September 11, 2019


“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein
Ever since I was a kid, I was curious about everything around me. I used to be fascinated by the
existence of living and non-living things both alike. This fascination and curiosity helped me ask
questions like ‘why,’ ‘how,’ ‘when,’ ‘where’ and ‘what.’ All my questioning and my quest for answers got
me into the science stream for my higher secondary and my journey in the scientific world began.
I am a Microbiologist and an Oceanographer with specialization in Marine Microbiology. Oceans cover
71% of our Earth, yet we hardly know anything about them or the life forms in the oceans. My
inquisitiveness was further amplified when I watched Blue Planet, a documentary on oceans by BBC.
Thanks to Goa University, I could learn scuba diving and become a certified Open Water Diver. Scuba
diving has enabled me to better understand life underwater, by observing it closer than before. The life
underwater is diverse yet straightforward while complex. Being a curious researcher, I was awestruck on
my first dive which was in 2014.
My research work focuses on the different micro-organisms present in different areas in the marine
environment. It is more of lab-oriented work, but diving has helped me fathom the environment of
these organisms, their interaction with other higher organisms much more deeply than before. Also,
diving to me is similar to meditation because you experience something new in every breath you take
underwater, and it is very peaceful and tranquil.
The most important lesson diving has taught me is to never take anything for granted. As a kid, when I
used to visit beaches with my family, they were cleaner in comparison to the present. Plastic is
everywhere these days. We watch so many videos, where turtles are getting strangled in ghost nets,
eating plastic since they resemble jellyfish. It’s devastating. The amount of trash in the oceans which
humans dump, keeps increasing each time.

We keep our homes clean, the ocean is my second home, and every time I go for a walk on the beach or
for a dive, and I see trash around, I pick it up. It’s a now or never situation, to act on the issues of climate
change and ocean pollution. We, human beings have turned out to be the biggest threat to the
existence of almost every living creature on this planet.
We Scuba divers, oceanographers, can speak and advocate for marine conservation and fight vigorously
for oceans because we have seen the destruction that anthropogenic(human) activities are causing our
beautiful underwater world. Scuba diving is not just any experience. It’s a life skill that I learned to make
a difference for our Oceans, for our Planet.
“We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do!” -Sylvia Earle


-Shruti Shah

About the writer:
A Marine Microbiologist and a certified scuba diver. She is a full-time researcher and is currently working
as a research student at CSIR- National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. Being a passionate
oceanographer, she is persevering with a constant yearning to explore and protect the oceans and the life
beneath. She is also an adventurous person who loves to interact with people.