling experience ever because everyone won’t get to see this.

Now every other diver was more comfortable and was exploring the sea world themselves. Anne was just there to help them if need be. The cool sand beneath their feet was so cool that they could feel still with the fins on. The rocks were shining and it was altogether a different world. Jasmine rested on the rock for a bit and didn’t miss to have a snap. The magnificent sight of the turtles, jelly fishes and the reefs was more convincing. Anne guided Jasmine to feed food to the jelly fish and Jasmine did it as said. She even skimmed the jelly fish and enjoyed its soft skin against her.

Well, she wouldn’t have done it, if she had known that it was Whalros and not the jelly fish instead.

And the time came. Anne signaled everyone to move back to the boat. It was Jasmine who was very much worried to leave the water world now. She suddenly wanted to become a sea creature and spend her life there in the peaceful world.

But nothing happens as we wish, right?

The time was up and Anne directed everyone to move up. Anne took one by one to the top surface. Jasmine was the last one to leave. She looked behind her, for the one last time before being taken up by Anne.

Now Whalros had started executing his plan and let out a rope like thing to tie around Jasmine’s foot to pull her down. But the time favored Jasmine. She luckily got on the boat and it was Anne’s foot that got trapped in Whalros’ rope.

When Anne felt something clutching her feet, she was not afraid at first, because she was more used to the sea. She gestured the boat man to wait and she went down to check what the issue was.

She saw something that was clutched to her feet and she freed them. But she was not sure what I was. It looked like roots of plants, more like a rope. She wondered on visualizing it because in her long years of sea experience, this was the first time something odd was happening to her. But she convinced herself thinking that, there was a lot more in the sea world that she didn’t know.

She swam up again. Again something clutched her foot even before she could reach the surface. It was bit tighter now than it was at first. She now had a feeling that something was wrong. She again dived in to release the clutched thing, but she couldn’t. She got hold of the rope and followed its flow. It took her through the same corals reefs they had just seen and right in front of the coral, the rope like thing disappeared all of a sudden. She was totally perplexed at the things happening around her. She quickly wanted to leave the place sensing something fishy. She turned swiftly towards her back only to gasp in shock. Her heart stopped beating. She was alarmed at the glimpse just in front of her.

There was a pod of whales from all sides staring right at her. It was nearing her with its mouth wide open. For the first time, she queered inside the sea. She stood there motionless with widened eyes and the mouth beginning to part. Her eyes watered and settled in her goggles that blurred her vision making her more and more nervous. Hadn’t been the artificial oxygen from the cylinder she had carried, she could have died at the sight of it. She breathed heavily. She felt the snorkel getting out her mouth making her pant for breath. Soon she realized the situation she was in and she tightened her grip on the snorkel.

Whales were nearing her with great hunger. Can you imagine sweating inside water? Well no, until you experience something like this. Anne was shivering; her nerves erecting at all places. She still had some hope that she could escape. She looked down at her foot. With a little hope she raised her hands to the top and with one push she was lucky enough to reach the top but was very unlucky to get inside the boat.

When she flew up into the sea, one of the whales chased her and had clenched her foot with its sharp and poisonous teeth and made her wail in pain. The pain was enormous that Anne had let out a screeching sound. The next moment the snorkel was out of her mouth. She suddenly held her breath and by the time she got her snorkel back, it was highly damaged by the whales. Her last hope was gone. She could see the hell in front of her. She was just little below the surface. She knew that she couldn’t escape now. Yet she wanted to warn the others not to step inside the sea.

So taking a deep breath for the one last time; gathering all her energy, she again pushed herself up with the whale still pulling her down. She managed to make her head out.

“DANGER. WHALES. LEAVE NOW” And that’s it. She was again pulled in.

Everyone back in the boat was scared and taken aback. The boat man volunteered to check with Anne. But others stopped him citing Anne’s warning. They couldn’t believe the whales in the snorkeling site. Anyways they could do nothing than to return to the land in a hurry as they had no weapons to fight against the whales.

Anne couldn’t hold her breath for long. Her already blurred vision was now fully blocked and she could see nothing. She finally gave up the fight and let her destiny play its role. She had understood that her death was going to be more terrific. She took her goggles and cylinder off; breathed out and let the salt water fill her stomach. She was moving deeper and deeper back into the whales’ net, losing her consciousness. The last thing she saw before completely closing her eyes was a man with his face half covered. Simply, she saw the hell in the heaven’s place.

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