Friday, December 9, 2011


 NOSTALGIA causes interaction with deep rooted emotions and feelings within the psyche. It can be a difficult emotion and trigger sadness , at it is a recall of past events and old emotions .  

It gives you a dull pain inside the heart , as you know there is no reverse gear— paradoxically  Utopia in reverse.  

Old events can never happen again.  Old personalities can never be the same again.  

A feeling of sadness and longing is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as mist resembles the rain. 

Some magic inside the subconscious mind -- past becomes present for that fleeting moment , with emotional chords doing that sweet twang!.  

I found some old pictures-- it reminded me that I used to be young.
Above is my wife 47 years ago. Their 200 year old ancestral tharavadu house , which they sold -- is now converted to a church.

Above is my elder son, who is now a computer engineer. Real Amul baby he was.

This is my wife's school ( Auxilium convent , Mumbai ) gang--who came to visit my container ship at Mumbai. I guess they believed that I was the Captain of a huge ship - only after seeing the Abandon ship Muster list posted on the notice board.

To be frank I used to look young for my age. When this ship went to USA in 1984, the US Coast Guard came to my cabin, started whispering KHUSSR PHUSSSR to each other, and then they went to the alleyway for further secret discussions and parleys .  Finally they came back inside and wanted to see my passport and Seaman's book.  

I asked them- why?   

The Chief of this USCG six man boarding party said " Captain don't you think you are too young to cross the Atlantic!".  So I told them off  "  This is my third ship as Captain, and I have crossed two larger oceans Pacific and Indian . And my wife is in the bedroom-- I am NOT the Captain's son . You are excused,  as while entering New York today, the Pilot came on bridge and tells my Cadet - GOOD MORNING CAPTAIN  - and gives him the newspaper!"

   Above picture is me and mE wife-- at our honeymoon.

Above picture is me as a young Second Mate. The cycle was used by the Duty officer for his rounds. Taking a round of that (VLCC tanker)  on deck meant walking nearly ONE KILOMETER.

That is me as a Chief officer with 3 stripes. " Third Mate-- call me when it is time to do COW ( Crude oil wash )!"

Enjoying a swim 16 years ago!

I allow my Cadets to run free.  I believe if young COLTS must win the jackpot later in life, you cant crush their spirits early in life.  I remember this particular cadet came to for advise. He had always ignored his girlfriend who kept throwing herself at him. Now he is feeling a wee bit bad for she has just won "MISS INDIA contest!"

When my wife first sailed with me in 1983, she cornered me one day.

She demanded " I want to know how you earn your wages. You do nothing throughout the day. You wake up at 9 AM, by the time you sit on your desk it is 10 AM.  Between 10 and 10:45 whoever grabs  your signature , gets it.  The Purser comes at 1046, and you tell him --sorry it is my beer time.  Then you have your lunch and go to sleep.  At 4:30PM after tea, you go down and play TT and bullshit around playing TEEN PATTHI .  Then you take a bath, have a beer and go for dinner.  Then you write your night orders after having some discussions with the Chief officer and Chief Engineer on bridge and come down to watch a movie. Then you go to sleep . There goes another day--

How do you earn your wages?"

I replied " Patience baby!  Captain is meant to command and not to work.  He will work only when warranted -- this is the way the cookie crumbles at sea!"

Then my non ice class ship had to load cargo at a port . Fantastic freight cargo was waiting in a pack ice bound port.  All ice-class ships had got stuck, damaged their bows and propeller .  The ice breakers were rescuing only stuck ships--  and if you get stuck in pack ice, your turn could come 3 weeks later!"

For three days I was on the bridge doing ice navigation.  Cannot come down for a crap or even to brush my teeth. 

You get stuck , then you have to reverse engines, putting your propeller in danger. You over speed or hit OLD HARD white ice, you bows can be kissed good bye.

My wife used to bring my toothpaste on bridge and to give me a neck massage. Finally when we reached the ice bound port everybody were surprised-- as my ship was NOT ice class.

I went down to sleep after arrival formalities, tossing around -- my body supercharged with adrenaline .

My wife whispered in mE ear " Now I now know how you earn your wages!"

There are many "hard working" Captains at sea.  Almost all of them are incompetent-- they need to prove their worth to their crew -- by working hard, or sleeping on the bridge / CCR sofa . The Captains job is to provide a safe roof over the heads of his crew !

I have been lucky-- nearly 3 decades in command--- never damaged my ship even once, even a berthing bump on a ill fendered jetty, after more than a thousand berthings  !-- luck plays a major factor here.

That is me and my ship mates -- painting a Venezuela beach RED . I am the guy in black shorts.

That is me at the Colosseum in Rome.

This is at Pisa, Italy.

Those days in India, we had Fiat cars or Ambassadors.

That is my younger son, playing basket ball with me at home.

Me and mE younger son-- taking bath was fun time. Till today ( he is now 17 )-- nobody at our Calicut pool can beat him in under water swimming.

This is mE elder son and wife.

That is me at St Peter's cathedral Vatican.

This is mE wife-- an arranged marriage. I don't like girls who have lost the ability to blush.

Above my wife and elder son at the pyramids, 22 years ago. Hard to believe that the surface was smooth when it was built-- using limestone cement.

Me at St Marco square Venice

Above-- as a bachelor.

and above is who I am today-- A GRIZZLY OLD BUZZARD.


  1. Capt...U were and are still a Hunk...surprised you did not attempt Bollywood/Modelling...


  2. hi kumar,

    in my young days i never got too much female trouble.

    i get a MOST SEVERE dose of it in my old age, where females from 12 to 60, try all sorts of covert stunts.

    so mE wife at her " mid life crisis " keeps a hawk's eye -- she trusts me of course, and i dont breach that trust.

    it is not only the posh metropolitan ones- even the behenjis love salt and pepper hair.

    in bollywood, our old pathetic wrinkled heroes still dye their hair black. they dont know the meaning of ageing gracefully.

    while in hollywood young heroes try to have silver hair -- richard gere style.

    shifting paradigms!

    capt ajit vadakayil

  3. i enjoyed reading your blog. it is put together very well and it gives you some insight into what marine&private life is like for a captain. Given the experience you`ve gathered in your many voyages, and the time you`ve spent on-board, you must have some words of wisdom for those who are yet to go on sea for a carear. what would they be?


  4. hi igor,

    sea life was full of fun 4 decades ago. it was a well paying job. we visited foreign lands and shopped fancy stuff. life on board was like a family--as we had movies by projector in an auditorium.

    today sea life is rush rush. life on board is like a hotel-- as there are no more deep friendships. all have their dvd and laptop. today you can buy every thing in your home town.

    i married after my third command -- i had my wife with me for 9 years .

    my SEA memories are full of joy. i ran good ships, with honour and pride. never failed any shore inspections . my ship never went off hire or had a major accident.

    i built up a reputation at sea, which is still intact. maybe i was lucky.

    if you cannot get a WELL PAYING job in your hometown, then you can consider a job at sea.

    you must understand that modern women are NOT willing to stay away from their husbands.

    i did NOT allow my two sons to come out to sea.

    my elder son who is a computer engineer in usa today , wanted to be a ship-captain first, and then an astro-physicist -- which i did NOT allow.


    capt ajit vadakayil

  5. Hi Ajit,

    This post gave the pleasant feeling of reading a book at the same time introducing your family members to readers like us.

    I personally feel that currently we need more people like you on shore and India has no shortage of opportunities available.



  6. Capt,
    Thank you for the clarification on the fairlead SWL query. Please can u also clarify the following?
    I read a post from you regd taking a Non ICE class vessel into thick ice. My doubt is: If the cert of class does not have a Ice notation, then is it allowed to take the ship to Ice (now a days – I see from the photograph that you were quite young then). If yes, then do I have to inform class and Flag state , insurers and take their permission? I am asking from the legality and insurance point of view?
    Thank you
    Udayakumar J

    1. hi uj,

      first you have to check the charter party, if it requires you to force pack ice.

      in this case this ship belonged to SCI and this pack ice forcing was required -- of course as per master's discretion. company takes care of insurance and permissions.

      there was another sci ship too in the area --damaged her propeller and was stuck in ice for 23 days.

      capt ajit vadakayil

    2. Thanks capt.
      So i understand from ur reply that even if my cert of class does not have ice notation, i can take the ship into ice regions, and the company will obtain a permission from class for that voyage. have i understood right?
      Will the class give permission just like that, or will they inspect, the ship again, before approving?

    3. hi uj,

      class has nothing to do with all this.

      they have to be informed only if master feels his hull is unseaworthy.

      capt ajit vadakayil

  7. capt iam sorry if i am wrong or ignorant.
    But if the class is not informed, then wont we be breaching class warranties? if any accident is caused by proceeding in such a manner, will insurance cover us? wont we be considered unseaworthy for the intended voyage?


    1. hi uj,

      two years ago, my ship was icebound while discharging in northern china.

      i will NOT be calling class.

      it is master's discretion.

      capt ajit vadakayil

  8. Beautiful pictures Bhai. Loved them all.
    But you look the "best' today :) may be you shall be nostalgic about the last picture too, a few decades later :)
    Pranaam .

  9. Kapthaan Saab, You have a very beautiful family.

    I must say that your sub-ordinates were very luck to have you as their leader. Our country really in need of leaders like . few leaders like you then india will become what it was centuries ago.

  10. hi sir very happy to see your family and a leader like you... i could able to understand that a optimistic person like you can change hell in to self sajeesh ....i am residing in chennai ,.... basically i am from calicut ..i had been brought up in chennai...sir i like to share my personal challenge with you .. i think a leader like you could suggest me a courageous path to lead my it possible could you give your email......

    1. hi sn,

      you can keep in touch vide the comments column.

      capt ajit vadakayil

  11. Mr.Vadakayil

    I might not be your biggest fan, but certainly 1 of them.My day starts & ends reading your blog
    At any time On my mobile browser all tabs opened r of your blog. I think i have read 90% of your posts with comment column
    Not only just reading but i also share your posts with my friends & ask them to read even challenge them sometime
    Upto This all went good but i started to fight & argue with some of my best friends.i'm Hindu
    One of my best friend who is Jain is now my enemy &we dont talk anymore. Same with my Brahmin friend

    I'm not blaming at all to you for this,but recently my nature became like this.I fight for small things &get frustrated finally.I remain angry, frustrated, aimless and lazy at the end of day. I have only support of your posts coz i keep reading them at all time

    Now i have only 2-3 friends which speak with me rarely and i dont have skills or quality to make new friends.i'm not ugly looking fat guy but average one.During my college days everyone in class wants to be my friend. Dont know what changed my life so miserably after college and joining a job

    Last Sunday i had exam.But till going exam,i was reading your post like Thoppu karnam,Sri Yantra, Ramanujan. Dont know why, but i think - i was finding some best way or secret or shortcut to remember things, improve my memory or changing my DNA to 12 strands in your posts.

    Even Like balancing left and right brain lobe or becoming like you. In one of your life event about Interview - where you make that interviewer sh*t in his pants. I wanted to be like that one.

    Good part is, after reading your posts i got to know what is conscience. Now i can feel my inner voice telling me what is right and wrong. I feel nervous when a beggar ask me money and i dont give any saying no CHange! Later my conscience tell me what wrong i did. My conscience tell me to study but i keep reading your blog

    I live away from my family to do a job. Even at office i keep reading your posts making my pending tasks list longer
    Nowdays i dont feel any energy inside me,feel very lazy &directionless. To get motivated i keep reading your posts on Change, Life management, Meditation. Many times i read this Line YOU MUST HAVE SKILLS but still being lazy do nothing.

    i'm 25, work for top#2 IT company in India, with good salary. My father has well settled business but still i dont go &join them or help them by quieting my job because i dont think i have guts or skills or energy to take risk.I feel like looser.

    Before couple of months i had asked you such question about what should i do to change my life.You replied as I will find a solution on my own and keep looking. but still i'm aimless, lazy, frustrated
    I dont know what is my destiny and what i want from my life. Still i keep reading your posts on Moksha

    Today i woke up at 5am.Thought of going for jogging, then took my mobile &started reading your posts.
    I'm not blaming you at all but dont know what i am doing or searching in your blogs. Only thing i started following from your post is drinking Neera. I keep reading your posts on Yoga and Kundalini but being lazy dont do anything.

    Best thing i was doing earlier was to read your post find some secret or some truth revealed by you. then share it with friends on whats-app and keep fighting with them. I have shared many of your post links in my office Portal.

    Sometimes i feel bad about you. That you lie & u just wanted to take some revenge on Rothschild or Zionist or TOI for not posting your comment. Might this happens when you read both sides of a person. In one post u fight with a group just coz they insulted Gandhi &in another urself insult Gandhi
    Sometimes i feel as u r brain washing me &sometimes i feel proud abt u

    I think this happens when U get involved in one thing too much
    Now i am completely confused &frustrated with life &dont have any direction or destiny
    I'm in office & still reading your post.

    Can you really help me?

    1. hi a,

      take a SABBATICAL from my blog site for a YEAR.

      capt ajit vadakayil

    2. Captain,

      I expected this reply from you. i tried this many times.
      Max 1 or 2 days. Then i just think of checking if any new post added if not then check the count of Comments. if the count is more than i checked last, i start reading those comments.
      Many of posts, i read twice.
      Completely addicted to

      And I am not at all complain or blaming you or your blog for anything but just telling the truth.

      Can you help me to regain my energy? At the age of 25, i feel frustrated and looser.
      Can you tell me something which can make me full of energy and i can do things positively?

      Thanks, You are a great person. Commenting you is like Zero Watt bulb talking to Sun.

      Every time i ask you something, i wait for your reply and think as my life will definitely change after your reply.
      Should i try any astrologer?


    3. hi a,

      do the following-


      capt ajit vadakayil

    4. OK Captain. I have read Surya Namaskar posts many times but never followed it.

      But As per Captains COMMAND , i will do it.

      You are of my father's age, and still i talk/share to you freely, friendly and respectfully considering you as a teacher or someone has a power to change.

      I have seen your elder son pics on facebook, he built solid body and yes tried hairs like you as young:)

      Some people need a command or leader to whom they follow. I think till 23 years of my life i followed my Father's command. Now when i ask them, what should i do next. He just laugh and say, You are now 25, you can take your own decisions.

      Thank you sir for everything.
      I asked you many questions through comment section by creating many gmail accounts and i think this Comment conversation and your advice will be a turning Point.

      You are best.

  12. Sir,
    Brilliant or coincidence? my feeling is exactly the same as of previous comments (ammul) . the only difference is I do yoga and meditation for past sevral years.... But still I can't reconcile in my logic to have a single person having this much of vast knowledge expressing beautifully.....if it's true, amazing and admiring guro' ...if its not a brilliant move for national unity by identifying a common enemy.... Really wants to meet you and share some hard truth about soma, though it will be like a zero wstt talking to the sun.....

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  14. Hello Ajit Sir , Your wife looks very nice ! :) I am naive about sea life great to have known about it ..its very interesting. I have read a lot of posts and each post your tone would be like a roar of a lion and I read it just like how I read my b-school case studies . lol! This is the cutest post :)Thank you for let us knowing about you
    with regards

  15. what is the difference between acupuncture and reflexology ?

    Please tell more on marma points, without giving matchstick to monkey

  16. After reading conspiracy theories,psudoscience articles (,at the cost of my engineering) for years,I realised that all this science (which I won't use anyway..,) is only good for debates and stuff . I've come to a point where I've decided to walk the path of shamanism ..where the real knowledge is ...I like your blog ..and i feel it's necessary to provide the names of authors and books and source material.