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