The day was filled with hope, possibilities and unfound adventure. The sun shone down warmly from the sky and the month of July seemed to have begun with unlimited zeal and energy.
My family, along with a few other families, were going to the beach for a picnic. Initially, more people were to accompany us on this picnic but many people dropped out, some due to the spread of coronavirus, but majority of them were not coming due to the fear of going to the beach in the monsoon, when the sea conditions are rough.
My parents, however, were a different story. They were not worried about us getting coronavirus since we had just recovered from it a month ago. Then, they did not believe that tides rise high in monsoon and the sea was extra dangerous. That was exactly why on that positive day, I found myself in a car filled with blaring music as we made our way to the beach.
The beach was a sight to behold. There was hardly anyone on the beach and it was like our very own private beach. There was a calm breeze, the golden sand was litter free and I could already imagine the tickly feel of it in my feet. To top it all off was the sea, sparkling in the sun, clear and blue. The waves lapped against the shore, making vibrant music with their waves.
What I failed to notice was how close the waves were to the hut and there was only a thin strip of sand showing. Instead, I wondered why no one would want to come to the beach in this beautiful cloudy weather. The sea looked perfect, even better than it did the rest of the year. What I did not know was that the sea can be cruel. It is especially unforgiving in the monsoon.
My friend and I ran towards the sea. Without giving a second glance towards the sand, we went in, feeling the cool water splash around our legs. There were some lifeguards around us and one even warned us about the dangers of the waves. He told us to stay away from the water and play in the sand instead. Unfortunately, we all paid no heed to his warnings and continued doing as we liked. The tide crept in closer, minute by minute and the waves grew stronger.
I was sitting in the sand, the waves lapping around me when a scream alerted me to my senses. I anxiously got up and, to my horror, saw my friend crying uncontrollably. I asked her what happened and she pointed towards the sea.
There, I saw my friend’s older sister bobbing up and down in the water, her arms flailing. There were a few lifeguards diving into the water, attempting to save her. I, however, was not worried. After all, the girl was a great swimmer and she had won many medals in swimming competitions. What I did not know, however, was that she was no match for the rough sea. Swimming in the sea is not easy normally, so few can handle its strong currents when it is at its strongest.
At this point, there was total chaos. No one could think clearly and my friend and the ladies in our group were sobbing hysterically. Suddenly, the lifeguards were back. The girl’s body was in their hands. She was badly injured. No one knew what news the guards were bringing with them yet, but by the look on their faces it didn’t seem to be good. As we later found out, the strong pull of the waves pushed the girl into the rocks anchored in the sea. This led to injuries that even caused her to bleed.
Immediately the lifeguards started to apply some first aid to her and then her father sped away with her to the hospital. We later learnt that if she had stayed in the water for even a few more minutes, she would not have survived. She stayed in the hospital for a few days for treatment and eventually recovered from her injuries. But the incident shook us all so badly that we will now never recover from the fear of the sea during the monsoon.
My dear friends, my family and I learnt a lesson the hard way. Hearing stories like these every monsoon was not enough for us, but I hope hearing my story will be enough to stop you going to the beach in the monsoon. After all, you do not want someone you know to be the victim that is pulled deep into the sea by strong currents. So, stay safe and do not go to the beach for the time being.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 6th, 2022