Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Of Doldrums and tradewinds

Post dedicated to Abhilash Tomy
(who is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

Now that he is doing fabulously well as far as the voyage is concerned, very close to the tropic of Capricorn.  The people who don't belong to the water world need to update their geography. I, kind of did mine, read up on Google the Great and for the finer nuances checked up with my Captain. He beats Google Guru a lot of the times when it comes to water world. Hence forth all those following the Mhadei need to have the Google and Wiki as a ready reference only then would we, the ladies to be specific will understand that. I remember my geography teacher explaining these topics but who knew then that it was a good idea to have generated better interest and understanding. Its never too late to pick up on the lessons left far behind. Education they say is a life long activity, unlike training that's generally used up or demonstrated immediately after a successful session.

A bit about the trade winds, According to the Wiki, The term trade winds originally derives from the early fourteenth century late Middle English word 'trade' meaning "path" or "track” The Portuguese recognized the importance of the trade winds in navigation in the Atlantic ocean as early as the 15th century. The full wind circulation, which included both the trade wind easterlies and higher-latitude Westerlies, was unknown (to Europeans) across the Pacific ocean until Andres de Urdaneta's voyage in 1565.The captain of a sailing ship seeks a course along which the winds can be expected to blow in the direction of travel. During the Age of Sail the pattern of prevailing winds made various points of the globe easy or difficult to access, and therefore had a direct impact on European empire-building and thus on modern political geography.  By the 18th century the importance of the trade winds to England's merchant fleet for crossing the Atlantic Ocean had led both the general public and etymologists to identify the name with a later meaning of 'trade', (foreign) commerce".Between 1847 and 1849, Matthew Fontaine Maury collected enough information to create wind and current charts for the world's oceans.

Now, there are a lot more people reading about the voyage and of course about the man and the boat as well. I was wondering if the man is any different from his brethren, the fellow men may be women also, of courage and guts .(I count myself out of it). I may have the will power but a tiny meany lizard can get the better of me! Yes all are the same. We feel heat just the way we feel cold, we get upset, frustrated at times just like we feel happiness, triumph and glory at the other times. What makes the people who venture out on their own,  is the mental make up. A lot of cream, mousse, rouge and whatever else you can think of!

Great going Sailor, you are making us brush up on our geography. I do recollect the doldrums, the jet streams and Coriolis effect now. Wishing you more fair winds and following seas. That's what the sailors wish. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Not all who wander are lost

Post dedicated to Abhilash Tomy
(who is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

The first book on adventure that I came across was, ‘A journey to the centre of the earth’ by Jules Verne. I had received it as a prize, I was probably in third standard then, was too young at that time to understand the concept but I did read the book later on and it had a deep impact on my thinking. I love travelling and seeing new places. I am not an adventure person but I follow the unusual, people who take the road less travelled.  After reading that book I wanted to read more from the author and the next title that I got my hands on was ‘Around the world in 80 days’.

I was telling Tomy that I am his blog partner (self appointed one, of course!) till he completes this voyage a solo, unassisted, non- stop, circumnavigation around the globe.  I read his blog and wait for newer posts from him. The latest one is called… 21 days. He has given a good account of his voyage so far. He started on 1st November 2012, completing 21 days today.This time for a change he doesn’t use too many jargons so it’s easier for the lesser mortals like me to understand, it makes a much better sense. His diary will certainly be used by someone soon probably the next person who might venture out on a similar voyage. But for the others, who follow him from a distance, say our homes and offices like to read stuff that makes good sense to them and they understand it better.

By now, he has a lot of people reading and following his blog. He gets quite a few encouraging messages from his friends and people who are following his voyage. Its heartening to see how youngsters are sharing their thoughts with him, telling him how he is being a huge inspiration to them. How some of them would love to get into the Navy, just like the way he is a part of the mighty force. Its that inspiration that makes me to write and interpret his voyage and blog posts. I would certainly like more people to know about the voyage as well as pass on the message to the youngsters to think of something out of the box... always!

At this moment, he is in the Equatorial region and has described the heat to be too harsh but says he refuses to use a sun block. In India, men see anything to do with skin care or cosmetic to be a feminine thing. It is more for protection than cosmetic application. Google tells you a lot about the uses of sunscreen, I found this picture on Wikipedia, this kind of explains all.

Significance of 21 days, 

A few facts about this fabulous number:
  •  Bend your knees to ease your issues: 21 days to a spiritual turning point. Savitri Scott is the author, In the book she talks about spiritual growth being a process and one can achieve that in 21 days.
  • 21 days to Master Numerology. David a Phillips proposes that one can master the art in 21 days.
  •  Only You Can Be You: 21 Days to Making Your Life Count. Author Erik Rees thinks so.
  • In Hinduism it’s a sacred number. Auspicious by many beliefs. It signifies the 3 periods in the day, morning, noon and night
  • Change Almost Anything in 21 Days: Recharge Your Life With the Power of Over 500 affirmations. This is a book by Ruth Fishel  and Bonny Van De Kamp
  • The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse: Written by Debbie Ford, highlights a breakthrough program for connecting with one’s soul's deepest purpose.
  •  It’s the marriageable age in India for men.’
  • In Most of the states in India that’s the legal drinking age.
  • In numerology, it forms number 3. With a sunny disposition it makes a significant contribution to almost any cause.
It’s a significant point in his voyage, A mile stone, may be; wishing that he’ll achieve the others as smoothly.


These pictures have been take from various websites, if anyone has an objection to their use here, they'll be promptly removed.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Crossing the Equator - Post dedicated to Abhilash Tomy

I have a dream, a song to sing 

To help me cope with anything 
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale 
You can take the future even if you fail 
I believe in angels 
Something good in everything I see 
I believe in angels 
When I know the time is right for me 
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream 

Crossing the Equator

In fact when I checked the facebook update from Mhadei and Abhilash Tomy, he had written that he was just a few hours away from crossing the Equator. I could feel that excitement  and the urge to pull a bit faster and cross it over, it was somekind  of a milestone, a benchmark in the voyage. As it is known that the Mhadei will be crossing the Equator twice.  At that time, I was a bit under the weather  but the upcoming event made me forget my own woes and look forward to the historic event if I may call it so. It was Dewali time here in India and the whole country was basking in the festivities. This was going to be the icing on the top.   On reaching home from office, I checked up with my ready reckoner, my hubby Capt. Todiwan. I asked him how many times had he crossed the equator, he said many times he didn’t remember the count but must have been over 10 times. Since he sailed around the world on chemical and oil tankers, had crossed the Equator many a times. I asked him how he felt the first time. He said that he had crossed the equator, the first time when he was a cadet and he remembered it to be a grand ceremony onboard and the fun that followed. They were given a certificate on the conclusion of the ceremony. He has kept that with him and the subsequent crossings over were ceremonies. He says the highlight was the punch, whatever was available was mixed up and filled in the boots that was then served to the first timers. But when he was the Captain of the vessel crossing the Equator, he got the best punch created but had to keep with the tradition on serving it in the boots, he asked the store keeper to get the new pairs and had the punch served in them.
Abhilash in his blog on crossing the Equator also gives a count of his first time crossing the Equator when he was a cadet.  Here are two people who spoke about their first experience of crossing that line across the globe but the subsequent ones were more of a matter of fact.  That makes me think people always talk about the first love, the first crush, the first kiss and all the” firsts “ in their lives. The images remain vivid in their memories.  One moves on, matures but the significance and beauty of the first time always holds a special place in their hearts.  Abhilash proudly puts it as sixth time shellback, but this time the voyage is maiden as far as the purpose is concerned that makes the occasion special like that first crush that might still bring a few goose bumps.
The weather conditions at the equator region are certainly hot and humid, scorching heat would be more apt.  The water that generally brings about cool breeze will be radiating heat.  There’s hotness around….. Are you Hot enough to beat the heat? Is what at this point of time I feel like asking Tomy in a lighter vein!  In the post he uses too many jargons which don’t make much sense to a layperson like me but what is undoubtedly clear is that the physical conditions at this time in the voyage are absolutely trying. The discomfort that we feel stepping out of our homes or air conditioned offices is just a drop in the ocean when we compare it with the equatorial heat.  Had read somewhere that these patches are just pebbles on the pathway!
 …. Sailor take them as pebbles on the pathway you’ll cross them over.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Company and companions.....

This is the second post dedicated to  Abhilash Tomy!
...... in continuation with my earlier post, Sailing on the wings.

I was reading his blog 'Sailing on the wings', where he has two new posts. The first one is titled 'The dragon flies are dead' and the second post is with the title, ' The shoe box is empty'
I read the posts a couple of times to understand what must be going on in his mind when he narrates the incidents of his voyage. 
Yes being all by oneself,  I wouldn't say lonely as that's not a positive word and its again a state of mind. I would say having oneself for company! A person who is social and likes interacting with people will certainly need to make efforts to be all by himself.  Anything living be it a dragon fly, a sparrow, a grasshopper or anything that's moving is a delightful company.

Like a lot of other people I can't imagine myself being alone. Its a punishment if I have to sit quiet without talking to anyone. I remember I was attending a workshop at a prestigious college in Bangalore, as a courtesy they put me up in a suite. It was beautiful, great decor and it was large. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I didn't want to stay there thinking that it was not polite. I just couldn't sleep the whole night. Had all the lights on and had covered myself with the duvet. Waited till it turned 5 am, got up and got ready for the presentation. This is not just one odd incident ...have many such adventures in my kitty. I can very well understand what company of anything... living means!

When the dragon fly died it was a loss somewhere... a loss of somebody's company.  In the movie, Castaway' Tom Hanks is broken when he loses his companion Wilson. it's so beautifully portrayed. In my childhood, read the story of King Bruce and the spider. Here's a refresher for everyone, 
Robert Bruce was a king who lived in Scotland. He fought many battles. Once he was defeated. He ran away from the battle field and hid himself in a cave.There was a spider in that cave. It was trying to reach the roof of the cave but failed again and again. After every fall, the spider tried again... not losing its heart. The spider reached its web in the seventh attempt.This taught King Bruce a great lesson. It filled him with new hope and courage. He came out of the cave and gathered his forces.This time he fought bravely. He was successful in making his country free. We learn from almost everything... living or not that has faced the strength of time.

With his second post  he talks about the food that is there with him, he still has some fresh provisions but they are dwindling. Another comfort in our lives is the food. The food we eat makes us the people that we are. The food shows the way our health is. When alone, one generally ends up picking up something to munch on. But when you don't have a choice and you need to be judicious about the consumption, I feel that's one hell of a control! Whatever the outcome, I am sure he is going to learn a lot more about self control and discipline!

Will surely be back with my understanding of the life at Sea, when on a solo circumnavigation of the globe!


Friday, 9 November 2012

Sailing on wings! – post dedicated to Abhilash Tomy

The Mighty Ocean

Oh what a mystery, a bundle of surprise, 
And immense beauty!
It has all the noise yet.... so silent,
It encompasses the secrets
In abundance!
It is love, an enjoyable dream,
It's a winner all through......

This post is dedicated to Lt. Cdr. Abhilash Tomy

It’s about  India's greatest naval adventure.

It is about one man who will cover 40000 kms, sailing around the world, alone and without any help or stops. The boat will go through some of the most terrible and lonely places on this planet encountering ferocious storms and raging seas. An adventure of this magnitude is so difficult that less than 100 people have ever successfully completed one. To compare more than 5 times the number has gone to space and more than 5000 people have been on the Everest.

A bit about Abhilash- the Man

A look at him will tell you he is just the guy next door, tall dark and handsome probably an expression of his Mallu genes! A young naval officer... if 33 is young!  is a pilot by trade or specialisation but has chosen to sail. He has been doing that for almost 5 years now. If you asked him what was a pilot doing in the sea, he would say that he learnt sailing first and then flying. Anyway at the horizon, can't distinguish one from the other.

My memories of him go back to the school days in Kochi, where we studied in the same school. He was a quiet boy, all to himself but had a bright twinkle in his eyes. He laughed heartily. Met him almost 10 years ago when he was training to be a pilot, in Goa. I guess he was already a pilot then.... 

No contacts after that, then one fine day, last month I see a post on facebook where my school mate had commented. It was a best of luck wish to Abhilash. On looking further I was delighted to know this person to be my junior from school  who was taking on this gigantic endeavour.  Mhadei, the boat was taking him on a journey around the world,  a solo circumnavigation attempt first time by an Indian without any stops or onboard assistance.

It really got me curios, I come from the Defece background, dad was a marine cammando, a Deep sea diver (saturation) in the Navy. Brother is also associated with the Merchant Navy and I am married to a master mariner. I know how the sea / oceans behave. I understood the challenges that came along. I had a chat with my husband on this and like any curious mind I had a million questions. He explained the concept and also the oceans at this time of the year. He also told me the adversities that Abhilash may encounter but he said that apart from physical endurance, it'll be his mental strength or makeup that'll take him through.

This really made me wonder, is all this worth it....its maddening.... yes it does!! He isn't doing it just for himself, he is doing it as a way to pay tribute to our vast coastline, to the might of our Navy and to all those men and women who have pledged their lives to this great nation... Sa No Varun! I feel so proud of my country, so proud of my roots and so proud to know this man personally... Abhilash you have made each one of us to look for the stars... there's no limit and you'll inspire  hundreds of men and women to adorn the white uniform. Its a big responsibility that you carry on your shoulders but Sailor just enjoy the solitude! enjoy your time in the ocean, you are so fortunate to have earned where you are. Behave as you belong there.... as you own the oceans! 

Nothing can ever be higher challenge than this, you must just be with the flow, wishing you fair weather, following seas and friendly waves.


Salute to the sailor!!