We crossed Diego Garcia on the 5th of December at night. There were aircrafts flying about. The island was so much aglow with light, I wondered if global warming was put on a backburner ever since I left mainland India.
Earlier in the day we fuelled from Suvarna for the second time in this voyage. Wind has been so elusive in this bored ocean that we have had no choice but to motor so far. There is nothing attractive about motoring barring the fact that it drowns the voice of my guitar when I play it on the deck in the evenings. Therefore, when the crew looks at me but can’t hear a single chord even when they strain, I look like a maestro and I am glad. I like holding the guitar and not play it because it reminds me of a woman’s waist I once caressed.
I must again thank Captain GP for supplying me with a fine selection of books- one from almost every continent and genre. James Clavell’s “King Rat” was followed by Geza Gardonyi’s “Slave of the Huns” (“the national book of Hungary” – GP) and now I am on Homer’s Illiad (“because you are at sea and sailing” – GP).
After fuelling we were customarily invited by the Commanding Officer, Cdr Mundakkal, to the ship for ablutions and dining. The skipper wanted me to decide the order in which we were to leave for, he said, “you are the First Mate and adam (admin) is your concern.” I retorted with “I sure am the First Mate and I will make it a point to mate first. Therefore, it is Eve that concerns me and not adam”. We had a hearty laugh, the two of us who understood, and I let the skipper off first with Khajuria. It took them two hours to get back and when it was my turn, the EXO invited me to his cabin for a shower. It was confusing because I did not know whether it was the cold water or the hot water that gave me more pleasure. I dined with my coursemate, James John and spoke of old times and new, especially of a trip we made in 2000 to Rajasthan.