Engine Cadet

Devibala Rathinakumar

 My first day thrills me even today, when I first entered the engine room. Noisy, hot and humid, Oily with scores of machinery operating around me, it was entirely a different world. The first and foremost challenge that I faced on-board was one of acceptance. Being accepted in the entire group of men and considering me as one of them was taking time. I still remember Chief engineer’s advice on my first day in engine room “You have to push yourself harder to earn their trust.” Though I had workshop training in my college I quickly realised this was a real world where you have to make your presence felt. I used to try hard to make myself count, initially by involving myself in extending help to other crew members. But this proved difficult since I was novice and in my initial learning stage. At times when I was down and out with sea getting rough and sometimes due to minor health issues, I used to curse myself for joining this noble profession. But slowly I adjusted myself and my on-board family kept my morale high telling me it's a part of everyone's journey. When I am unable to do some physical job my second engineer reminded me, “physical challenges can be overcome with intellectual thinking”, which I realized later on as I drew tons of energy and inspirations and guts to fight against all odds when I saw my on-board team working tirelessly day and night whenever there was an emergency. Now, when I am completing my contract of nine long months, away from my family, I feel I have become more mature, responsible and resilient as a human being. I will forever cherish those sweet memories of my first vessel which has already been etched in my heart. Before signing off I again give thanks to all the crew, my Master and ASP for making me realise my dream."