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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Festivals on board ship . . .

One way of looking at it is with mixed emotions - it is a sailor's lot
to be regularly missing out on festivals while at sea, especially in
this day and age of instant communications, when you can even listen
to the festivities at home. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself,
or you can make the best of it, the choice is yours.

There is really not much to be said or written about this part of life
at sea. We all know that ships sail 24x7, and now we also know that it
is the earnest effort as well as desire of all those involved with
shipping ashore to see that if nothing else, the ships sail out of
port before the celebrations and festivals shut the port down.

All of us probably have ample number of experiences along this line -
leaving port just before the long holiday weekends or arriving just in
time after they got over. One incident I recall very clearly is being
asked to please help co-operate and sail out well in time on 31st
December - otherwise they would miss the office party!

Likewise, as a seafarer, you would have missed out on umpteen number
of occasions at home. Religious and other festivals, different types
of celebrations, Parent-Teacher Association meetings, RWA gatherings
which often turn out to be more interesting than anything else, and
similar events. All this, and more, we take in our stride.
But if you are the sort of person who sees a rainbow behind every
cloud, then festivals spent while on ships can really take on new
meanings, as well as be an important part of your larger evolution as
a human being. After all, your friends on your ship are your family,
too, and so why not make more than just the best of things?


Festivals take on a totally new meaning on ships, easy to say, but
worth repeating, especially when you are lucky enough to sail with
multi-cutural and multi-national colleagues, and subscribing to
religions from across the board. Most festivals, with some notable
exceptions, are about unbridled joy and unrestricted happiness, so it
is always great to be able to take part in them.

After all, much of international tourism is designed around going to
see and experience different kinds of cultures, and the festivals as
well as celebrations they engage in. Here we are lucky enough to have
the same, or at least mini versions, free of charge literally at our
door steps.

We just have to reach out to celebrate them. Chances are that alcohol
may not be permitted in large quantities nowadays on board your ship -
that has never been a reason to prevent celebrations, has it?

Likewise, the date and timing of the festival may clash with a high
work load period - fair enough, easy to solve, simply move it around!
There are many ways to ensure that festivals and celebrations of all
sorts can be enjoyed on board ships. You just have to be innovative
enough to seek the opportunity, and then take it forward - and then
see your reputation as a good manager of men and morale onboard take


In addition, there are some "festivals" which are unique to seafarers,
and for which the routine of celebrations was taken charge of with
great enthusiasm and gusto a few decades ago. This lot can be salvaged
and revived easily, again, keeping latest safety and other regulations
in mind.

These would include:-

# Equator Crossing Ceremonies.
# Date Line Crossing Ceremonies.
# Ships' Birthday (Launch date)
# Company specific celebrations. (Find out what they are celebrating
in the office ashore and do paralel ones onboard)
# Birthdays of children or family members onboard or even if ashore.
(Brings out the best in people, especially if the family member back
at home are celebrating)

All this, and more - in addition to the regular festivals. There has
never been a better time to celebrate on board ships than now - wages
are good, job prospects are better, companies are looking for ways to
improve HR fundamentals, the works.

It just needs that one catalyst on board to help do things - and
celebrate any and every occasion. Is that person you?

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