Chapter 3: The Rescue Boat

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Chapter 3: The Rescue Boat

There was a humming noise as the light got closer. With the sound of the strong winds and heavy rains, Vinod could not hear the hum of the engines. But now the boat was very close, and he could see its headlight swaying on the strong waves. The divine light was no divine light at all. It was from a rescue boat patrolling the area. But for Vinod, it was no less divine. It was not advised for the rescue boat to go out in the storm. The rescue boats went off only after the storm had died out. But one of the fishermen who had seen Vinod go off in the storm had alerted the rescue team. The rescue attempt was dangerous, but they somehow convinced themselves that saving one life is better than waiting for the storm to cause its destruction.

“Are you alright?”

There was no reply.

“Are you alright?”

Vinod was tired of rowing, tired of clearing the water, tired of keeping himself afloat. His head was still bleeding, but now at a lower rate. One of the crewmen had applied pressure on the wound to stop the blood flow.

“Water” was the only word Vinod could utter in all his dizziness. Of all the amount of water available in the lake and the downpour from the sky, Vinod wanted more water.

The crewman with the yellow T-shirt opened a bottle of water and placed the bottleneck on his mouth. Vinod gulped down as much as he could. The water brought a new life in Vinod’s veins. His whole body was aching and was begging for rest; but not so soon.

“How is my wife? My children?

The crewman with the yellow T-shirt helped him rest his head on a pillow on a makeshift bed.

“My family?” he managed to ask between the gasp of breaths.

No one replied to him. They were busy trying to help him lie down and make him feel comfortable. They were busy tending to his wounds and keeping him dry.

“My wife and children, are they fine?” he blurted out furiously.

Finally, the man with the yellow T-shirt said, “Don’t worry, they will be fine”. He placed his palm over his forehead and found that he was burning up.

Vinod’s body was exhausted and aching and was burning with fever. He needed rest. His head was aching with throbbing pain. His lungs were trying to draw in a large amount of oxygen. He could not hang on any longer. Before passing out, Vinod was promised that the rescue team would try to get to his family and keep them safe.

The next day the storm had died off, and Vinod found himself united with his children in the rescue camp. But sadly there was no sign of his wife. The kids were rescued from the roof of the house, and according to their painful account, their mother was washed off in flood in front of their eyes. There was no sign of their mother anywhere. She was lost in the floods washed off just like many others. The children had spent the entire night crying for their parents. Vinod was still on the stretcher, but his fever had subsided. When he was united with his kids, the sudden joy of seeing them and the sorrow of his missing wife threw a mixture of emotions on him. The emotion created a flood of tears as he hugged his children, not minding the pain his entire body was throwing up at him.

The alarm went off at 3 am cutting short Vinod’s nightmare as he woke up wet in perspiration. This had been the 3rd time since he had lost his wife to the floods that the tragedy of his life was being played in his dreams. His wife’s body was found by a group of fishermen after it was washed ashore. Her body was a stark picture depicting the devastation of the storm. It was mutilated by the natural forces and half-eaten by hungry fish.

Getting up from the bed, he freshened up and started making some tea. His kids were still sleeping. It was a holiday for school, so he didn’t bother to wake them up. Rohit was 12 years old and used to take care of his younger brother and the household in his father’s absence. Sometimes his father would be gone for days on fishing trips. He no longer used his coracle for fishing; instead, he had joined a fishing company and worked at the bigger and safer boat. He never felt safe in his coracle anymore. It was dying in the back yard catching dust.

Jeevan was only 5 years old and missed his mother terribly. But Rohit took care of his every need. He made him breakfast, washed his clothes, took him to school, took care of his homework and at night he tucked him into bed and sang a lullaby whenever needed. The lullaby was more than often needed.

Vinod drank his tea and was off to his work. He would not be back for a couple of weeks now. The fishing company usually fished at sea, and that meant he had to be at sea for many days. But Vinod was not worried about his kids, Rohit was a good boy, and he would take care of everything at home when his dad went out to earn money for the family.

Sydney Billford Monteiro

Sydney Billford Monteiro was born and brought up in Mangalore, Karnataka. An HR by profession, he has a Masters in Social Work and is working for the Hospitality Industry in Bangalore. He is an avid reader of Crime Thrillers, Mystery novels, and Science books. Creative writing and poetry is his passion.

He loves exploring the world of stories. His favourite pastime is experimenting with real-life events, creating characters, and turning them into engaging storylines. 

Apart from reading and writing the author loves football; his favourite game and watching movies that depict unusual concepts and real-life events. 

He also loves to have a healthy debate over a scientific idea.

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