Becoming Fearless

Neha Singh

Is becoming fearless even a thing? Can we ever truly become fearless? Some say that we can become fearless after we face our fears. I have water phobia to some extent. When I signed up for “Strategies of Life and Career”, I knew water sports were going to be a part of the parcel but I hadn’t imagined that I would be sleeping in a tent with a ferocious river flowing just a few feet away from me.

The place was heaven on earth. The mountains surrounded the valley, and the river flowed with determination to engross everything into her bosom that dared to come in her way. I was awestruck by the beauty and coexistence of the two mightiest of powers. We lived on a small plane that nature decided to cast away for a day when one of them decided to shed some temper. And I wondered who decides the ownership of this unchartered land. It’s sometimes owned by the river and sometimes by the mountains. How did we humans come in the picture? We were there to experience the unimportant existence of ourselves that we overestimate multiple times. We were there to witness the might of nature but were we prepared to save ourselves if nature erred our presence? Luckily, nature welcomed us compassionately.

I stood by the river watching the currents flow heavily, fearful that the river might turns on me if I dared to touch it with my feet. I took hold of my thoughts, trusted my heart, put away the weight of my worries, and touched the river. The river touched me back and passed, leaving me with a message of acceptance. I felt as if the river had just joyfully laughed at my thoughts and shirked them as irrelevant.

I stayed on the Ramganga camp for three days and nights and the river kept singing the song of her presence incessantly, not for a moment did she stop. I had faced the river once but was I ready to befriend her after one meet? No. I very carefully only entered her territory where I felt I was not challenging her.

The first night, I could not sleep with the thoughts of some mishappening, but as I faced the river the next day, I did not fear her as much. To my surprise, it was a matter of hours that I grew accustomed to the song she was singing in my ears of her presence, and her might. I was just beginning to exist with the river, holding her as an acquaintance till it was time for some water sports. We were expected to water surf which is to throw ourselves in to the river like a Dolphin dives back after sensing the air outside. Some of my batch mates knew how to swim and were excited for the body surfing activity. Their faces beamed with confidence and I stood there battling my fears. I had started being okay with the river existing beside me, but to throw myself into the river where the river decides if I deserve to reach the shore or disappear into her, this is not what I was ready for. I could trust myself, but could I trust a fierce river, a mere acquaintance?

My fear only grew till I calmed myself down and saw the river as a pool of my fears that played with me because I let it play. I just looked around, and laughed at seeing myself standing there fearful of nature that I had been appreciating immensely. I knew I was nothing in front of nature, my life was only important till it had the ties of emotions with the people around me. I had come to “SLC Himalayas” to grow out of my mental limitations which is what was now grappling me tight into its grip.

I gave myself into the process and stopped personifying the river as a demon who wanted to eat me up. I followed the swimming and protection lessons from the team, and prepared myself to let the river take my hand to guide me in its flow. I dived in the river as I had been instructed, the river took me in and brought me out to lay on its bed. It took me on a smooth ride with kind ripples, I almost felt fearless that the river decided to prove me wrong. It threw violent waves at me and took me in a whirlpool, I felt gripped in infinite fear again. As I was drowning in the river, I felt completely fearless. I stopped trying to battle the river, for the first time near the river, I felt completely at peace. I closed my eyes, spread myself flat as a star. The river taught me what it had wanted to, so it let me flow up to the surface. I flowed ahead peacefully and reached the destination.

Perhaps being completely fearless is not a perfect idea to nurture. Maybe we can be fearful at a moment and become completely fearless at another. Maybe it all depends on which mindset we choose to be in.

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