Memories of a Receding Past: 36

Mumbai - Part III - Trip in a yacht

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At Bombay I met up with a batch-mate who was from the Customs and Excise Service. He was working as Collector Customs, Bombay. Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, that was his name, was a very sincere worker and a very good friend. I recall two very interesting trips out of Bombay with him. One was a trip to Uran in the yacht of a Customs officer.

The Customs officer, Gulshan Rai, had a yacht that was, if I am not mistaken, partly financed by the government. It was named Jaycus II after the Collector Customs who had rendered assistance in not only acquisition of the vessel but also in organizing a round the world solo trip for Gulshan in it. Built of fiberglass, it was a small yacht with a cabin and wherewithal to sustain one on a long trip. Gulshan was an interesting person, having travelled the world as he had done.

His yacht was anchored at the Gateway of India where he took in his supplies and we boarded the vessel. Slowly he meandered his way out of the crowd of boats of various kinds and once he was out of the traffic he headed for Uran. Uran in 1980s was just an outcrop of mainland with only a petroleum company having its storage facilities and a few villages. However, later it has seen some developmental activities. It took us around two hours to get to Uran where we had some beer and lunch.

Around 4.00 in the afternoon we commenced our “voyage” back home. Up to half way down it was all very calm and uneventful. Soon, however, the wind gathered strength and ominous dark clouds seemingly came out of nowhere in the Western sky. The wind progressively became more violent as the sky darkened and the sea became turbulent. The yacht appeared small and fragile in the rough weather with waves all of a sudden seemed far too violently buffetting the yacht. Gulshan would keep a continuous chatter keeping everyone’s morale up. As we came near the Gateway of India the waters became more turbulent as they would rush towards land, hit the wall and come back with renewed vigour. Inside the cabin we could not sit down and had to use all our strength to steady ourselves on our legs. We could see the Taj Hotel and Tower go bobbing up and down through the glass windows as the boat went up and down with the waves.

At last, after interminable minutes, we hit terra firma. We were home – with no harm done to any of us. Apart from the scary end it was a very interesting outing.

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More by :  Proloy Bagchi

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