To the WAGS out there, for the sailors reading this post let me expand WAGS, it stands for Wives and Girl Friends. Apologies if you think I am underestimating your knowledge of the world but thought of simplifying anyway. Just like I had to tell my sailor what ‘lol’ stood for!
Ladies and sailors, let’s look at certain aspects in our relationships which indicate that we come from Venus and
Our Sailors belong to the Mars!
“Lets go to our cabin” – I’d be surprised and wonder where that was, but that was a long time ago, not anymore! Now I know it’s our room, mine most of the time as hubby uses his cabin while onboard!
“Shift to the port” or it could be to “the starboard” some other time. These often used terms for directions make me looking confused, ever more. That’s supposed to be the left or the right side for the people who can’t figure out. I still can’t get the hang of it myself. For a person who has to look at the eating hand (right hand) to check the right or the left side; port and starboard are a bit too much …Greek!
I recently discovered that there’s a term that describes my condition and it’s called direction dyslexia. I wasn’t too pleased with the discovery though. Can you imagine a Professor defining herself like that? Well the other day, I happened to talk about it to some friends, you are right I spoke in third person. Guess what? It was an eye opener; I learnt that it wasn’t me alone. There were others who faced very similar challenges! There have been instances when I am in an auto rickshaw or a taxi and need to give directions to the driver. When he goes exactly in the opposite of where I mentioned, it gets tricky to tell him, “Oh am sorry I meant the other way.”
Interesting names in shipping
Let me not add bow and stern, for that matter not even aft. Let’s keep our directions to good old Left and Right. All those who get confused with even these, like me let them check with their (eating) hands. That’s right (or left if you are a left- handed person).
The Captain or the Master is often referred to as the ‘Buddha’, not as in Lord but buddha that’s old in Hindi. I am certain that the maritime world knows what Buddha is! I discovered this term even before hubby told me. Soon after our marriage, when I went back to work a colleague who happened to be a Chief Engineer’s wife called me a Buddhi. When I looked at her questioningly, she explained why. On a lighter note it also shows the great camaraderie between the Deck and the Engine sides.
Similarly there are the Bada Saab, that’s the Chief Engineer, Second Saab is the second engineer, Teen Saab and Chaar Saab for third and fourth engineers respectively. Also Cookie for the Chief Cook , AB for the Able Seamen, Bosun, Batti Saab for the electrical officer and so on. There are different ranks but each having a nickname as well. Guess what? All of them are Indian in origin. Look at how our marine brothers have been globetrotters and globe influencers! Isn’t that really powerful? The British might have been credited with creating the modern maritime but we Indians have given what matters the most- the nicknames! What’s in a name they say…. there’s definitely a lot more than what one can imagine.
Everytime you buy something worth thousands will only be so few dollars for your sailor, they think in a difference currency than you! Leaving aside perception, there are certain other qualities that set the sailors apart. Let’s look at some of them.
The conservationist – Save water! for that matter save everything possible, all resources are to be judiciously used. I can’t even keep the tap on while doing dishes, if hubby is around he’ll come and turn it off anyway. No food will be thrown ever and absolutely no wastage of anything. Let’s not talk about money here, money is just a couple of dollars and they work so hard to earn them, hence the family deserves indulgence! Conservation doesn’t apply to money!
No lettering around – Swatch Bharat Abhiyan (Cleanliness Drive in India) came into practice now in our country, and government has levied a tax as well. We have been living with it ever since. It’s not a surprise that our children put chocolate wrappers in their pockets and bring them home, if they can’t find a dustbin in the vicinity.
Qualities That Makes Sailor’s Different
Safety First – Whatever is attempted has to be done with utmost safety in mind. If there is a doubt that means ‘doubt exists’ and something needs to be done about it. This applies every single time!
Know it all – He is the electrician, plumber, tailor, cook, driver, accountant, housekeeper, doctor so on and so forth. When he is around there’ll never be a need to call anyone as the sailor knows all these jobs, you see he is a jack of all trades. I call mine a Neem Hakim (slag for the quack) as he has a solution for everything. Your problems will be expressed later but his solution will be laid on the table first.
Spend thrift – They are big spenders. They work very hard and are away from their families for long periods of time so that they can give their family the very best. They rarely spend on themselves though; it’s always for their near and dear ones. That gives them true happiness. What else will you call selfless?
Too trusting – They trust every tele caller and every banker who connects with them. I sometimes wonder how these people know that the sailor is home. They have all the time to listen to the expert advice. The sailors are called to look at great investment ideas and schemes that’d seem too good to resist and beneficial in the long run. They generally oblige, trusting everything that’s told to them.
World language – They would’ve worked with so many nationalities that they could speak quite a few languages. Generally grammar may go for a toss as they are so used to not using proper English or proper sentences for that matter. Just for the ease of making things understandable to all. Imagine Italian, Russian, Filipino, Bangladeshi, Indian, Ukrainian, Chinese or Thai all working as one team. The language needs to be global …truly!
Ship as the home – When they are at work, the ship is home for the next 4-5 months. So every time you speak, the topic will be concerning weather, port, loading, discharging, crew change, dry dock, port state, vetting, pre- vetting etc. But they’ll love to hear everything from you, all the happenings around you, even the daily chores.
Routine – Everything is clockwork, be the watches, time for meals, sleep or wake up time. No one follows routine like a sailor does.
Understanding Time zones – The sailors are very good when it comes to understanding the weather, time zones, tides across the globe and even identifying the stars and constellations.
Expressive– They are quite the non expressive kinds. For that matter most men are but the sailors score a century here. Thanks to having “all boys” work teams. I guess they just learn to not express and it’s for others especially the spouse to understand. Their actions will speak for them, they don’t ever depend on words. So if you don’t hear,” Baby I love you” or “I’ve been missing you”. It’s absolutely normal. They mean all of that otherwise why would they call you using sat phones. Over the period of time you begin to love this particular quality of his.
The beverage love – They love their drinks whatever spirit or alcohol they prefer. It’s a luxury when they are on land. Most shipping companies don’t allow consumption of alcohol while onboard as some countries have laws against that.
Cosmetics- They understand the importance of beautification and cosmetics. The big lady that they live with is extremely demanding. She needs regular cleansing and painting work to be in her in top shape and with all aesthetics in place. Guess the sailor expects his own lady love to be the best. He certainly knows the maintenance part!
Ladies man– The sailors are quite popular with the ladies from time immemorial. Women have always loved to hear the stories of the seas and their adventures. It’s not just their uniform that makes the women swoon. Not to forget their jealousy for the mermaids, believed to be every sailor’s fantasy and imagination.
Eye for detail – It is said that women have great eye for detail, I wish to add that the sailors are equally good if not better. They take in details of every little thing. It’d be a surprise though when he wouldn’t notice what you are wearing but he’ll definitely tell if your eyeliner is askew!
These things make me love and value my sailor and I am sure you relate with them too! Some of you might have your own terms that you love to associate your sailor with. I am truly a sailor’s girl, fascinated with every aspect of his life and my heart goes with him. It doesn’t matter which part of the world he is in, for that matter even another planet. Keep celebrating the differences, that’s the beauty of our lives.
|Laxmi Todiwan is a Professor and Corporate Trainer. A hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades. Married to a Master Mariner and is a mother of two energetic boys. Learning and Development is close to her heart and associates herself with Skill training projects of the government. She writes for hospitality journals and also for columns in the local newspapers. She expresses her thoughts in a blog, The Optimist Diary.|