Every kid in Tanzania had to come to India for a 5-year graduation program once the 12-year general education was over. I left home for the first time, away from the safe warm comforts of Mom and Dad. I boarded the ship at Dar es Salaam.The departure was heart wrenching and the travel fearful as everything was going to be a new adventure.
Every night of that 21-day journey I would step out from the 3rd class community rows of bunk beds and sit on the deck alone.
But I was never alone. In the glistening waters of a moonlit night I could see dolphins, large ones riding the wake of our ship almost like a surfer would catch a wave. On a moonless night I could see them having fun near our ship lights as if to reassure my apprehensive self that they understand and that all is well!
The Ocean would enthrall me. I sensed a power far beyond my imagination, as the sea and the sky were infinite to a child’s eye. I began to believe that there might be a God, if there is so much beyond my sense of the limited world!
I learned from the Captain that the wondrous ocean covered 70% of the earth’s surface. No wonder our earth is called the “blue planet”. I saw coral reefs at Seychelles and chose to wander around the colorful island studying the radiant street exhibits of coral! Today, two thirds of the coral on our planet is endangered! And due to the general effect of climate change, several reefs around Seychelles are crumbling.
I missed the ocean and in my first few years I chose to stay in Chennai especially when I finally settled with my family in India, so that I can be near the waters. I would travel often to Mahabalipuram for my shoots and family recreations. This picture is with my kids, Sapna Sudhir, Sheetal Sudhir and Afshan Chhabria in Mahabalipuram. They imbibed my love for the sea and expended their exuberance by skipping the waves.
Today, I continue to sense the ocean as the big-time chief who reflects my infinite one. The dolphins are my angel buddies, comforting and always there! Between them I am ok!
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