Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Is It About Water?

Some weeks ago I was sitting in a trendy waterside bar in Singapore. It was early evening and me and C were enjoying an alcoholic beverage as we took in the view.

To tell you the truth it wasn't even much of a view. There was a lake of sorts, with construction work all around, a not too distant rumble of traffic and there were high rise tower blocks surrounding us. Yet it was tranquil and relaxing.

Some weeks before that I was lucky enough to have been enjoying a similar set of circunstances but in Sri Lanka. Same girl, same sun, different water and different landscape. But, the same sense of tranquility and relaxingity (I'm in an inventing word mood) prevailed.

And now the new apartment is on the Thames, and I mean right on it. Outside my windows are boats, murky water and Geese. Let's face it, as rivers go the Thames is a bit of a legend.

There are probably smaller rivers who look up to old man Thames with admiration and a bit or "river envy". They chat to each other in bitchy tones about the fact that the Thames is a bit old and cumbersome, a bit slower than he used to be, but all the time they're jealous and admiring. They envy the history of the old legend, the stories and battles that have been won, lost and told. They want a bit of Thames action.

I've been born and brought up here in London, the Thames has always featured largely in my life, as is the case for most Londoners. And I look out of my window and see a dark green murky soup of a river. It looks pretty crappy really. I don't look at it and have that desire to jump in or splash about in it, the one that I get when I'm sitting on a beach in Lanka.

Yet, it's tranquil and relaxing.

My question to you is this, oh Lankanosphere of untold wisdom, infinite humour and the intelligence of all the Captains of the USS Enterprise added together;

What is is about water?

I've been asking people this recently and no one's come up with a reply I'm happy with.

I've been told that we're attracted to it because 70% of our bodies are water. I can see why this might be the case but don't really get it. A hell of a lot of our bodies are bones but we don't spend hours on end gazing with a drink looking at piles of bones.

One fellow said to me that we're also fascinated by fire and can be drawn to that in the same way. I pondered on it and then said no, we don't build houses and buy property next to big fires so we can look at them.

The closest I've come to a theory is that it's the way the light's reflected off water. There's that shimmering and calming quality to light when it bounces off the H20 stuff. It bounces around in our vision with gentle undulations and kind of rocks us into a peaceful dreaminess. I've been amazed at my own ability to stare and the river Thames and get lost in thought, nice thought.

I ask you again, in case you didn't read it earlier.

What is it about water?

The best answer wins an evening out with Dinidu.

The worst gets two nights out with him.


Bimal said...

Water makes you want to pee doesn't it? Maybe your new pad's got a great loo. So, subconsciously you want to stare at the water in order to earn a visit to the loo?... hmmmm?

As for fire, I guess you've got to have some kind of “moth” gene to be attracted to it. Generally we tend to run "away" from a fire don't we?

David Blacker said...

It's the light and constant movement. Both fire and water have this in common.

thekillromeoproject said...

Could it be that we spend the first nine months of our existence cocooned in water, before we're thrust out onto dry land so to speak?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Bimal - Yes, we run away from fire but I think most of us are fascinated by it and want to stare at it. Loos are good thanks!

David - I think this may be the answer, combined with the next comment maybe?

TKRP - Yes, but it's not as if most of us men grow up with a fascination for breasts and women's parts, and stare at them all over the place now, is it?!!

Dinidu said...

You're a WICKED old man!!! :P

Dinidu said...

But in answering your question, water has a power to make us calm.

And I hear Sabby is working hard on getting a bad answer, to get two nights out with me. The horror!

Rine said...

I can't agree more with your views!! I spent this long weekend at the beach and its amazing, its so beautiful and calming.. and more than that I think its just unpredictable yet predictable. For me, its more the ocean than rivers but when I was living in London, even the Thames could transport me back home. I think its also that sound. Water hitting the shore.

We're lucky us Sri Lankans :)

Anonymous said...

I think people see themselves, their thought process and their mind more specifically, reflected in the way that a body of water behaves... But I think it's one of the things that most attracts man, in addition to greenery... maybe it's an old survival instinct? Stick close to water and you'll never die of dehydration? :)

and btw, I second what Dinidu said... "it's not as if most of us men grow up with a fascination for breasts and women's parts, and stare at them all over the place now, is it?!!" is like ;) ;) ;) hahaha

T said...

the light yes, but also the sounds.

n said...

I thought I read somewhere that our evolutionary ancestors were semi aquatic, the aquatic ape or something. I wish I could remember the article.

Kalusudda said...

Men, the answer is plain & simple. When we see water, we pee, when we pee we say "aaargh" just like after a cola! Then we add rum to the cola and drink! rinse and repeat! So we feel calm and collected, like Joshua Slocum and disappear the same way!
(I on the water too much these days, last two days were very windy and I was made to stay home!)

Sachintha said...

I was thinking; what if Dinidu wins, especially the 'worst-answer' award?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - Hmmm...perhaps I hadn't thought this through fully. You're right, things could get tricky.

Dinidu said...

(I'm going to regret this)

But who won and who lost? :D

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Dinidu - The jury's deliberating at the moment. I'll let you know ASAP