Both me and my star sister are claustrophobic, just minor claustrophobic. But in the interiors of the ship and in the cabins, normal became claustrophobic and those who were already (like us) became even more clautrophobic!
Ultimately, it came to the verge that all of us spent as much time possible on the deck. If not on the beach or on a boat, we used to be on the deck. We got addicted to it!
The first island that we visited was Kavaratti-the capital of Lakshadweep. To reach the island, any of the islands, we had to anchor the ship far from coast- thanks to the shallow lagoons that were host to the famous corals and the life forms that the ecosystem supported. So we had to leap from the cruise to a motorboat and from that to the wet, grey, stone steps of the jetty. Cautiously climbing the steps, I raised my eyes to the first direct view of Kavaratti…
Scattered on a deck of about the size of a 200 metres track ground we were thirty seven odd groups of twos or threes and sometimes, fours. Tired as we were after transferring our luggage from one cabin to the other we came on the deck to spend some time out of the claustrophic corridors which reminded us of the mess we had created when the same cabin had been alloted to a guy and girl, alloted on different floors, so on and so forth. So some whiled away their time while others were thinking and talking of philosophical topics. And very few (like me) managed to let their souls free and escape the material world and escape into imagination. Lost in the beauty of the sky, the stars, the water, the waves, the people and life, I was left to my thoughts till my star sister came and sat next to me. Extracting the tendril of my thoughts from the roots of imagination, I managed to come back on earth to acknowledge the presence of my star sister next to me. We smiled and put our arms around each other’s torso, swaying to our own music which had become one as ds.
Our music was interuppted by another too familiar tune being hummed, a syllable thus stretched so as to pulsate peace into the hearts of anyone who listened to it- Aum. Attracted, we went and sat with our friends to perform Aarti on the deck- our first and only Aarti on the deck and the only one in our entire lives when we performed Aarti willingly and with all our hearts.
We sat beside each other as the monster beneath us thrummed with energy. The energy passed unto us as we too shivered with excitement. But with that excitement was a certain amount of pleasing satisfaction; satisfaction that I got from your presence. Waves splashed against the metal body of the monster that we rode upon and we got lost as we gazed at the designs that the water made as it swirled around the streamlined sides that were so accustomed to the sea. We were yet unaccustomed, though we were better balanced than those who accompanied us on this cruise-ship that we rode.
We sat together. Sometimes giving company to each other in silence, sometimes looking at each other and smiling as our eyes met and sometimes exchanging a few words. If someone teased us then we just blushed and lowered our gazes to the ground till they stopped. We soon overcame our shyness and sat with our legs hanging over the deck of the cruise, oblivious to the people around.
Soon it was time to go and before parting we just smiled at the soft expressions in each other’s eyes. That one smile signed a bond stating that no matter when or where, we were going to try to spend as much time with each other as possible. And we did.
There was a (series of) knock(s) on the door of our room to wake us up that belonged to our teacher. We were to get ready and assemble for breakfast and departure FAST. Harried that we were to be woken out of our deep slumbers, her words fell like rocks on our ears. We shook our heads from side to side, trying to make sense of what she had just said. And then it registered. We had only 45mins for the 5 of us to take a bath, get ready and leave. We just looked at each other and then, as it struck us, rushed to the bathroom. Being the fastest I secured it for my use first while I could hear the others forming a line after me. Late, and punished for being late, we gobbled our breakfast and hurried to embark on the next part of our journey- the ship Kavaratti.
Tired and fatigued as we were from our journey of 8hrs, us and our bodies were very thankful as we climbed onto our feet outside the hotel (Hotel Sea Lord) we were to spend our night in.
We stretched a little and our bones cracked in complaint at the slightest of moving. Determined to settle into our beds which were looking forward to our arrival, we tugged at our luggage, retreived the keys and settled in for the night. Unfortunately that was not for long as there was a continuous shuffle of feet outside and inside our rooms as people rummaged around the hotel, searching for goodness-alone-knows-what. The night was spent watching Two and a Half Men, Dr. Greys Anatomy and Master Chef Australia. This was followed by poses, cheeses and clicks. Then finally laying our exhausted cameras to rest, we submitted ourselves to our sleep and dreams so that we would have some energy left for the days coming up next.
Our luggages lay piled and scattered, waiting to be loaded at the back of the huge bus that was to transport us to a dream land- Lakshadweep. The bus was waiting for us to board it so it could be off and so its duty. The teachers were on their toes, rushing here and there and asking everyone to pack up and settle as soon as possible. We were told to follow the ‘buddy-rule’ i.e. always have someone with you no matter where you go. So I agreed to accompany my friend to the dorm to retrieve something she had forgotten. Returning, I made sure that my suitcase was up and safe ASAP. I was standing beside Him and apparently he was looking for me, for when the others pointed out that I was standing right behind him, he jumped and screamed, “Oh! Here you are!” Astonished, I did nothing but stare at him with my eyebrows vanishing in my hairline. Embarassed at his sudden (and loud) outburst, he looked down and blushed. And then I blushed too, for I then realized that he had indeed been looking for me earnestly. Everyone around us burst into peals of laughter as we blushed a deeper hue of red and approached the bus ASAP so that our red could be hidden in the black inner of the bus waiting for us. We settled down. The bus gave an excited shriek as we finally took off on our adventure.