I haven’t traveled in a boat for at least 13 years now. There was a time when, boats and boat yards used to be part of my life. A time when I waited patiently for a ferry boat to come to Island to take me to school. The loud noise that came from the engines, the stench of diesel, the cold metal seats, the thick khaki colored canvas flaps that served as curtains when it rained, otherwise rolled up and tied around with ropes were all part of life.
I knew that the sea would be different on the same time on different days. I learned the sky and clouds determined their moods. Some mornings used to be fresh and crisp like a starched cotton sheet. The sky would be a clear happy blue, with fluffy white pristine clouds here and there. There was a long road near the boat yard which was sidelined with red and yellow Gulmohar tress, which would be in full bloom during spring. They stood like bouquets lining the land
Some mornings used to be dark and grey. There would be dark clouds above our yard and a chilly wind used to lift my uniform up like an umbrella and make my hair fall all around my face. When it rained heavily on early mornings, fog used to fill around us and we wouldn’t be able to see a thing around us except the people standing next to you. Everything would be one grey paining. And then the boat would suddenly arrive out of the mist, its sharp bell light in the front cutting across the fog with its powerful beam
Sometimes on stormy days, while we were in the boat there would be thunder and lightning. Waves would lash up inside the boat, papers and handkerchiefs used to fly away from people, at times the boat’s engine used to die in the middle of the sea and once or twice it almost started drifting towards the ocean which was just across a channel. Then the coast guard or nearby fishing boats used to come and rescue us after the alarm was pulled. Now when I think of it, it is actually scary. But back then never for once had a thought occurred in all those years that the boat might sink. The sea always made me feel safe. The sea always made me feel at home. The sea was the real deal.
Yesterday after all these years I took a boat ride. Everything had changed, the boats were new, there was nothing familiar about it anymore. It had become smaller, or maybe I have grown and the magnitude the old boats had changed when I was small girl. The surroundings had changed, there were far too many buildings and ports and all those jazzy stuff the dp world had bought to us. The route itself had changed. And all the Gulmohar trees in Island dint flower anymore. They had become bare. But the sea was still there, still the same, nothing had changed about it. The sea was where I belonged!
Few pics from yesterday