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'Floating Pearls in Arabian Sea' - LAKSHADWEEP

'Floating Pearls in Arabian Sea' - LAKSHADWEEP

Author: Sasmita S. Akhtar
& Shamim Akhtar
Year of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 978-8190583305
Language: English
Edition: 1st
Pages: 210
Binding Style: Hard Cover
Size (in mm): 210 x297 ( landscape )
Weight: 1.5 KG
Rs. 2500

.......Life to any temporary dweller may seem precarious in these islands.

As you try to close your eyes and drift into a deep slumber, the varying intensity of waves hitting the rocks ashore implants a horrifying thought. What if the romantic soft thuds of the waves keep increasing in intensity till finally they spill over as the ocean declares the island to be its own playground. In no time will my romantic escapade in this territory of beauty and calm be transformed into a living nightmare as the waves pierce through my ear drums, fill into my lungs, and the water surrounding me chokes me to death. Islanders, however, reassure you that this has neither happened in the past nor will it ever happen in the future.

I wonder what the secret of their being so selfassured is? How can you live so full of joy , free of fears right in the middle of the ocean despite knowing that you are totally dependent on few cargo and a couple of passenger ships ? Travelling in the passenger ship from the coast of Kerala, if you thought the bumpy ride, nausea and a giddy head desperately trying to sense in which direction the ship is swaying are all there is to it, then you are completely unaware of the climax of this adventurous tour! You are asked to believe the unbelievable and think the unthinkable, these ships cannot go near the shore and strand you in the middle of the ocean, to be ferried ashore in feeble Pablo boats. It so happens that due to uneven relief contours there is always a fear of shipwreck near the island. Due to either failure of machinery or negligence of the captain many a ship have touched the reef and breathed their last here.

Thus all ships, whether cargo or passenger, have to anchor at least two to three km away from these islands. Disembarkation and embarkation take place in the open sea. Everything and everybody are shifted from the ship to the Pablo boats, which alone can safely enter the lagoon. A local demonstrates the mammoth task of jumping out of the ship into the boat with the help of thick rope hanging overhead, with the ease of none other than Tarzan! Similarly, passengers waiting to board the ship are required to perform the reverse feat of jumping from the boat to the ship. But one wonders how would a lesser mortal imitate this stunt? Rocking up and down in the Pablo boat along with the rise and fall of the waves, you are carefully escorted out of the not so violent lagoon into the deep sea, where the ship awaits your arrival.

Vibrations in the ship are less apparent, anchored in the middle of the ocean it merely seems to be gliding along in full circles. As the Pablo boat steers closer to the entrance door of the ship the toughest part of the journey becomes well evident. The ship glides up and down, the boat rocks up and down, a small acrobatic stunt is required whereby you jump from the boat onto the ship with the help of a thick rope hanging down from the ship; of course the benevolent locals who are ever ready to haul you up. The point is that the stunt is to be perfectly timed. Be on your mark, get set and go only when the ship and the boat are at par with each other and not when one goes up and the other goes down. One false move and you will be mercilessly torn to bits by the fast rotating blades of the ship’s propeller beneath the water. Falling out of the ship would mean falling out of the worldly boundaries. And it was during this bit of synchronization that I dared to falter. One step out of the boat I raised onto the ship but only a wee bit late, and before I could take the final plunge, down went the boat along with the receding wave. Simultaneously, I tripped and, before I knew what was happening, with lightning speed I was airlifted back into the boat by the local co- passengers. Phew! Quite an experience I must say. Missed a tryst with the devil by a few inches!.......

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Comments (1)

By Shamim Akhtar
Dear Sasmita Sarangi I have a lot to thank you for, starting from being my best friend from our JNU days since 1992, and then being agreed to be my soulmate... but here, I just would like to say that what we went through because of this bok on LAKSHADWEEP ..... you always had the guts ... my sincere regards to you to publish our first book. this book will always remain "my" favt. and you know why..... :)
Posted on: 14 July, 2014

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