The other day, the weatherman predicted heavy to very heavy rain and wind. There came a mission, a mission of search and rescue! A ship got grounded and sank in the Arabian Sea. After 3 days, 12 of the crews either made it to safety or got rescued, still two were missing- the Captain and his cook.
We cast off at dawn on the third day (after it sunk) and sailed with a mission, a mission to accomplish. As soon as we left the harbour, the ship started rolling and pitching heavily. I was in the engine room till 8 in the morning and after that I went straight to mess deck and laid flat in my bunk with a heavy headache. I felt queasiness and nausea but nothing came out as my stomach was empty. I prayed that when this’ll became better as it had been more than half a decade or something like more than a thousand days at sea. The sea was not so mercy and the waves splattered all over the foxle( forecastle) and the quarter deck (I wondered how Columbus and Vasco-da-Gama ventured out to find a new land with a magnetic compass and a sail), it was the roughest sea I’ve experienced after that day we crossed the Suez Canal entering the Mediterranean Sea on our way to Italy four years back.
I hardly recollected what had happened during that eight hours except the noise made by unsecured items banging from bulkhead to bulkhead as the ship rolled from port to starboard. I was then shaken up at around 4 in the evening. I felt a bit better as I heard we’re heading back to the harbour. Walking through the alleyway leading to quarter deck, I saw some divers, seamen and sickbay guy surrounding something like a corpse wrapped in a white sheet (it was like those mummies I saw in the Cairo museum).
I was right; it was a dead body which was recovered from the sunken ship. Everyone was in grief and sorrow. There came a thought in my mind… once he might have been an impressive Captain with dignity, living life king size and ‘Full Ahead’. When the ship was about to sink, he’d be the man who ordered, “Abandon Ship”. His all men made it to safety but he preferred to go down along with his ship with DIGNITY, a dignity (not vanity) which every mariner boasts off. Now he himself was given ‘Finished with Engine’ order without ‘Dead Slow or Stop’ regime. I had a silent prayer and thanked the Almighty for giving me another day to live. Then suddenly a giant waves came from the starboard quarter and splashed all over the weather deck to bid adieu to their OLD CAPTAIN. A siren was blown from the Bridge and lo…. The Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive) was sparkling as if nothing had happened. We’re at the harbour channel and I checked my ‘LIFE JACKET’ once more……………..!!!