She saw the sea bulge out into a pink submarine. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Half because this was the first time she’d seen the sea in such hot pinkness and half because this was the first time she’d seen the sea, period. She had something else to do today. Something touristy, I suppose. This was her first time in Australia after all. This part of the world was more than just the blue ocean with its salty breath and pleasant gurgle of laughter. The people she had came on this trip with had prepared a complicated schedule for the next two weeks to explore everything under every rock here. This meant that this day was jam packed to the last minute, quite literally. She would be free to sleep only at midnight. And yet she couldn’t take her eyes off the ocean, forgetting the precious minutes ticking by. Her ears felt like she had gone down into the deepest of wells and someone were up above calling out her name from a different world.

It was her colleagues calling to her. Their hands were stuck to their head trying to discipline the large sun blocking hats they’d bought for $3 each at the airport. She couldn’t see it. But she didn’t have to look at them to see this. A violent wind sweeps in and almost knocks her off her feet. She balances herself but one of her colleagues’ hats breaks free. These grown up women cry out loud as if it’s not just a cheap hat but an armor that was supposed to protect them.
She doesn’t look at them, but at the hat against the pink submarine in its background. It seems to be laughing. It seems to be enjoying the path that the wind is etching. She didn’t know what this meant, but she walked towards the end of the pier. It is so close to the ocean that the water actually comes out in sprays, pleading people to come play with them. Everyone she knows is too busy screaming; they were fending themselves against nothing she could see.

And yet they don’t even notice the pink submarine. They don’t even notice the water. They don’t even notice her jump.

Typical tourists!

The water is warm unlike the spray’s promises. She doesn’t mind it. It is just right, so much so that that she doesn’t even need oxygen that much. The color of the ocean is mostly bluish green except for where the pink submarine stands proud. The aura around that water is purple and pink and everything’s merry. She is drawn towards its giant hull like a fish drawn towards a hook. She doesn’t even remember swimming towards it, it just happens. She just finds herself closer to the pink thing than anything alive in the ocean has dared to go till now. It isn’t a normal submarine she finds upon a closer inspection. It’s part of the ocean. A giant metal submarine like figure that is as much hooked to the ocean as a sea weed is. Very much like the plants growing under the sea, this submarine hoax has roots growing deep under the sea. She can see the pink submarine pulsating, breathing – alive.

This discovery demands a connection from her. After all, she is supposed to be a living breathing human with an irrefutable need to breathe and yet there she was floating underwater beating life and breath at its core.

And there the pink submarine was a manmade innovation that was supposed to preserve human life inside it to study life underwater but somehow had found a way to breathe itself. This convergence had to mean something.

She finds herself in an inch’s distance away from all the pinkness. The pulsating movement of the vessel was trying to push her away little by little. Her hand as if it had a mind of its own is now touching a part of what was supposed to be called a hull. And when her palm makes the first contact, it is as if that little seemingly insignificant touch woke the submarine up.

A door, then two, then three, then probably a hundred and more open up into a vibrant bright light. She can see the very soul of the pink submarine. It is yellow and it is brilliant.

Illustration by Nipun Bajracharya