Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EQUATOR CROSSING CEREMONY AT SEA- CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL

EQUATOR CROSSING CEREMONY ON SHIP-  CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL

A decade ago, a middle aged Captain walked into my cabin to relieve me, so that I could go on leave.

He said " Sir, Do you recognise me?  You gave me my Equator crossing ceremony certificate when I was a Cadet on your ship, 3 decades ago!"

And then he opened out his brief case and proudly showed it to me. He had given it pride of place in his cerificate folder.

Yes it was something which I made myself , with my signature affixed on it.

Indeed-- how time flies!!

Then he said " Sir, the company had banned the ceremony due to some hazing excesses, on some other ship , but you declared that it brings ill luck , if a sailor is NOT baptised at the equator and went ahead with the ceremony"

For the uninitiated-- the ceremony converts a landlubber to a sea dog.

This ceremony is as ancient as seafaring itself.  In the fighting navy even Admirals , who have NOT crossed the equator, are NOT spared.

These ceremonies have to be taken in the right spirit.

Of course no physical harm must come to anybody. Just some minor indignities and embarrassment , all in good cheer. On passenger ships, this is part of nostalgia you take home with you.

On my ship, I am King Neptune's executioner--just to make sure nobody is demeaned or humiliated. It is a thin invisible line, which I make sure is NOT crossed.

Usually one of the senior officers ( say Chief Engineer ) with be dressed up as King Neptune, with a royal Trident sceptre , a flowing beard and a crown.

At sea, King Neptune rules the waves.

This ceremony is a symbol of the sailor's respect for him. All on board except the essential watchkeepers witness the ceremony--almost like a wedding.

The "landlubber" has to drink King Neptunes toast--which could be a mixture of various edible liquids , including sea water, beer, coffee, Tabasco chilly sauce, raw eggs etc. After drinking one cup of this concoction he is supposed to ask for more , like how Oliver twist asked Mr.Bumble for more gruel.

He is dunked into the ship's swimming pool after a nice haircut and annointed by some cosmetics ( paint ). Raw eggs are broken on his head for shampoo.

King Neptune , after he is satisfied with the initiation ceremony, now formally baptises the "land lubber" into a "sea dog " by poking him with his trident.

Then we have sport competitions like running, tug of war, sack race , wheel barrow race etc--with handsome cash prizes.

At night there will be a grand party.At sea, the equator is calm and there are not too many ships around.

The new "sea dogs" are given the Equator crossing ceremony passing certificates by the Captain.

You can recognise these souls in a jiffy, because their heads will be clean shaven. Or their hair will look as if rats have been at it.

This ceremony makes a man out of you.

Here is a sample certificate--

#########################################################

EQUATOR CROSSING CERTIFICATE

BE IT KNOWN TO ALL SEAFARERS THE WORLD OVER,  ON THIS 8TH DAY OF MARCH 2011 AT 0945LT,  BY THE STRANGE CALENDAR OF THE MORTALS—


DENIZENS OF  PLANET EARTH HAVE BY VARIOUS DEVIOUS MEANS LEFT THE POLLUTED AND CORRUPT LANDMASSES TO SEEK SOLACE IN MY TRANQUIL  DOMAIN.

                                                     WHEREAS

           RAHUL KUMAR

          THE THIRD OFFICER OF MT.FAIRCHEM COLT 

HAVING MADE HIS ACQUISCENCE , MUSTERED  IN A CONTRITE MANNER BEFORE ME , AND SUBMITTED TO THE USUAL SOLEMN CEREMONIES AS PER THE ANCIENT ORDER OF THE DEEP,  IS NOW CONSIDERED AS PURIFIED , ANNOINTED  AND BAPTISED ACCORDING TO THE TIMELESS AND AGE OLD TRADITIONS OF MY COURT.


LO AND BEHOLD ALL YE UNDER PAIN AT THE END OF MY TRIDENT, THIS INVERTIBLE PIECE OF FLOTSAM IS NO LONGER A  LANDLUBBER , AND IS AT LIBERTY TO ROAM AT WILL IN MY DOMAIN WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING SCUTTLED OR JETTISONED.

I  hereby  grant  this  letter  of  indemnity 
             
 CAPT VADAKAYIL -EXECUTIONER                                                
On behalf of   NEPTUNE/ EMPEROR OF OCEANA

##########################################################

This is what the certificate looks like.


The GPS showing Latitude ZERO



Passengers on cruise liners take home memories.


The ceremony in progress

We love 'em mermaids

My wife doing the cross-country race

King Neptune aint satisfied with the hair-cut.


We set off from New York to Aruba to Buenos Aires. Below is my wife and two sons at the riveira of Aruba.

My younger son getting annointed. He is now 17 years old.


Fancy dress at the night party. I put a pillow on my tummy to be a fat buck toothed Arab sheikh. You can see a Roman soldier, a Japanese geisha , a Tahiti bikini gal--


Landlubbers , chained to the railings, awaiting their turn for the initiation ceremony.


Herbs being rubbed in. The axe is on my belt.


My elder son was spiderman at the fancy dress party. He has a portable spider web with him.


Yours truly, is in green shorts , above.


My younger son dressed as a pirate at the fancy dress -- Papa's boots are too big?


Three more rounds, to go-- already he is pooped.( my elder son )


 A tug of war between deck and engine departments.




There was a mighty HUSHHH when my wife took the first prize for the high kick- she beat 25 young sailors--and she did NOT even jump. She had given pass for the heats and gave only the final kick , in the finals.

Now you get the drift why I say often " Hope my wife does not kick mE ass!"






CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL
..







7 comments:

  1. hi capt,

    Many companies do not allow equator crossing ceremony...sadly this tradition has almost come to an end.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hahaha..you better hope she doesn;t kick your A** with that kick.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi aaina,

    i guess it will be easier to take a punch from phantom, the ghost who walks on mE nose- than a kick from my wife, on my backside.

    capt ajit vadakayil
    ..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi sir, you ave a beautiful family. :)

    Genesis Chapter 11

    I wanted you to read this chapter, and this chapter has the ultimate weakness of "Freemasonry" and all Abrahmic Religions as well.

    YAHWEH is considered the Grand Architect of the universe, in freemasonry who is called G-D by Jewish people.

    If YAHWEH is the 5th head of Brahma, then the ultimate weak point of freemasonry is Shiva himself.

    Rudra who cuts off the 5th head of Brahma.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved this a lot...old pictures make a lot of differnce :D Ajimamen u shld try picasa to make albums out of old hardcopies of the snaps for different voyage's...we all would love to see it!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. hi anu,

    my experiences at sea are too rangila.

    it will drive all mE readers away.

    i am aware that even small girls of the age of 9 read my posts--for knowledge.

    cant let them down.

    dont believe?

    wait for my next post on kayam.

    ajimaman
    ..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear Sir, Namaste. I have been reading your blogs and each and every blogs is brodening horizon. Om Swasti Astu .. Proud of being Indian .. desh bhakt..

    and Sir, this one was hillarious..lol

    Now you get the drift why I say often " Hope my wife does not kick mE ass!"

    ReplyDelete