Andaman final day 7

March 17, 2009 at 8:23 PM 2 comments

Dose of television

The moment I got up the first thing that pricked my mind was that today was our final sight seeing in Andaman, so somewhere in my mind I found it difficult digest that the vacation time was over so quickly.

 

It was almost a week since I had stopped sleeping for nine hours so by now I was used to getting up early. It was about 04.20am I started watching T.V, my dad who might have just slept for 5 hours got up startled and started looking around, and he requested me to switch off the T.V to which I dutifully disagreed and continued watching. I knew my dad he would not give up his eight hour sleep for anything let alone my argument, he did not even bother to say anything extra he wrapped himself in the blanket and dosed off.  I gave a wicked smile to myself and announced loudly in Kannada “Yellaru malagiddhaga avanobbane yedda avare Buddha” meaning in English “when the whole world sleeps he who wakes up (enlightened) that is Buddha”.  I guess my dad got infuriated which my annotation and he yelled at me saying “hopeless fellow” in his typical south Indian rajnikanth style. I just chuckled with laughter and watched T.V.

 

After winning that brief battle of “Teeveepath”with my dad the room was filled with silence for about thirty minutes, expect for sharukh and deepika singing “love mere hit hit soniye”, Aamir khan from his movie doing “guzarish” and some stuff that rapper snoopy was singing (god knows in what language), then in between there were my favorite old song “Gulabhi ankhen jo teri dekhi” “Main shayar toh nahi”, and all such my old time favorite classic songs. It was almost 04.45am my dad’s mobile making some polytone music, yes it was the wakeup alarm.

 

Towards Havelock island in M.V RANGAT ship

The entire group was standing in a single line formation to board the ship, the time was 05.50am, and the ship was scheduled to leave at 06.00am. It was a huge ship her name was M.V Rangat (M.V stands for motor vessel). Suddenly the name caught my attention, although the ship was addressed as “SHE or M/S or MRS”, the name “Rangat” sounded masculine (ha huh…I guess the ship makers expected a “male ship” but a “female ship” was born instead so in order to overcome their grief they must have named it like a man… guys this is only my theory).

 

Our turn finally came to board the ship after we found our seats and we settled down by then even the ships started taking a slow sail from the bay someone from our organizers side started handing over the food packets to our group. I was not hungry but I don’t mind gorging food at any given point of the day. So here it was for our chomping pleasure our very own “Idly Vada and Sambhar. The idly was of a regular shape and size, however the vada’s were comparatively small from the one we get in Mangalore, I mean in Mangalore one vada is sufficient to fill half of the stomach. The vada and idly with sambhar, the sambhar was quite chatpata, you could even supplement for soup, I think the flavor of sambhar really complimented the taste of both idly and vada.

 

Rangat Ship and it crew

I was feeling suffocated sitting in the same place for a long time so I informed my dad that I was going above the ship deck to catch some fresh air. As I was exiting the passengers lounge, the crews of the ship dressed were hurriedly moving from one corner to another. M.V Rangat is a passenger ship; it is not like titanic but has all the basic infrastructure and is well maintained.

 

The doors in this ship was very narrow only one person can pass through this at a time, for the benefit of the passengers emergency instructions and signposts  were put-up almost every where. There are also some restricted areas in the ship in which only the crew had the permission to enter. As I stepped out on ship’s rear lower deck, the water gushing out of the propellers was the first sight that caught my eyes; it is when you see sights like these that we realize the tremendous amount of force that these machines exert themselves, to take us to our destination.

 

The crew members of the ship interacted quite freely with the passengers. I even happened to meet one of the crew members named Anuj who was keen on telling me about his contract under which he was committed to the company. He was quite young maybe 32yrs of age he says although he loves his job and pay he hates being away from his family.

 

After a brief chat with Anuj I went on the top berth of the ship. It was a three hour journey by ship to Havelock, so everyone was trying to get themselves busy with something or the other some where chatting others were constantly looking into the open sea while others like me where busy taking pictures. But after sometime like everyone else even I was bored, suddenly the gates of my destiny opened when the XO of the ship Nakiran invited Me, Anvith and deepika to visit the captains cockpit (that was it for the next two hrs I knew it, apart from jumping to the middle of the ocean the only thrilling thing to be added to the journey was visiting the control room of the ship).

 

Initially all three of us were hesitant to speak anything but gradually as our acquaintance with the XO grew we started behaving normally, especially I and Anvith we posed our selves in every possible ways along side the instruments in the cockpit. The XO was a really cool dude despite our monkey acts he never bothered to stop us; on the contrary he was amused. At a certain point he let me even wear his cap and pose my self with the walkie talkie as though I was commanding him.

 

It was also an informational visit as XO Nakiran gave us deep insight into the shipping industry and how we can pursue it as a profession if we are interested in it. He also said that though his duty was on a contract basis each lasting for three to four month he did not mind the terms as long as it pays him generously. His work which lasts for four months a year is enough to look after him in luxury for the rest of the year, he says despite the global market meltdown the demand for shipping sector is constant.

 

The captains cockpit seemed to be equipped with almost all types of safety equipment like life raft , satellite devices , paddle and a boat , signaling reflectors , flares , sign flags, GPS , sonar , wireless devices and all those sort of things.

The water was just slicing through the rough waters as though someone is sliding on shoe blades on an ice hockey stadium. These real life shipping officials did not seemed like those overpaid over-actors we see on T.V playing the role of a captain, with short white beard , navy blue coat and hat, smoking cigar or pipe all the time. These guys were simple people like you and me proudly doing their job.

 

Reaching Havelock Island

We were almost nearing the port the XO gave friendly request to everyone in his cabin to vacate as they had to maneuver the ship to the shore and they did not expect any disturbance. By now everyone had understood the complex nature of work the captain and his crew carryout during the course of the journey, so we shook hand and parted to the passenger deck. Soon the ship reached the port and we disembarked he ship.

 

Our guide manju had pre-arranged a jeep for our transportation to the Havelock beach. It was just then my eyes happened to fall on my wrist watch, I was surprised to find out that it was only 09.00am the morning.  That two hour in the ship totally kept me out of tune with time. I was very happy since there was more time for us in the beach to have fun. After seven kilometer by road we finally reached Havelock beach, thought these roads came under village limit it was quite well maintained.

 

I and Anvith were already in our beach dress so we first stopped at a shop were they rented out snorkeling gears, initially also brought the flaps with me but since we were in shallow waters it was not much of a use. I feel everybody while going to beach must have a snorkeling glasses which can help you to see a lot the under water life, especially in Andaman waters which has lot of colourful fishes in it.

 

It was a great time for all of us to take a dip in the crystal blue waters. Initially everyone ventured towards the water for a swim. However what we did not realize was that though close to the shore the waves showed even there, one such big wave left almost everyone in the beach toppled head over heels (everyone all the 20 of them). Once that wave had surpassed everybody was trying to recover from red eyes, some still trying to spit out the salt water, some also seemed ready to pack-up from the beach and some even blaming one another for their fall, but very soon everybody started staring at each other and laughing in their highest voice. It was a very funny scene everybody though embarrassed started imitating one another reaction to the wave. Especially my granny who was miming the reaction of my aunt shakuntala, who seems to have started running opposite direction as soon as she saw the wave coming (as though tsunami was on the way), but unfortunately for her as she did not keep her legs firmly on the ground the water just swept her off her feet (whenever I still think of that scene, even while I am typing this I still laugh like crazy)

 

The water in the beach is not salty however it can get quite rough, at first even after swimming for about 30 seconds I realized that I had hardly moved 3 meters from where I had started the water did not even let me budge from the spot. The water seemed to be challenging almost every time, so much so that I was literally forced to adapt to a swimming methods which after lot of improvement and perfection seemed to work but was not able to make much of difference against those waters. Yeah it is fun when the water challenges you to try its limit, especially in beach where the water movements are almost unpredictable. The waves literally made you dance to its own tunes and I tried hard not to, but instead I tried to swim against it (both me and the waves seemed to have some sort of ego battle going on). I had snorkeling goggles I was able to see that the geographic surface under the water was in a step i.e. you will feel that you are walking on a plain ground suddenly the ground give way to a deeper ditch. Sometime the five 5 feet surface ground suddenly stretched to 8 feet without warning.

 

Water and Me

Myself I had a great time swimming far and wide and when I turned up to my watch there were still more than two hours to go, the guide told us that we had head back by 13.30pm to have our lunch. So I was trying to use every moment of the time in what else than swimming. Eventually I also started floating in water, usually in beach it is quite difficult to float because of the waves changing its pattern but this is one of the very few beaches I felt floating was easy.

 

The beach slowly started accumulating crowd more number of people started flooding he beach with their families. Since almost all the good spots in the beach was getting occupied  I cold not swim continuously so I decided to take long shot from the shore to the beach where I could see a yatch anchored, I swam about 70 meters and I could see the yatch coming closer to my line of sight and this made  psychologically exited and I started swimming aggressively(which was actually a wrong decision from my part as I was out of swimming practice for couple of months now) and all of sudden out of nowhere I had this terrible terrible pain in my stomach. Then suddenly I realized “Shoot I had a stomach cramp” this is the last thing I expected while swimming, this happened maybe because I did not take sufficient liquid before going to take a dip in water.

 

Till date I had encountered only once that too in swimming pool, however at that time I was in 4 feet deep water so I was able to walk my way through, but in this case the surface of the water might have been at-least 12 feet deep. Stomach cramp is just like having a muscle catch in the leg or hand, worst news was whenever I felt that the stomach cramp had settled and started to swim it started paining more and more (it was paining as though some sort of acupuncture treatment has gone wrong or listening to math’s lecture) the shore was atleast 70 or hundred meters far and I had nothing to rest upon, so I had no other option but to swim which by now I was totally incapable off. I did not want to raise an alarm because then I would be a embarrassing attraction so raising alarm was totally out of the option for me (which is actually the wisest thing to do when stuck in such situation “come what may”)

 

If only I had my snorkeling glasses I could not only estimate how deep the water is but also I could have given rest to my aching leg muscle for a second or two, and then I could have tried swimming. I was desperately trying not to show any sign of panic over my face, suddenly I could see my dad waving his hand back and forth which was a sign for me to come back. I pretended to be having fun and signaled thumbs up saying everything was alright, I would prefer to stay in the same depth for some more time. My dad said nothing but he turned the other way round, meanwhile the water currents in the water was getting stronger (or maybe I was getting weaker) not only that but also it was pulling me against the shore (Without any help I thought it may not be possible to come out of the mess I had put myself moreover I started having crazy ideas that I may get a blacked out and soon be in the dinner menu of the sharks and all that. At this point I hated that discovery channel for putting all those weird ideas in my head). My hands and leg had started shivering but were not aching so I decided that the best possible way to relax is free float in water. As I was floating I was desperately trying to recollect any incidents in my life which I had come across because of my will but I could hardly remember any incident (yes but I remember this incident of 10th standard class where I along with my no good friends stared making fun of the great tenzing Sherpa and Hillary who accomplished scaling 8848 meters of Mount Everest, I said to others “what’s a big deal given a chance and resources even I would have done it”. I did not realize that those guys climbed a vertical distance and now I was in a situation where I could not even move a horizontal distance of  70 meters I guess somewhere in the skies Tensing Sherpa and Hillary maybe dancing to some tape recorder music looking at my sight.).

 

I was still floating in the water and all these memories of studying overnight during the examination and getting a average pass marks in math’s during my tenth standard started passing over my head (especially that geometry and algebra, which I felt was best to be trashed in Vamanjur dumping ground and set it on fire along with plastic bag and whiskey bottle and also Pythagoras). I also recollected an incident where I had run 1500 meters to get selected for NCC selection when I weighted 92 kilos. I came last but still I was selected because the selection committee was happy that I did not quit the race. Ok…..enough of flash back I was really in trouble guys, if I did not hurry towards the shore quickly someone in the group would press that panic button which was the last thing I wanted to see around me.

 

So I decided to go ahead just when I was about to start I constantly started chanting (not any god’s mantra) but NCC mantra which I had once read in a camp “when the going gets tough the tough gets going”, saying this I started swimming towards the shore. Since I knew that waves would constantly alter my route towards the shore I decided not to free style swimming instead I tried to do the dog-paddle. I had to keep my head up all the time while I swam so that I could remain on course and also so that I could judge my distance.

 

So slowly I started to swimming against the water, I had to put a tremendous force on my body to swim against the water as I was doing that the cramp just kept on increasing to the core. Somehow I kept on saying the NCC mantra and struggled my way towards the shore, dog-paddle swimming is quite slow since in this technique only hand is used as paddle. Slowly slowly I kept on going forward (I could not believe that I was struggling to cross a distance of 40 meters), I was nearing the shore somehow and the distance was only 20 meters at this point the stomach cramp I guess it had become dead numb, I gathered all my energy and did a free style sprint for the 20 meter dash to the water(I could not feel the pain any longer), and I did not take my head above the water till I bumped to somebody in the water, I don’t know wheather it was a boy or a girl, I just walked off from the water. I was never grateful to have land under my leg the way I felt at that moment. Just then Anvith came to me and asked how the water was; I did not know what to say.

 

Even though I have elaborated the entire incident to you in more than 5 paragraphs the entire incident took place only in 4 minutes.

 

After this it took me almost five minutes to recover the shock, I did not share the incident with anyone till date, then after five minutes I went to the water again all pepped up. Suddenly I heard a voice “take my advice next time don’t try to be a hero” I was shocked to see my dad; I guess he was observing me all the way.

 

 

 

Moving on

It was almost 13.30pm we boarded our vehicle and preceded towards our lunch destination, after having a simple south Indian thali, we did not have much to do in the island so we waited for the boat in a small hut near the ship harbor. The environment in that hut was filled with life, everyone was giggling, sharing their experiences in the beach water. As for me I was thinking only two things

1. The incident that had taken place at the beach and

2. That we were leaving Andaman the next day.

 

At around 15.30pm we boarded the ship, but my mind was still bugged with the incident that had taken place in the beach, though I was acting normal with others. And I also realized that it was not that the water was harsh, it was just that I was not used to swimming in such waters. I mean of course I always have bath under a shower but that cannot be considered swimming right.

 

Anyway it was the same story as usual we disembarked the ship went to the hotel had dinner I did not bother to pack as I had very little luggage to pack for the next day. So I decided to go to sleep as I was very exhausted swimming. But guys whatever it is NCC saved my day “Jai ho NCC”, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”

(to be continued)

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. UniliaWag  |  April 4, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Great site this harsharajgatty.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  • 2. Macield  |  April 11, 2009 at 4:08 AM

    nice site this harsharajgatty.wordpress.com formidable to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

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