I came in contact with large number of people to meet my professional demands. I love to talk, gossip and laugh with almost everyone. But most of the talks, gossips and chitchatting I do not remember. Some I do which are inspiring, knowledgeable and witty. Only once-every-gazillion years, I encounter someone who leaves a lasting impression on my mind; someone who is undeniably #madeofgreat. I am talking about Commander Abhilash Tomy who is the first Indian, second Asian and seventy – ninth in the world to complete a nonstop solo circumnavigation under sail that too unassisted. He was honored Kirti Chakra, the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award.
During Sagar Parikrama -2, Abhilash Tomy went for the epic voyage of 23100 nautical miles crossing Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in 151 days without touching any port and without any outside assistance from November, 2012 to March, 2013. He travelled from West to East rounding the three ‘Great Capes’ Cape Leeuwin in Australia, Cape Horn in South America and Cape of Good Hope in Africa. Fighting with waves of 10 meter height and wind speed more than 100 kmph was an extremely difficult task. Battling with chilly winds was an intense test of physical stamina. Solo-sailing involves great physical strength, mental endurance and technological know-how. The voyage not only includes beating the rough waves of sea but also to fight the solitude and the imponderables of life at sea.
I was one of Abhilash Tomy’s thousands of followers who were keeping up with his remarkable journey on social networking site. I was awed by his adventurous trip as well as by the fact that he was alone, all by himself in the oceans for 151 days. He had no human to company him. Only bugs, sea creatures, dolphins and birds were his companions throughout his journey. It was extremely difficult to stay alone for so many days without losing mental strength and physical stamina. I have never been alone for a single day then what to say of 151 days! This time span seems to be very lengthy to me.
During the last days of his voyage, he was facing the problem of shortage of drinking water as he was left with only 15 liters of fresh water because of contamination of drinking water with diesel. One such day, I commented on his Facebook status and asked, “What will you have in the lunch today?”
He replied, “I have ordered large sized pizza with mushroom, capsicum, corn and olives with extra cheese toppings which will be delivered any time from now.”
I really liked the way he replied me with a tinge of humor. I appreciated that he kept the things on light side in spite of all the difficulties he was going through. I was truly inspired by the way he was happy and cheerful even after facing all those difficulties and hardships of living alone on a boat in the vast ocean. I learnt from him that the sense of humor should not be lost even in extreme cases of hardship, loneliness and arduous situations.
He was sailing day and night. On boat, he worked for two hours and then took rest for an hour. He was not sleeping at a stretch but in spurts. That’s how he sailed continuously without any break. Through meditation he was able to maintain his courage, determination and mental strength. He was my inspiration behind my book on meditation namely ‘Japa Meditation – The Easiest Way to Calm the Mind’ in which I explain the age old deep philosophical teachings in a humorous way and complicated problems were sought out in a light-hearted manner.
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