So Fernandez had resolved to become a Professional pearl diver.
He went back to his sleeping shack , spread out the Palmyra mat and with his bent right hand for a pillow & lay down. His head started feeling different, it was no more about getting up early, attending Diaz’ classes, going off to play with the waves, eating out in the shacks, stealing fish while assisting the other fishermen draw their draught from the sea and such mundane trivialities. It was set in motion on a direction that Fernandez had hitherto not imagined. He wanted to learn the art of fetching as many oysters as possible to the shore and prise each open with the expectation that that oyster contained the GREAT PEARL.
He wanted to meet Diaz and ask him if he could still continue with the diving classes, even though he had decided to go free-lancing. Fernandez met Diaz and asked him his doubt, Diaz advised that even if the Merchants were not likely to object if he left at a later stage, there was no guarantee that they might not bad mouth him later, if he became successful, stating that Fernandez owed his skills to the school of the Merchants. Diaz gave an alternative, I’ll teach you all the skills that i had learnt from the ocean and you in return, when u get the GREAT PEARL give me my fee for the private tuition that i give you.
Fernandez was agreeable to the proposal. In fact, he was excited that his mentor reposed so much faith on him getting the GREAT PEARL. His timings were shifted from the early mornings to about 3 in the afternoon.
The master and the pupil went towards the sea and as they were walking, Diaz told Fernandez IN PEARL HUNTING, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW IS WHEN TO START THE JOURNEY BACK TO THE SURFACE.
THERE IS A LIMIT TO EVERYTHING, THAT LIMIT COULD BE PUSHED THROUGH ACTION, INCREMENTALLY- BUT NEVER AS A LEAP.
FURTHER, THE LIMIT OF ONE’S LIMITATION IS TO BE CALIBRATED MENTALLY AND AT LEAST TEN SECONDS BEFORE ONE REACHES ONE’S LIMIT ONE HAS TO START THE ASCENT. IT IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TIMING TO JUDGE ONE’S LIMITS AND START FOR THE SURFACE THAT DISTINGUISHES A MAESTRO FROM A MERE ARTISAN.
Fernandez was all ears, but the profundity of the statements of a veteran is seldom understood in the context to which it relates. Fernandez was still subconsciously dreaming of the oyster containing the GREAT PEARL on the very first batch of pickings. Diaz had gone thru all this himself and was trying to transmit his conceptual understanding into bits of sensual activity. He was acutely aware that without ACTIVITY there was no TIME and without AWARENESS there was no CREATIVITY.
To shock Fernandez into total concentration Diaz said THERE ARE MANY WHO HAD TAKEN IN A LUNGFUL OF SALINE WATER AND HAD ALMOST BREATHED THEIR LAST.
DEATH COMES CALLING SOONER ON A MAN WHO IS AMBITIOUS BUT INCAPABLE, THAN TO A MAN WHO MAKES AN ATTEMPT ON HIS OWN LIFE.
AS ANY WORTHWHILE AMBITION IS NOTHING BUT THE UNRAVELING OF A TREASURE THAT THE COSMIC FORCES YIELD ONLY AFTER A THRESHOLD OF ACTIVITY. THIS THRESHOLD OF ACTIVITY HAS TO BE ATTAINED THROUGH RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THAT ACTIVITY EMBARKED UPON.
Fernandez understood the first lesson of LIFE- to be ALIVE. Not merely to be alive, but to indulge in an ACTIVITY with total AWARENESS. Awareness of one’s LIMITATIONS, yet to DO that which one’s deeper self is impelling one to do.
Off they swam to an area well known to Diaz as a place deep enough but with a rock abutting the deep- that one could feel one’s way up as well as down. Fernandez was asked to get as deep as possible and get back without attempting to stay at any place. That is keep getting yourself down and when u know that u have just enough breath to get back, start moving up. Diaz’ orders were heard and Fernandez, to impress Diaz pushed himself down as quicly and furiously as possible to get as deep as possible. After about 90 seconds Fernandez resurfaced and as he emerged he let out his breath and started panting. He drew to the side of the rock and clung on to it while still drawing breaths with his mouth opening in fervid rapidity. Diaz watched it with stoic silence, but made it known to Fernandez that he was watching him. After the stabilizing of Fer’s breath, Diaz asked if being under water for a mere 1 1/2 minute would be sufficient to get hold of at least a dozen oysters? Fer was ashamed. He said he would try to stay longer.
Diaz called him up on the rock and said: DO NOT HAVE YOUR OBJECTIVE TO BE TO STAY LONG UNDERWATER. YOUR OBJECTIVE IS TO GET AS MANY OYSTERS AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WITH EACH EXTRA PICKING OF AN OYSTER FROM THE REEF, YOUR CHANCES OF FINDING THE GREAT PEARL INCREASES BY ONE.
IF U SHOW YOUR INTENTION TO THE SEA, IT WILL TIRE YOU OUT WITH ITS DIFFICULTIES, LEARN TO ENJOY THE OCEAN AND BECOME A PART OF IT SO THAT THE WATER DOES NOT SEE YOU AS A FOREIGN BODY AND RESIST.
THE SEA SHOULD SEE U AS ANOTHER CREATURE WHOSE MEDIUM IS THE SEA. ENJOY YOUR SWIM, STAY UNDERWATER FOR THE JOY OF EXPLORING THE OCEAN FLOOR, CREATE AWARENESS WITHOUT THE INTENTION TO EXPLOIT THE SEA AND THE SEA WOULD BECOME YOUR FRIEND AND WILL RESIST U LESS.
(TO BE CONTINUED…..)