The sea is an unforgiving entity of vastness, miles and miles of nothingness all around, making the heart yearn for that personal touch; that heartfelt conversation with a loved one and the healing properties that come with it. Although that satellite phone call does not do justice to this feeling of being wanted, it does act as a soothing medium to help curb the unrest and the sadness most of the times. Frankly speaking, there is only that much that a seafarer can use as a temporary substitute for the power of love.
However, we have previously read a love story where two people at sea have gotten together and eventually decided to tie the knot; a story of the triumph of love that touched the hearts of readers across the world. How special it must be for two people to get together under the immense work timetable at onboard merchant ship and then somehow let the faith in love work its magic ending up in the sacred institution of permanent togetherness that is marriage. Amid all the speculation of the ever increasing pressure onboard, it is indeed heartwarming to come across a story which is about love; probably the strongest force that exists.
This is another such story of two such lovely people, Simran Mann and Akash Pratap Singh, who met each other at sea and eventually tied the knot on the 29th of April, 2017 after six triumphant years of believing in the power of love.
Six years back, Simran finished her training at an institute in Mumbai. Naturally, like us all, she was excited and exuberant about joining a merchant navy kick-starting her career as an officer. Little did she know that her life would welcome a positive change and that she would find her soulmate.
Again like us all, she joined ship and was consumed with ongoings onboard, mesmerised by the amazing views surrounding her throughout the day, gaining interest in the professional aspects of ship operations while realising her love of the nature given the pure bliss of the performance that nature puts up in front of us while at sea.
A lot that is learnt about being an officer is done on the job, with constant help from understanding seniors who take time out to explain processes and the complexities of working onboard; time taken out from their packed schedules to nurture a junior who is yet to grasp the expertise needed. In comes Akash, the classic mark of a quality officer who rendered all the help he could to Simran. Being a lone female on ship is not easy; it is necessary to have a mentor who guides one through the intricacies of ship life. Akash did all he could, protecting her from unnecessary trouble onboard and at the same time assisting her with her work, often showing up to surprise her after completing his own set of tasks. Naturally, the connection was being developed gradually and in her statement about this love story, Simran was vocal about the fact that this got her to respect Akash a lot and his efforts towards being her support system. This beautiful story progressed as they started taking walks up to the fo’c’sle, watching the waves crash, spending hours talking about myriad things- a process anyone who has been/is in/or ever will be in love fully understands! No amount of words and no measure time is ever enough.
Soon enough, it was time for Akash to be signed off. He had completed his contract and the office sent in the news. Obviously, Simran was sad at the prospect of him leaving and went into a bit of a crisis, spending sleepless nights as the vessel was about to reaching port, not being able to make sense of this sudden jolt. The strong woman that she is, and kudos to her for doing so, she decided to tell him everything the next day; and by everything it basically meant that she decided to tell him how she felt about him; that she had developed feelings for him and wanted to be together. A very bold lady indeed, Simran poured her heart out and she told Marine Insight that she was pretty straight up about it! She asked him if he had a girlfriend, she told him that she might know much about him but that she definitely knows that she has strong feelings for him. Akash was intelligent enough to realise that she was a special woman, capable of standing up to him without a care and expressed how she felt, without the natural fear of rejection or disappointment- such is the power of love! This was the first step and Akash and Simran decided that they would be together against all odds. With this amazing win of love over distance, they parted, and as Simran says “I bid him goodbye with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes”- inexplicable, beautiful and brave.
They met after almost a year of separation. With little to no communication, they endured the separation and waited for each other for almost a year. Such was bond that they pulled through a whole year- a prime example of how strong a real relationship can be.
There were hurdles in the form of different religions, caste, languages spoken. But who cares! These two were in love and nothing was to stop them. After six years of thorough commitment and dedication, they got married on the 29th of April, 2017 (fills up the heart with joy, doesn’t it?!). In her conversation with Marine Insight, she describes how grateful she is for the profession and all that it brought into her life and we can’t help but feel extremely proud of it all ourselves.
In today’s world of quick fixes, right swipes and a casual approach towards relationships, this kind of a story brings about a solid reassurance that love will always be triumphant. As Shahrukh Khan, bollywood superstar and the biggest peddler of love put it out there in the world though his TED talk – “The present you is brave. The present you is hopeful. The present you is innovative and resourceful. And, of course, the present you is annoyingly indefinable,” Khan said.
The dignity of a life, a human being, a culture, a religion, a country actually resides in its ability for grace and compassion, he continues. “I’ve learned that whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive, is perhaps the oldest and the simplest emotion known to mankind, and that is love”
Our heartiest congratulations to Simran and Akash- may the best of your past be the worst of your future. And for the rest of the romantics out there influenced and inspired by this story, be brave yet compassionate, be bold yet understanding and most importantly, always believe in love.
You may also like to read – Sailor Couple: United By The Strength of Love And The Sea
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Shilavadra Bhattacharjee is a shipbroker with a background in commercial operations after having sailed onboard as a Third Officer. His interests primarily lie in the energy sector, books and travelling.