12/06/2019 11:00 hrs
Okay AV. I’ll give you my first impressions on seeing this mail.
What really is war? – The topic. I am like: Okaaaaayyyy (with the long ‘a’ followed by an equally long ‘y’), someone has written me a mail on a completely different topic. I was expecting the weather and meme and news shit.
So I open it to see a long mail. I read the first paragraph and I immediately close the mail. Don’t get offended here, the reason will follow. I had to write to a couple of people and so I decided I will do that first and get back to this mail, sit and read it properly and type the reply which will be long.
WOW. I mean what a mail. Straight to the point of discussion. I am really impressed. I guess I haven’t received this kind of mail ever in my life. Oh I do share mails with one of my best friend on life and relationships and current ebbs and flow of life. But to talk about a topic that is really related to your everyday life, that is new. I am not saying war is not something we encounter on a daily basis. Turn on the news channels and that is all there is to see. It is something we can talk and discuss and which I think people should do more often.
So before I get into my take on war, I’ll just update you with the weather status here. 😛 Well we are hit by the cyclone Vayu today. It hit us at 2:30 in the morning, and now the wind speeds are nearly 35 knots/hr. It is expected to go up to 70 by today evening and this should last for a couple of days more. Nothing to worry about as our rig – which is a jack up rig (you can Google and see the images and get a feel of what it is) – doesn’t get affected by it much. Well the loose item have been secured. So we are ready for it. I went out in the morning when the rain stopped and the winds are crazy. It pushes you like really hard and you have to put in an effort to walk against it. As I am writing this, the winds speeds have picked up and the rains are lashing on my window. The sea has turned dark and rough and the waves are growing tall with big undulations on its surface. I love the sea because of this reason, it is beautiful and scary at the same time, mysterious to its core. I love mysteries.
Speaking on war, oh boy, it is a fragile and tough topic. There is this quote called Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan and in that he says in one of the paragraphs a beautiful truth:
Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of all the countless people killed and dead by generals and conquerors alike just to be the temporary rulers of a fraction of the earth which in itself is a mote of dust lying suspended in the vast cosmos.
I recently read the book the subtle art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson and there is something he talks about in the book which is feel is very similar to the quote you shared by Julian Barnes. He says that we have two selves to us when it comes to our past: the experiencing self and the remembering self. Now ideally the experiencing self should dictate our memories as it will give us a true picture of what we had gone through at that particular point of time. But sadly it’s the remembering self that takes control and takes the front seat. It creates a memory of the experience we had and thus the experience can be totally changed and fabricated in a way to bring forward the good part of it and ditch out the painful ones. So it is true only that we do modify our memories to suit our needs. And I guess history has also undergone the same process as it has been essentially handcrafted by us, our remembering selves. What was the true experience is something we will never be able to fathom and experience.
Okay. Wow this mail has gotten so big. The BGM of the keys is really good to hear. I hope our talks on topics will prompt me to go back to writing my blog and making sure it stays updated. I have been very lethargic to be honest in a long time. If you have time, do go through my blog and give me your inputs, I would really love them.
I think it is time to end this mail. I hope I didn’t bore you, you certainly didn’t as any thought that make you think and write on in the middle of the sea is welcomed with a warm heart. Even my narrative is haphazard. Makes me think how these writers sit in one place and write. How can you channel your thoughts for an hour and so and sit and write? Have they secretly gained a heightened state of mindfulness which makes them do this willfully on a daily basis? Gosh that’s crazy.
And I was able to cut away a good amount of time to sit and write this. Thank you for that.
13/06/2019 08:30 hrs
Okay so here is the update: the cyclone has hit us and we have lost our internet connectivity. The sky is grey and cloudy and the winds are lashing heavily onto us. The wind speed has reached 60 knots (110 kmph) and it has become impossible to stand outside. The rains are falling intermittently, but it is the wind that is the culprit. And because of it the waves and swell have risen to great proportions.
I was hoping I could mail you this yesterday itself but because of the relentless rain our comms have been down and I think it will be back in working condition tomorrow or on Saturday.
So since I am kinda stuck in the sea I will share you my experience of these two days. The first our chopper landed on the rig (Tuesday), the sea was very calm and quiet. A mysterious quietness could be seen in the sea. There were no waves and the swell was minimum and uniform. There was no wind you could say. No white frothy waves were being formed on the surface of the sea and it did seem quite weird. The sky was crystal clear and no clouds were to be seen. Visibility was very far, I could see clearly the other unmanned platforms and floater rig in the distance with great clarity. Give or take the visibility might have been a minimum of 5 kms.
The color of the sea. Uff now this is a trippy topic to talk about. I don’t know how much you would be able to grasp the feeling of it through my description but I will try my best. The sea is the best must hypnotizing blue you will ever see in your life. Blue. No shades of green or brown or red or yellow. Simply pure blue. And this keeps on changing shades throughout the course of the day depending on the sun and its intensity. It is mostly aqua blue, yes aqua blue. And it is very clear, like one can see clearly up to depths of 2-3 meters. And that is something you will never see elsewhere. Except in the deep waters. There is nil pollution and the sea growth is way down below in the surface of the sea bed which is nearly 60 meters below.
When the sun is striking hard, go to the shade of a jack room and peering into the sea you will be mesmerized and awestruck by the beauty of the blue you see. If I could have clicked a picture of it, I wouldn’t need to adjust its saturation at all. It’s that gorgeous. And when the frothy waves strike it, the color changes to turquoise at that part and you can see the different colors mingling and playing with each other. White, aqua blue, turquoise and navy blue. The predominant colors you will see. And these colors are more than enough to weave some beautiful magic.
So as I was saying, on Tuesday the sea was smooth. In the evening we went for a walk in the helideck. The sun had turned crimson after the sun had sent and it was beautiful. If a painter could have been present there, he would have kept his aisle ready and would have diligently started in capturing the frame into his canvas, the sky was riot of colors, the sea a calm and quiet baby sleeping peacefully with his tummy full and the wind was nowhere to be seen. A calm before the storm. We were in the high pressure region.
And yesterday it all went for flip. Like a total flip. Heavy winds, rough seas, dark and moody skies with the sun nowhere to be seen. Now we were in the low pressure region of the cyclone and it will be passing through us. The only thing to do is sit tight and hope everything goes well. By yesterday afternoon the waves coupled with winds had started to sway our rig a bit. From time to time we could feel the brute force of it hitting our legs of the rig (see a picture for that, the three tripod like things are called legs and they go down and penetrate firmly into the seabed) and swaying us. A 1° sway could be felt which I later confirmed in the spirit level meter we have. Boy now that is scary. I mean this is my second shift in an offshore rig and here I am in the middle of a cyclone. Downright crazy.
Stuck in our accommodation area, we have to kill our time. Typing out the reply to your mail yesterday killed some time for me and I am grateful for that. Today also I am faced with the same situation and thus this piece of writing. Killing time and documenting my time here. More like a journal you could day. I hope you don’t get scared by the huge email. Anyways so we resorted to playing caroms and occasionally my senior and I would go out in the open where the wind force was less and look at the sea. Spending some time looking out in the vast open sea makes you feel a little better when you are subjected to watching TV for quite some time. Oh and yes our TV is working. Airtel dish TV is working. Thank god for that. I wonder what would have happened if that too went down. We would have to resort to see movies to cut away our time.
Yeah so our way of cutting time is TV, caroms, enjoying her show Mother Nature has put out in the open, eat, sleep, read and write – at least for me.
I brought two books this time knowing that there wouldn’t be much work this shift as some repair job is going on. And I have started one of them – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. A book on philosophy. I thought why not give it a try when you are stuck in the middle of the sea with no social media and just you and your solitude and the sea around you. From the likes of it, I think the book will grow around me or I will grow around it.
I am taking a break here now. I think I will be back again to give you how my day is progressing today. Oh and yesterday because we had TV, we sat down wand watched the match between Australia and Pakistan. It was a good match and Pakistan did have a chance towards the end to gain control of the match and win it. But they fucked it up and lost. Australia did play comprehensively and they did deserve to win it. Today there is India’s match against New Zealand from 3 pm onwards. Hoping that our cable doesn’t ditch us and we get to see the math without much hassles.
And now I have to think of a way to cut my time till the afternoon. Hmmm… it’s going to be a task only.
See you later then dear.
13/06/2019 18:30 hrs
Okay so the cyclone has created a bit of havoc in our rig. It has successfully destroyed a part of our working area and this is something that has not happened since the commissioning of this rig which was in 1983. The veterans in the rig are left speechless at what the cyclone has done and it is a problem that is out of syllabus. There are only vague ideas to solve it and they are not that safe too. Because if something happens you will be falling from a height of 15 meters into the ice cold sea. Death would be imminent. Still something has to be done there with the utmost safety.
So the day went by observing this thing. The India – New Zealand match is not happening due to the rains there. Internet has come back and the local phone is working. And so I think I will be able to finally send you this email.
The weather will remain windy and cyclonic for the next day also, that is what the internet says. There is this cool site you can use to check out wind speeds on earth: earth.nullschool.net Great graphic visualizing the wind flow on earth. Check out the Arabian Sea region near Gujarat. That is cyclone Vayu.
Anyways the weekends are coming up. Hope you have a good time. This mail has become pretty long I know but well it gives you a glimpse into what my life was in these two days.