Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Sailor and his boat that'll cross the globe


In my last post I wrote about Cdr. Abhilash Tomy and his upcoming project the Golden Globe Race 2018. In case you missed it and want to give it a glace, here you go!
https://laxmitodiwan.blogspot.in/2017/08/a-sailor-at-heart-and-explorer-in-soul.html

He sent me a picture of his boat. It did look magnificent but so small that it was difficult for me to even imagine that it could actually round the earth. I am aware that even the tiniest things can be pretty mighty and this boat, The Thuriya is certainly one. About his boat he said that he felt as if she was talking to him. Once you establish that kind of relationship you'll do all that it takes to be in it and cherish the beauty of that love. Bonds are not created just for nothing!

I am truly a supporter of anything that's not ordinary. The out of the box ideas energise me. Not that I am a gutsy woman who can do the tight rope walking. Things affect me so much so that I can't even drive on a busy road.... forget busy not even in the best of the roads to be precise!

I love to talk about positivity, optimism and the hunger to follow one's dreams. I believe that any dose of inspiration needs to be shared, you never know who gets motivated to pursue his own set of dreams taking a leaf out of that story. That makes me follow this journey upto the race with Tomy.
My liking for Anything but Ordinary, guess what? That's the brand promise of my organisation too. No wonder I love what I do! Coming to the point, I have been following Abhilash in his gutsy, adventurous to the extent of  near impossible actions but he achieves them no matter what. I've known him for long, since school days that makes a silver jubilee, nothing less. He always stood out doing something that no one would even imagine. He went on to become a Naval pilot, that again are in minority. The sailing bug bit him and how, leading him to circumnavigate the earth. Have been a distant spectator to all that. I'd drop a message once in a while if I read his interview or heard him commenting on something. Only telling him if he was out of his mind. That probably would be the outcome of most of our conversations.

He is preparing to be a part of the Golden Globe Race 2018, who wouldn't accept the prestigious invite? It's certainly an honour to be one of the 5 sailors chosen from around the world. Guess that'd be any sailor's dream. It's not that simple as the race will go back in time and good 50 years, thats's half a century! It requires meticulous planning and a whole lot of detailing. Can't afford to miss anything on the indent sheet. Above all it requires guts, that he has in abundance.

He sent me a video posted by The Week, saw it and as usual messaged, "OMG! why do you want to risk so much. You are an achiever and an inspiration, just chill and be happy." He replied, "I like the kick." May be that kick makes him who he is. I wish to share that video with you all, here.
I am sure you connected with Abhilash's take on the upcoming event. His fundraiser is slowly and steadily taking him towards that vision. If you wish to support the fundraiser do click here, spread the word @Ketto fundraiser - 'Cdr Abhilash Tomy in the Golden Globe Race 2018'.

https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/abhilashtomyGGR?utm_source=campaigner&utm_medium=fbautopost&utm_campaign=abhilashtomyGGR&utm_term=campaign_push&utm_content=254539&shby=1

Follow his page for all the excitement: https://www.facebook.com/abhilashtomysailing/

Pictures and video courtesy, Abhilash Tomy and The Week

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A sailor at heart and an explorer in soul

This post is not about me but a sailor who can certainly be called 'great' as he has achieved something that no ordinary man or woman can. This is about Commandar Abhilash Tomy, KC an Indian Naval Officer. What makes him an achiever is that; he is the first Indian, second Asian, and seventy-ninth person to complete a solo, unassisted, non-stop circumnavigation (the action or process of sailing around the world) under sail.

It's about India’s greatest naval adventure.

The boat used for the project, Sagar Parikrama of the indian Navy was the Indian Navy Sailing Vessel INSV Mhadei, custom built by the Indian Navy. A man who covered about 40000 kms, sailing around the world, alone and without any help or stops. INSV Mhadei, went 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 Mt. Everest.
He set off on the historic voyage from the Gateway of India, Mumbai on 1st November 2012. Moving slowly and steadily on the route marked for him. If you can say marked, in the first place! Remember nothing is marked on the sea; one has to make it on his own but the route is more or less just a guideline.
He crossed, from West to East, the Indian, Pacific, Southern and Atlantic Oceans, covering 23,100 nautical miles, rounding Cape Leeuwin in Australia, Cape Horn in South America and Cape of Good Hope in Africa. The journey took 151 days and was completed on 31 March 2013.

Tomy was awarded the Kirti Chakra (second highest peacetime gallantry award in India) and the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. He has spoken to students regarding the protection and conservation of the world's oceans. He has done TedX Videos, has numerous articles written about him and he has spoken on many different platforms with panache.
I was following his voyage closely just like millions of others from around the world through his blog and social media updates. He came out with a book, which was a pictorial representation of this feat, aptly titled 151.

The other day I received an invite from him, before the attachment could open I was smiling thinking that finally the man gets hooked! When I saw the invite it wasn't for his wedding but about the launch of another boat. The invite read,


Hi there,

You would have already read something about the Golden Globe Race 2018. 

Held for the first time in 1968, the race threw up the first person to circumnavigate the earth solo and non stop. Out of the nine entrants only one finished. 

The race is being repeated in 2018, with entrants requiring to use the same technology as 1968 participants, and I have a special invitation. I am building a replica of the Shuali which was the first to win this race.

The Thuriya will be launched on 7 August at Goa, and you are invited to the ceremony!

Please do confirm your presence.

I messaged him immediately, asking him if he had lost it. Why on earth would he want to do this again and this time being even more primitive, going back 50 years? To which his circumnavigation looked like a cake walk. He laughed it. I also told him that it'd cost a fortune, how was he going to manage the funds necessary for this voyage. 

Have learnt, from the history that the voyages were funded by the Kings and Queens. Thankful to them that the world is a smaller place today and there is so much travel and trade. Also the maritime industry is huge and touching almost everyone’s life. The Voyage of Vasco Da Gama was funded by the King of Portugal and that of Columbus was funded by the King of Spain.

I asked him if he had found the royalty that'd sponsor him. He said that he needed funds and in fair amounts. He had good chances of podium finish. Anything less than the funds he calculated might not be good enough but he'd still go. He was adamant not to approach any government bodies so relied on organisations to sponsor and general public to help generate funds. He said that he had fighting chances and any help would be good.

I guess we can be the royalty in our attitude and support this daredevil in his upcoming challenge. Commander Tomy, is one of India’s most prominent sailors and has been given one of five Special Invitations to join the Golden Globe Race.

A brief but jaw dropping history of the Golden Globe Race

The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, held in 1968–1969, and was the first round-the-world yacht race. It  was controversial due to the failure of most competitors to finish the race and because of the suicide of one entrant; however, it ultimately led to the founding of the BOC Challenge and Vendée Globe round-the-world races, both of which continue to be successful and popular.

The race was sponsored by the British Sunday Times. The Golden Globe trophy was offered to the first person to complete an unassisted, non-stop single-handed circumnavigation of the world via the great capes, and a separate £5,000 prize was offered for the fastest single-handed circumnavigation.

Nine sailors started the race; four retired before leaving the Atlantic Ocean. Of the five remaining, Chay Blyth, who had set off with absolutely no sailing experience, sailed past the Cape of Good Hope before retiring; Nigel Tetley sank with 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km) to go while leading; Donald Crowhurst, who, in desperation, attempted to fake a round-the-world voyage to avoid financial ruin, began to show signs of mental illness, and then committed suicide; and Bernard Moitessier, who rejected the philosophy behind a commercialised competition, abandoned the race while in a strong position to win and kept sailing non-stop until he reached Tahiti after circling the globe one and a half times. 
Robin Knox-Johnston was the only entrant to complete the race, becoming the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world. He was awarded both prizes, and later donated the £5,000 to a fund supporting Crowhurst's family.

To add to the dramatic history of the race, this I learnt from Tomy that all nine men were single except Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who had divorced his wife.  Figuratively speaking even he was single then. He was the only man who completed the Golden Globe Race, Guess what he did? He married the same lady he once divorced. Also Sir Knox- Johnston’s boat was built in Colaba, Mumbai, India.

Tomy is recreating what Sir Robin Knox-Johnston did in 1968, his boat The Thuriya is a replica of The Swahili used by Sir Knox- Johnston. Only thing not replicated is the divorce part as Tomy is all single! With his kind of madness and to keep doing something that is more challenging.  His aim is to get people to take yachting as a more serious sport. The Sea makes an individual understand the meaning of life and the realization that a little is certainly more! The only other person that I know who kept bettering himself was Sergei Bubka, the Russian pole vaulter who had no competition during his career.

I am sure Tomy will find sponsors; anyone of you reading this has a lead, would be really nice if it can reach our man.  Any organisation wants to sponsor the only Indian at the Golden Globe Race can certainly show their support and encouragement. 


All others who are reading this, now you can be a part of the race! Show your support on 
@Ketto fundraiser - 'Cdr Abhilash Tomy in the Golden Globe Race 2018'.

https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/abhilashtomyGGR?utm_source=campaigner&utm_medium=fbautopost&utm_campaign=abhilashtomyGGR&utm_term=campaign_push&utm_content=254539&shby=1

Follow his page for all the excitement: https://www.facebook.com/abhilashtomysailing/


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Can't say goodbye to my sailor!

The making of a queen
I recently discovered that a sailor’s wife is actually called a Queen! Late discovery but the feel of it has been there for ages. After the late discovery…. why is it sounding like a late harvest to me? May be I am putting all those moments as ingredients for making a good wine! Wine has clarity, taste, body, maturity and something unique to it in terms of being sweet, woody, earthy, or may be just plain dry! Let’s see what has made this wine strong, if it can be called so!
We were travelling across the state of Kerala (India) after our marriage. We spent almost half a month there. It was my choice for a honeymoon destination, over hubby's Maldives beach holiday. Reason? I’ve grown up in Kerala and love its people and culture. Childhood memories and growing up years are always special. I wanted him to connect with the place I had so many fond memories of.
In fact I use every opportunity to travel to the state and at every time possible! 
We were at the ancient palace at Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, clicking pictures like newly married couples do, and other tourists would offer to click some for us. There were no selfies those days, you see! An elderly lady who was sitting there, reminiscing in the beauty of the palace was watching us. She told my husband to always treat me like a queen. I really liked the way she said it, that brought a smile on his face and I could see sincerity and love in his eyes. It’s been many years but I have remained his queen, he never ceases to treat me like one. 

A queen has to always hold her head high 
Where does the strength come from? I guess it's just harnessed from within. She has to play multiple roles that of a wife, mother, son to the in laws and man of the house most of the times in her sailor's absence. The most difficult time for her is when the sailor is all set to join back on work. 
It isn’t any easy for him either. He starts preparing for it weeks in advance. It's more of an emotional preparation rather than collecting items on the packing list or completing errands on the 'to do' list. He’s going to be away from family, his near and dear ones for long. He may get to speak to them but it won’t be that regular. His children are going to achieve small milestones that he might miss. He also would miss the little family events children’s or his spouse’s birthdays, his anniversary or the festivities. He’s going to be away from all of the little joys of life. He prepares in his heart and mind to detach and be ready for the call of his duty. He knows he’s doing all this for his family, for their happiness. He thinks like a provider. The logic gets the better of him and the sailor is all set to go, sign on for his duty.
The queen prepares herself too. Showing all the strength that she can and keeping a smile on her face, assuring her man that she'll be fine and so will be everything else.

On a deeper level she starts missing him right from the moment there is an intimation of his joining back, missing him even before he left. Trying to, soak in as much as she could. Making him talk just to hear his voice, looking at his face and make a mental note of every fine line that might have appeared. Every mole that might have pronounced itself and see how broad his smile could get. These are the things that'll keep her going month after month till she meets her man again. This wait will never be easy but it'll certainly be 'worth it' in every single way!
Distance is to love like wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great!
The distance is just a matter of separating two in physicality but the hearts are connected. This connection strengthens the relationship and the love grows deeper. The countdown begins the day he leaves home and every passing day brings him closer home; with the hope of fair winds and following seas always.

A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it. ~ Helen Rowland

PS: pictures are taken from google with due credits


Monday, 3 July 2017

Professions and Relationships- is there any connection?

I had written an article for the Mariners Galaxy a portal that has it's tagline as Maritime world at one place.  Here's the article for you. This happens to be one of my most shared articles on the portal. It was litled, " Am so brave coz I am a sailor's wife".

It’s certainly being brave being a wife; no matter whose! 
Am sure you've heard the saying, Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I haven't read the book though, by the same title written by John Gray. It was always on the back burner and still remains there! May be one day soon I shall grab a copy and read it. 
Also, have heard that, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus but they suffer on Earth!

Coming to the point, how being married itself is being brave. I am certainly not an expert on the subject but I do have a Martian in my life.... actually three if the little Martians can be counted in the list! My first experience with this Martian was when we met for the first time, almost 13 years ago. Yes, we liked each other, when we got talking he spoke only his negatives. I wondered how someone couldn't think of anything positive in him, quite contrary to the general expression by most men. They try to impress the lady, may be this Martian had marriage on mind so he hit the nail on the head. If it struck it was good otherwise all was well; must have been the thoughts in his mind. It did work and worked how.....we are married!

I have read articles/ blogs/ queries coming from sailors’ wives and most of them have the tone, that of being brave, making supreme sacrifices or that of being different. All women are different! People are different including identical twins! Some common ones expressed by shippy wives are:

1. Loneliness’
Sailors wives have to be alone most of the times or for months together. That's true for all wives whose husbands are in the armed forces, paramilitary, police, are doctors or hoteliers for that matter. They are away generally and on important dates, they'll certainly be away! That doesn't make us much different isn't it?

2. Sailors are the best
Sailors are human beings and they can be good or not so good. Profession doesn't really have a bearing on one's character. Sailors are certainly good at multi tasking and have many skills. Agree they are great guys who can do almost everything and can get along with almost everyone. In their profession too they work with different nationalities and different teams on every contract. This makes them amicable and tolerant. You are certainly lucky if you managed to get the best out of them (I mean men here)

3. Love story
A write up by a shippy wife will always be on her love story. Have read so many love stories of the sailors, in their better halves' versions. Are people really interested in knowing how you met and what you did? All love stories have all the elements of a blockbuster and a sailor story is no different. It does have a dash of long distance romance but that garnish comes with the dishes churned out by many other professions such as marketing or IT for instance.

4. Sailor's queen
Every man worth his salt will ensure that his wife is treated, as well as lives the life befitting a queen. I personally feel a sailor's wife does most of the things on her own when her husband is away. She doesn't depend on a battery of servants to manage things for her. She is much more than a queen. She becomes a master, just like many other women who manage their homes, work and lives in general. 

I am asked so often, how do I deal being married to a sailor who is away from home for months. I think it's a choice I made.  I chose the man and he came as a 'package' that had his family, his profession and his identity. I am an independent woman, have my career, my children and my family. I am an equal half to my husband so we need to work together and manage our work and home front just like any other couple. 

A girl who is in a relationship with a sailor and wants to walk down the aisle with him must not be scared of the misinformed notions surrounding him by virtue of his profession. But must think of it being like any other relationship where the husband is away for a few months. It becomes a long distance relationship then, having its own pros and cons. The biggest being, distance makes the hearts grow fonder.

All husband-wife relationships involve love, respect, caring and sharing. Professions may have a little bearing on that but not overtly. Relations are more of understanding, mutual respect and to accept each other's differences. So prioritizing and celebrating those differences is the key. 
All husband-wife relationships involve love, respect, caring and sharing. Professions may have a little bearing on that but not overtly. Relations are more of understanding, mutual respect and to accept each other's differences. Men and women think differently, their brains are wired differently. Men will talk straight and women will look for some emotional 'aw moments' in them. They are genetically designed to read between the lines and they do a lot of that; whereas men will go by what is being said. This can be a little point of difference. It is this point that generally leads to the fall out or may be even  a break up. Toilet seat can lead to a furore, whether it has to be kept up or down! Life is certainly not that bowl; so prioritizing is the key. 

PS: pictures are taken from Google with due credits!