3 July 2009

A buoy in the water

Pai spent what seemed like ages on a sail-less (row-less & motor-less) boat floating helplessly in the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Though he had initially thanked all the stars for providing him with the presence of mind to run for the safety boats while the ship was tilting, he now curses all the gods for putting him through this misery of slow death. The safety boat, that he is on, moves very slowly only with the little movement on the ocean surface. The boat seems almost still. Pai wishes that the relentless sun would at least fry-off his noisy brains at least. Severely dehydrated, hungry, sun-burned and hallucinating, he contemplates suicide. He once jumped out of the boat to drown himself only to instinctively swim and pull himself back in…curses his father for teaching him to swim when he was six. His father had taught him never to give up in life.

After a few more miserable days: He sees something on the surface. He was just able to sit upright only because his thirst was quenched by a drizzle that blessed his boat’s location a few hours ago. What’s on the ocean surface is flotsam…a piece of tarpaulin…a sail! It’s what was lost of the safety boat in the violent drop into the water. This will certainly help the boat move at least in some direction. Something is better than nothing. Some progress is better than being stationary. Pai realizes that it is coincidental that the sail & boat crossed (in the least of probabilities…considering the sheer expanse of the ocean area). There should be some surface current carrying what floats towards a particular direction. This current carried the boat and sail in the same direction.

[After a few more weeks] Pai was sure the boat is moving now; but was it still in circles….towards nowhere? Pai could make out the difference in the water color and the surface choppiness. Wondered where the hell in the world he was, was he near land? He could see nothing in the horizon except water. He was starting to give up hope.

[After a few days (?)] He was sleeping too much the last couple of days, so was up when the first lights came up the horizon. Pai almost sees something and then it disappears. Was it hallucination? Whatever it was that's his only glimmer of hope, he has to try and reach whatever it is. Energy explodes into his being and he tries his best to use the sail to direct the boat faster towards that possibility. Occasionally he uses his hands as row. After what seems like an eternity, he sees it clearly this time…on the horizon…it's a top of a coconut tree! Thrilled and now brimming with optimism we works as an athlete would. As luck has it one of the rows, that was also lost earlier in the violent fall, is also found floating...this is too much of a coincidence, does the ocean have intelligence? He picks it up and put it to use like a man driven by a vision.

Pai has to reach close enough to bring himself to the notice of the few people on the island. He gets the feeling they would soon leave on the yacht anchored close. He shouts, waves and beats the water frantically with the row until one of them finally sees him. He is saved ! And he praises his stars repeatedly for getting him back to civilization.

Musings: Life is meaningful in pursuit, else it is like a flotsam


  1. good story, u said it life is meaning full only in pursuit!!!!