As the ship docked, Meera wondered how it must have crossed oceans to be where it is right now and how it would have been through so many journeys, some of its own and some of the others onboard.
While boarding the ship, Meera was made accustomed to the procedures that the ship crew has to go through. A thorough medical check-up was a part of this procedure. In her excitement, Meera had given living alone a very little thought. She had been raised in a cozy comfortable home where she was calling all the shots, and now she had to live alone on literally unknown waters. The thought of this added nervousness to her excitement and she started biting inside of her cheeks. While they were starting to get on with the boarding procedures, Meera realized that she has lost her bags at her hotel where the crew gathered before coming to the docks, which was 45 minutes away by car. “Shit” she murmured! The bags were supposed to be loaded by the hotel staff but they didn’t, imagine the emotional baggage that accompanied, pun intended. She called lost and found department of the hotel and persuaded them to come to the docks to hand over the luggage. Meera was biting the inside of her cheeks continuously while she called her roommate to vent out her irritation at this whole thing, never before had she undergone so much trouble with luggage and queues! She was already standing in the queue for more than 2 hours now and when her turn to board arrived, she had to ask the staff to wait for her and that she would join again at the back of the queue. Phew!! She was already tired now. Because for her waiting was more tiring than running a half marathon! After lingering for a couple of hours more, while biting her cheeks, the hotel staff turned up and gave her the bags. She called her roommate again to tell her that her luggage was delivered and this time she received some unsolicited advice, “Be careful Meera, these trips are really hard. For a girl like you this could be dangerous too, you could end up dead at the Bermuda triangle. (what?? thought Meera) Please re-think about going, I don’t want you to leave please”. Nervous Meera had nothing to say except biting her cheeks more now. She had not thought this through, ‘I must ask the captain of the ship to avoid the triangle’, she thought. While she contemplated not going, the ship made its final call for the crew. The gong of the ship made Meera even more nervous. Go-not go, go-not go, she was oscillating between these thoughts, when she saw a painter painting on the deck. GO!
Meera boarded the ship, and found herself fiddling through the papers that had to be shown, her tickets to board, the letters from the hiring company, the passports, the visas and in a jiffy she was in the doctor’s room for the mandatory check-up. Now the thing about check-ups is that they make you sick for no reason, and Meera was thinking what would happen if the doctor found out she was not brushing twice a day. The doctor asked her to open her mouth, and did some check-ups and he said “Well, it seems like you are a singer, your inner cheek is all swollen and bitten, the kinds we see in singers”. Meera didn’t know what to say but she chose to reply in her sweetest voice taking care of the staccato and legato “Ohhh yes that must be it” . After coming this far, she didn’t want to not be able to go on this trip because of a bitten cheek. The doctor burst out laughing and Meera was red with embarrassment. She took a few sips of water and tried to clear her throat and then act normal. She passed the assessment, of course she had to. Meera was 5 feet 5 inches in height, had the body of a swimmer, blonde hair, perfect eyesight, beautiful blue eyes and was fit as a fiddle. ‘Phew!!’ She thought, ‘that was tough!’ Little did she know about the surprises that awaited her on board the ship.
Meera was a virgin when she embarked the ship and she had heard some really nasty stories about people on the ship, the sailors etc. (of course from the same roommate), all this made her anxious. She walked to her floor with her luggage and once she was on the ship, all the hunky dory ideas of how beautiful the ocean would look and what fantastic things would happen were out of the picture. Meera was to live in the crew quarters which were 8×9 ft. in size, had bunk beds, were on the penultimate floor from the top of the ship and added to all this, the small room was to be shared with an another roommate, could be a boy or a girl and the worst, she had to share her toilet and bathroom with the adjacent room! ‘A really stinky start to the trip’ she thought!
The cruise took off and Meera went into her room. She was left agape
….to be continued