KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
As far back as I can remember, I have loved to be in water. I was always the first one out of the car and into the lake whenever we got a chance to get out of Edmonton and to a beach. I used to love going to the public swimming pools winter and summer, the only thing I hated was having to put on a wet bathing suit whenever there was a chance to have a second swim on the same day.
Anil didn’t have much the opportunity to learn to swim when he was growing up in India. After one of the children in his school drown while swimming in the Ganges River, the school built a swimming pool. Anil’s brothers were more keen that he was, but he did give it a try a few times.
I dragged Anil to the YWCA pool when I started taking our daughter Adia for baby swim classes when she was 3 months old. She was a little timid for a long time, and later had a great fear of jumping off the diving board. She eventually came to love the water, and to this day, she loves to spend time on beaches and to hang out in a hot tub at every opportunity.
Our son Raj took to swimming pools like a duck to water. He never showed any fear, and learned to dive off the side of the pool during the summer just after he turned two years old. I spent hours with him in the water, getting him to dive to the bottom to pick up objects and throwing him over my shoulder to make huge splashes.
He was swimming the widths of the pool by the time he was 4 years old, and he even convinced the lifeguard at the pool that he could handle himself in the deep end, so he had a smiley face drawn on his shoulder that granted him access to the diving board.
So you can imagine my delight when Raj started his daughter Olivia off at a young age, teaching her to swim during the many weeks the family spent in Hawaii during the winter months. ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ so to speak, and Olivia was a quick learner under her father’s careful guidance.
The big change was that now it was possible to capture her progress on videos, both above and below the water’s surface. Both Anil and I marveled at Olivia’s skill in the water, and we played the videos over and over and over again. Raj often recorded her spins and dives in slow motion and added music to make them even more entertaining.
We made it into the pool with the grandkids every morning, and sometimes again in the afternoon. I brought along a couple of bathing suits in order to avoid having to put on the dreaded wet suit for a second swim!
I spent most of my time in the pool with Olivia, ducking under water whenever she dove to the bottom and throwing her over my shoulder like I once did with here Dad. What great memories we generated together. I know I’ll cherish them for a very long time, I’m not sure if Olivia will remember when she’s older, but that’s not important. It was just terrific to share a common passion with her, so early in her young life.
Moosie was still wearing water wings when we first arrived and stayed pretty close to the steps that lead down into the water. Raj tended to hang out in the hot tub that shares a common wall with the pool, within easy reach of his son who was usually busy playing with his cars on the various steps. Moosie loved to throw the cars just beyond the bottom step and then dive down to retrieve them. Oh, what memories that brought back – like father, like son!
Anil remains somewhat uncomfortable in the water. We hoped to do some snorkeling on the Big Island so he practiced using the facemask and the snorkel in the pool until he was more confident. Raj happened to remember he had a lightweight, inflatable life vest and gave it to Anil to use for snorkeling in the sea. Anil was delighted to not have to rely on his rudimentary swimming skills.
Shortly before we were due to leave for the Big Island, Moosie suddenly mastered swimming without the water wings and was amazingly comfortable venturing further and further away from the steps. Of course we all kept a careful watch over him, but before long he was jumping in from the side of the pool and dogpaddling his way to the steps, taking several breaths along the way. We could see a huge grin on his face every time he surfaced.