Svagito on the events that lead to Meera’s leaving her body (Part 1 of 3): “Nothing warned me of any danger. Everything happened suddenly and unexpectedly.”
Meera and I, like so often before, were on an adventure holiday. This time we wanted to go diving, but not in the Maldives, which we had visited several times because they are close to India, and close to Pune where every winter we used to spend a few months at the Osho Resort. This time we wanted to go to a new place, South Africa. People had told us that there was good diving and the idea was to combine diving with a safari tour of a national wildlife park, something we had never done before.
It took me quite some time to plan everything; a tour with a rented car, first to the Kruger National Park, then to the coast for a few days of diving, ending again at a national park before flying back to Europe and then Japan to start our work tour that would take us through many countries that we visited every year.
I carefully chose good lodges; I wanted my beloved to be comfortable and get the very best. She told me how much she loved my adventurous spirit and we both were excited about the holiday.
We left Pune via Dubai, where I held a short course at a yoga centre where we were also interviewed by a local TV channel on the topic of ‘passion’. Each of us spoke for just about 5 minutes. Meera was really passionate in her talk; she loved to be interviewed – only later I noticed that she mentioned death three times and how to die with laughter and excitement.
In South Africa we had a wonderful time; driving through the National Park, seeing wildlife and staying at different lodges. We both are passionate about being in nature and discovering new places. After one week we reached the northeastern coast and for three nights we stayed at an exceptionally beautiful and remote beach resort – one night we even saw baby turtles come out of their eggs under the bright moonlight. On our first day the waves were so high that we could not dive, but we did on the second day. The dive guide took us through the waves in an inflatable boat, which in itself is already an adventure.
We then drove to Sodwana Bay, an equally remote location, but well-known amongst divers for its great dive sites. The resort was not as beautiful as the first but it was the only one in that area. It had a very large dive base due to its reputation for great diving.
On the first day we did two dives in the morning – we even saw a whale shark. And in the afternoon, we had a rest in our small, simple bungalow. Meera treated me with so much love and care and gave me a long massage. It was an afternoon of deep melting into intimacy; we were very sweet and gentle with each other.
That evening in the restaurant Meera asked the waitress if she knew how to dance African style and if she would dance with her if she provided the music. Meera loved dancing and hadn’t yet had a chance on this trip to witness any African dancing. The waitress objected by saying that she was a waitress and could not just dance in the restaurant. Meera never gave up easily when she had a good idea; she called the manager and just asked her. The manager agreed and together they planned a dance event for the following night. It was not meant to happen…
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
We woke up after having slept well and deep. The morning was a bit chilly, it was even raining softly. I was not enthusiastic about diving in these conditions even though we had already pre-paid everything. I asked Meera if she felt like going out for a dive and she exclaimed – in her usual short and quick way – “Let’s go!”
We drove to the beach and met the divers and the dive team. The weather was still bad and cold, and it was quite unpleasant to put on the wet diving suit that had not yet dried from the previous day. But surely the water would be warm. I prepared our equipment while Meera went to the bathroom. I left both our cylinders open, as it would be only a short boat ride before we were to wear the whole equipment.
Still on the beach, the dive guide explained where the dive site would be, making drawings in the sand to show the reef, while others from the dive crew already started loading the equipment onto the boat. We all pushed the Zodiac into the water and jumped in. It was packed with about 10 divers plus the dive guide and boatman, quite a lot for such a small boat.
The art of the skipper was to manage to get the Zodiac through the high waves without being hit too hard by them. It was a rough ride and we had to firmly hold on to the rope on the sides of the boat while it was being tossed about by the incoming waves. I kept checking if Meera, who was sitting beside me, was all right and I showed her how to get a good grip on the handle on the side of the boat. She seemed quite okay and was far from being afraid.
It took about 5-10 minutes to reach the dive site. It is quite a mystery to me how anyone can find a dive site in open sea; there are no signs above water as the reef is sometimes 10 or more metres below the surface, but the guides and the skipper know what to look for and have to trust their experience.
From a Zodiac, being an inflatable boat and therefore flexible and unstable, one has to make a backward roll into the water. You cannot stand up like you would in a bigger boat and jump with your legs first. Moreover, as the boat can easily drift everyone has to go into the water at the same time in order to avoid that someone is hit by someone else jumping in later. Hence, the atmosphere on the boat was not as relaxed as it would have been on a larger boat. We felt a bit hurried by the skipper as everyone had to be ready at the same time, and all that just after a pretty rough boat ride. Not much time to gather your thoughts about anything!
Guide and skipper moved around and helped everyone put on their equipment, which was basically the jacket with the tank. Then before jumping in we had to put on the fins and mask, and maybe give a last check to see if the regulator works. Meera and I wore our equipment and I usually helped Meera to make sure that none of her hair is trapped between her face and the mask, which would allow water to enter the mask. While getting ready I suddenly had the thought that I should double-check both our tanks again, but then I saw the skipper go around and open the valves on everyone’s air cylinder. I saw him do this on Meera’s, so I relaxed – my biggest and fatal mistake!
Everyone was now ready to jump, except for a woman who had discovered that her jacket had a rip. (Only later I realized that this would not have happened had the dive team checked the equipment properly!) Sadly, she had to stay on board and could not join the dive.
It was hectic, not much time to think. I looked over at Meera to see if she was ready. She was wearing her mask, ready to go. We both did our backward rolls into the water and soon enough were drifting in the water. The dive guide had jumped before us. He was supposed to make sure that everyone was alright before diving down, but he had already dived without looking back. I was afraid to lose him so I gave Meera the okay sign to check if she was also okay and ready to go down. She returned the sign indicating that everything was okay with her too.
I started to dive, headfirst, trying to locate the reef and our group, and looking for the dive guide, without realising it had created some distance between Meera and me. When I was maybe 7 metres deep I turned around to see if Meera was behind me. She was not. She had come down in an upright position, and was maybe only 3 metres below the surface. I looked at her and again gave her the okay sign to see if she was alright. Something was wrong. With both her hands she indicated that she had trouble but did not indicate what kind of trouble she was having. As I was deeper than her I waited for a moment to see if she was able to fix the problem. Sometimes when you dive you get water in your mask, or your ears do not pop open. I was still not alarmed and waited for a moment, watching her.
When she started going back up towards the surface I became worried because this meant that she must be having a bigger problem. I started to swim towards her and followed her upwards. I did not suspect that she was in any real danger, reason why I did not rush towards her.
After maybe 20 seconds – it is difficult to estimate the time in those moments – she came back down. I first thought that she had managed to fix her problem, but as I came closer I saw to my horror that her head was leaning to one side and that her mouth piece had popped out of her mouth. I completely panicked and with all my energy rushed towards her, my heart pounding like mad. I reached her in a few seconds, held her body by the jacket and tried to push my spare mouth piece into her mouth, a quite senseless thing to do when the other is obviously unconscious. I was in absolute panic.
While trying to give her oxygen I didn’t realize that we both had started sinking and fast. She was not breathing and heavy with all her equipment she had very little buoyancy. When I saw blood coming out of her nose inside her mask I freaked out even more. When I finally realized that we were sinking and that she was unconscious, I filled my jacket with air to bring us up as fast as possible. I embraced her body and together we went up quite quickly.
As soon as we reached the water surface I shouted for help. The boat came over. I struggled to take off her jacket with the tank and her weight belt, and with the help of those who were on the boat, we pulled her onto the Zodiac. It was a mighty effort; my mind blank and my heart pounding like crazy.
When finally I was also in the boat we immediately tried to bring her back to consciousness. I wanted people to do something for her but everything seemed to be happening so slow. Someone said to give her oxygen… Another diver, a Frenchman, who had come to dive with his children, was pressing her heart muscle at intervals to make it beat again.
I turned her to one side to let any water come out of her lungs, but not much came out. I started to do mouth to mouth resuscitation. She had blood in her face that had come from her nose and my face became full of blood. I pleaded with her to come back. Her rip cage lifted and sank with my breathing into her lungs. The Frenchman continued pumping her heart muscle… I talked to her… I asked people for help… Not one of the dive team did anything. The skipper tried to get the boat back to the shore through the surf as fast as possible. The boat bounced heavily through the waves. I screamed “Not so fast!” while trying to do mouth to mouth resuscitation. And I kept saying to her, “Please come back! Come back!”
I could not think and did not know what had happened. I was in panic – desperate.
The boat arrived on the beach. A tractor pulled the boat onto the beach and Meera’s body was lifted onto the back of a truck. I do not remember how much time it took or how it happened. I kept talking to Meera, all the time. I sat next to her on the truck, her head on my lap.
No one else spoke or said anything. I kept talking to Meera. I wanted someone to finally do something. The truck was parked in the parking lot. A woman passed by; she was a doctor. She felt her pulse and said, “She is gone.” And, “You can’t do anything, it’s not your fault.”
I was totally blank. It felt as if I was having a nightmare, desperately trying to wake up. I talked to Meera saying things that I imagined would be good for her. I said, “It is only the body,” and “Nothing is happening to you,” and “Remember, we are Osho people!” And how much I loved her. I kept on repeating these words like in a trance. In this nightmare I kept thinking, “I just need to wake up. But why don’t I wake up?”
Everything around me felt unreal, like in a surreal movie. Nothing around me was of any importance, only Meera’s body. Her head on my lap. I kept kissing her face, eyes and mouth and stroked her body. After a while I noticed that my body was shivering strongly. I walked over to our car, which was parked just next to the truck, pulled off my wet dive suit and put on some dry clothes. I rushed back to Meera’s body which was still lying motionless and peacefully on the back of the truck. All I wanted was go with her.
Waves of strong guilt passed through me. I had not taken care of my beloved. I am responsible for her death.
Svagito is a therapist, teacher and training leader and uses various therapeutic modalities, such as Family Constellation, Male-Female Energywork, Pulsation, Trauma Healing and others. He has been Meera’s partner for 25 years and sometimes together and sometimes alone they have been travelling extensively every year visiting many countries. Together they had homes in Munich, Poona and Japan. www.family-constellation.net
Meera – 21st February 2017
Dancing into the Unknown: Osho Painting and Art Therapy – review of Meera’s posthumously published book
Celebrating Meera’s Legacy
Video interview from Dubai: youtu.be