Skills, Endurance & Performance

While starting to learn swimming, I could not even cross the short side of the pool. Once I learned the skills it became easier. Crossing the pool along the length was a distant dream.

As soon as the coach found me cross the short-side with ease, he increased the intensity. I had to return without taking a rest. The next step was to build endurance. I would say I am in this phase now. Swimming along the long side and back with a short rest.

The next phase would be performance. Hopefully, I would be improving my speed along with...

The How and The Why

Relax! the swimming coach shouted. I did not know how. I struggled to breathe, kick, pull and coordinate everything together. It was more difficult when I had to pull. I did not know why!

Then, one day the coach asked me to kick along the long side of the pull, raising my head occasionally to breathe. And I could do it with ease. At the end of the pool I was asking myself, how I crossed the pool with ease. It became clear to me that I don’t need to pull so hard to move in the water. Legs too...


One day, I asked my friend to take a video of my swimming. Later we analyzed it over a coffee. We found that my right hand was quick to return and not “flying” over the water. So, next day, I fixed it. Consciously, I made my right hand do what my left hand did, except it was wrong. When the swimming coach arrived, he was wondering how I lost the technique so fast.

I was acting based on my misconceptions. It was a self-diagnosis. I was uninformed. It was damaging. Oftentimes, our actions are based on our misconceptions. Well-intentioned, potentially...

In A Familiar Place

It was time to deal with the deep end of the pool as part of my swimming lessons. There was a fear inside, a sinking feeling!

My coach took me to the ladder at the deep end, and asked me to hold my breath and stand on the floor. I had to then bounce back to the surface and tread the water. It took a short while, before I could do it comfortably. Little by little, I was conquering my fears.

After it became easy, I started looking around, under water. I started building a sense of familiarity with the...

Give Time to Time

It took me a couple of weeks and four classes to follow the instructions on swimming techniques. I had to keep these techniques intact while learning something new after that. It was tough. I hadn’t converted the skills into muscle-memory. It was hard to manage two things at a time.

And we went back to the basics. This time the progress was slow. One by one, I acquired the skills into natural movements.

In French there is an expression, “Il faut donner du temps au temps”. It means “give time to time”. Certain things need time to perfect, to mature,...

Relaxed At Work

Further into my swimming lessons, there was another important lesson to learn. It is to relax in the midst of all the pulling, kicking, and treading water.

While we learn swimming, it is natural to panic in the water and stay tensed. This leads us into an endless cycle of sinking and panicking. I told my coach to remind me to relax every now and then. Once I achieve the relaxed state of mind and body, it becomes easy to swim. I get to pay attention to the technique and correct the mistakes made.

It is not easy. As I...

Technique vs. Goal

Recently I started taking swimming lessons. It was about learning something new, and achieving something extraordinary.

The first week in the pool, the struggle was to float in the water. Later it was all about swimming across the pool on the shallow end. The goal was to reach the other end of the pool. I did not know how to breathe while swimming and so it was a great task. I failed often. Because, I was so focussed on the goal, that I almost forgot the means to achieve it.

“Technique is important”. The coach shouts. I have stopped midway...

Pen and Paper

I am one person who embraces digital world wholeheartedly. Three years back I made a decision to stop buying paper books and to move to Kindle. I hardly remember any occasion of buying a paper book after that. Since digital music distribution improved in India, I have stopped buying music CDs. All my paper documents are digitised and stored electronically even in cloud (knowing how secure the digital security can be, I passively trust digital storage and internet).

But now I have discovered, or rediscovered, a passion of pen and paper. The beauty of pen and paper is that it...

Beat The System

As any social organisation evolves the tendency is to build systems that will further aid development and progress. The social organisation may be anything ranging from a country, a religion, a city, a company, a small project or even the internet. The systems, traditional processes, machines and automation works on repeatable activities making them more reliable, acceptable and predictable. In some cases the systems are enforced using policies, rules and restrictions and in other cases it is just recommended using values, guidelines or rituals.

On the other hand, building systems also creates a counter-tendency to “beat the system”. This is...

Wabi Sabi

The Japanese world view of wabi-sabi is quite powerful. It allows us to accept imperfections, even better, to be open about imperfections. Whether it be sin, mortality or suffering imperfection is part of this world. Hardly anything man-made is perfect. Interestingly enough, I was browsing through the internet for some good chef’s knives for my wife. I found Japanese knives to be highly rated, but not as attractive as the German ones. May be my naivety, but what struck me immediately is the form and aesthetics that follows function.

I look at my creations, the stuff that I build at my...