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MYSTIC LIFE

 

I was in the front deck of the Research vessel, all alone in a cane chair. Outside was complete dark; the sky was not visible excepting odious lightening every now and then. In the adjacent instrument room two scientists were deeply absorbed in recording the magnetic anomaly and the seabed features. The ship was following 890E longitude towards south. I was trying to attract them by waving hand and making sound. But the room was soundproof . With a few futile attempts I lost interest and looked forward to the breaking sea waves.

Flying fishes were dancing over them. The search light of the ship was mingling with the roaring waves and the dancing fishes.

Yes, I, was All alone, hundreds of kilometers away from my family, attending night duty to cover the seabed mapping. I came out of the instrument room to have fresh air. The burning smell of cellulose paper continuously scratched by marker stylus in the Ecosounder made me sick in the instrument room. The moving ship was making sound of it's own in the Engine room, altogether a different world. Continuous hish-hash sound with the roars of the waves and me in the deck, as if aligned in the same thread with beads of different kinds of dynasism- the mystic life and the nature. I was thinking what a change in some one's life style! Just a year before I was working in land in Rajasthan. The memory is so fresh that it seems only yesterday's event. My field area was in Udaipur district mainly on Aravalli-Pre Aravalli terrain of different rock types.

Myself and Reddy, my junior colleague used to take geological traverses everyday in the morning till late afternoon to record the characters of the rocks, imprinted fold, fault, foliation, lineation and many other features to unravel geological history. We were taking one such traverse in the north of Phtisarai or west of Debari, nearby villages- about 20 km east of Udaipur city. We started our observations from the top of the hill range of Aravalli and were getting down cross cutting different rock types following a deep incised valley.

 

It was early in the morning, the sky was cloudy. It was in the month of March. Red flowers of Shimul on either side of the valley were silently falling through which we were walking down. We were talking with each other and stopping at places to record geological features. The earliest fold in the form of recumbent to reclined in nature were in plenty preserved in hard Quartzite band within dolomites. We were engrossed in examining those. Suddenly, we found the day is more dark and droplets of water falling on the leaves of trees and bushes making tapur tupur sound, We became careful and folded our maps and kept in the haversack and had put our Brunton Compass in the leather case. Reddy told "it may rain heavily. Bandopadhyay sahab we should take shelter".

To this I immediately agreed and went aside a big tree. I told him pointing out a hill ridge " Reddy, do you see that hill top? Do you know, the other day I went there and found entirely of Conglomerate! In fact, it is a hinge zone". He said, "No, he has not seen that" I promised that I will take him there one day to show how a tight isoclinal fold result a long nose of the hinge zone. During our conversation the day was getting darker and darker. By that time the rain became little heavy and we were much down hill. From there, medow like peneplain of Pre-Aravalli domain were clearly visible. Actually, we were working along the contact zone of Aravalli-Pre Aravalli ages.

There was no cover over our head. Therefore, we were little concerned about the map and the Brunton. Looked around in search of such a cover. Nearby, there was a terrace like platform with a small cave. Carbonates in the dolomite might have been chemically eroded and formed this type of cave. What so ever, we did not hesitate further. With the help of the field coolies and a little climbing by crawling we took shelter in that cave. By that time the rainfall became torrential and water started sweeping through the valley. Intensity was getting momentum and the water level was rising every moment. Water column was just below the cave, we were panicky. Field coolies were also horrified. The time was around 1-30 p.m. or so. Speed of water flow increased by leaps and bounds. I said " Reddy, I guess it might be a flush flood. By the by, do you know swimming?"

- " Yes, I am a village boy. We used to swim across many big ponds. In fact, some festivals are also held every year in our village of which swimming is one of the major item. But sahab it is not possible in this wild pool of water. More over where to go?" - I understood his point. Yes, where to venture! We were totally gripped, motionless, speechless we were waiting for the rains to stop. I was thinking about my family who are waiting in the camp at Jhamarkotra. What is happening there! I can not presume anything, only the fearful water mass flowing in front of me carrying red flowers of shimul at times.

- I was awakened by a thud and I looked back. I found the second Engineer calling me and telling to hurry to go inside the cabin. We are in the eye of a cyclone. The ship was tussling. Sea water was thrashing the deck floor every now and then. I stood up and started running for the cabin. The alarm bell was blowing and the continuous phone call was ringing in my cabin. I picked up the phone, it was Captain of the ship on the other side.

- He said " Mr.Bandopadhyay, please tell your scientists not to get panicky. Not to worry at all. We are trying to get out of this stormy zone". He laughed and further added

- " You can see the movie 'Titanic" in your T.V. screen, it is running since long"!

- All other scientists assembled in my cabin. We watched the heavy rain and lightening outside through the cabin hole. I told them to sit and remain calm and not to watch the picture. Jokingly I told them "Because you will see and hear the life boat announcing, "Is anybody living?"

Contributing Author: Mr. Asimendu Bandopadhyay, uses his free time in writing. He has developed a writing style revealing the bondage of nature and the life. He wants to share & communicate those events of his own with the readers for their valuable feelings and interactions. The author was working as a Director in Geological Survey of India in the last phase of his service career. In his younger days worked in various field of geology with background of foreign training in United Kingdom under United Nations Development Programme Scheme in Marine Exploration. He gathered vast experience both in land and Ocean. Active participation as Chief Scientist in as many as 15 different geological cruises in the Bay of Bengal is in his credit. He took part in search of Fe-Mn nodules cruising 45 days at a stretch in sea in the Indian Ocean in Skandy Surveyor, a Norwegian Research Vessel. Published scientific papers in national and international journals. Besides scientific milieu, came across many human-inhuman experiences. Vast field of Rajasthan, the place of desert and his initial placement in the job ended in the deep sea through majestic happenings covering human feelings and scientific search. asimendubandopadhyay@yahoo.co.in  


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