No better tonic than water

No better tonic than water

Water is one of the five basic elements in the universe.

Anshula Rao

Some remnant monsoon clouds are still lingering. Can’t say when it may shower again. Puddles on the roadsides remind us of the recent rainfall. In spite of the presence of water around, I still feel a strong pull to go to a lake or a dam nearby. How is it that so many are drawn near to a water body, watching its calm silvery surface or enjoying its restless dynamic drift. Being near water certainly distracts our minds from the daily dreary tasks. The mind gets more subdued, calm and refreshed.

When there are ripples on the surface of a placid lake or big waves near the ocean shore, our mind consciously or unconsciously becomes aware of some divine force behind it. Indeed, all residential or commercial places having an ocean or river view are costlier than the inland ones.

Water is one of the five basic elements in the universe. The earth is the grossest and the subtler water element constitutes more than 50 per cent of our bodies. Maybe it is this body chemistry that draws us towards it.

The serenity of water has been embedded in my mind since childhood. I recall that in the mid-1960s, when I was hardly five years old, no swimming pool had come up near our residential area in Patiala. But there was a streamlet of the Sirhind canal near the Nabha road. Near its outlet, it flowed through a concrete bridge while crossing another pathway. The concrete base made the water crystal clear. During summer, every Sunday, my father would pack up a few watermelons and take us to the bridge. He would throw watermelons in the water, and initially not to my expectation, throw me also into the stream, in spite of my crying protests.

My struggle to gasp and come out made me move my arms and legs frantically under his watchful guard. It was after almost drowning two or three times that my fear of water ebbed and I started enjoying its flow. Feeling cool and fresh on a sultry day and munching watermelon near a water body under the blue sky surrounded by greenery made me fall in love with its tranquility. That fun in the gushing water was manifold compared to the swimming pools of today.

In the book Blue Mind by marine biologist Wallace J Nichols, he talks about the long-term physical and psychological benefits of water. He believes that oceans, lakes, rivers, pools, and even fountains, influence our thoughts. Earlier, during the Victorian era, doctors prescribed ‘sea air’ as a cure for all sorts of issues, from respiratory troubles to mental health conditions. That is why people who live near the coasts are said to be healthier and happier.

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