What is love? A question that has plagued humans since the dawn of time. Philosophers, thinkers, writers, travellers have all pondered over this complex emotion with myriad explanations yet no single definitive answer. Here’s what the iPhone, with all the modern permutations and combinations at its disposal, had to say:
Love is not tangible, yet it’s the strongest emotion there is. It’s fleeting, yet it can hold the ground under you rock solid. Love transcends boundaries, distances and in some uncanny way, even time and space.
There is something about the sea that we all feel. It’s a place we all relate to, confide in and make memories with. The sea always makes a great story and such is the story of Minakshi and Arun, reaffirming our belief in the strength of relationships and the beauty of our merchant navy profession.
Minakshi Kumar was born into a Hindu family to Mr. Sunil Kumar and Mrs. Manju Devi. Being brought up with the discipline and culture of an army environment, she romanticised the merchant navy from an early age. Upon completing her XIIth from the Army School, she went on to do her Bachelors in Nautical Science from the Haldia Institute of Maritime Studies and Research. Currently serving as a Second Mate with the reputed Wallem Shipmanagement, it has been 6 years since she started sailing and like the rest of us; she proudly proclaims that it continues to be an absolute pleasure!
Arun Roberts, hailing from a Christian family in the south of India, completed his engineering from the highly sought after BITS Pilani and is serving as a second engineer with the same shipping company. Again, as most of us like to take pride in, he loves sailing and always wanted to be a marine engineer.
Destiny brought these two together on MT Hafnia Phoenix (formerly known as Freja Phoenix), which was her second ship with Wallem. Roberts was a second engineer on the same vessel and these two had an instant connection; one that is felt strongly enough to know that it would lead to something special. As time passed, the fondness between them grew stronger and before they would realise it, it turned into love! Time was short and he had to sign off a week after she joined, but like we already know, love knows no concept of time. This connection resulted in them dating for a year and half, and as with all matters of the heart that cannot keep two people apart, they got engaged on the 31st of May, 2015. At this point, the story of love triumphs over our sensibilities but it gets better; the both of them got married recently on the 16th of May, 2016.
The couple credit their togetherness and the strength of their relationship to the profession of merchant navy. She is vocal in saying that this being a global industry, they dared to step across the barriers of religion and the stereotypes associated with regard to the opinions in India with the help of their respective, supportive families. So far, so good, they say; evidently enough, they have a great time together with mutual support in understanding each other’s situations while spending time apart at sea. Being in the same profession renders them the mental faculty to handle each other with the due love, respect and strength. Minakshi is also visibly joyous and honest in her love for her in laws; she says that they give her immense freedom when it comes to pursuing her dreams in life.
As with everything in life, the show must go on. Time comes when they have to bid adieu to each other for their stint at sea, leaving the couple with unflinching sadness. With both individuals at sea, connectivity is an issue and any seafarer will vouch for the pain in not being able to see, touch or talk to a loved one. It’s a gutting feeling that cannot be explained, only to provide each and every mariner with more strength to make it through their time alone.
Minakshi is almost childlike in her sheer excitement in speaking about the vacation when they can spend uninterrupted time together, without a care in the world (again, something we are all well familiar with). Obviously, they long for the time when they can be together on one ship, as I’m sure all of us would be for them both.
So is it easy to claim that shippies have no substantial personal life owing to their profession? With this heartwarming tale of love, it is rather acceptable to say that if the love is strong enough, it can endure anything thrown at it. Naturally, being away from a loved one isn’t easy but nothing good in life comes easy anyway. One must truly believe in the positivity that encompasses our profession, the ability it gives us with regard to financial security, travel and most of all, the realisation that human relations must be valued; a realisation that comes from staying away from the ones that mean the most.
To quote the great Bob Marley “Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life”
All of the world’s happiness to this fantastic couple. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing for both of them round the year, personally as well as professionally!
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