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Bon Voyage

Unlike other 20-year-olds,the sound of waves did not conjure up a lyrical tale of love for her.

Written by Shashi Priya |
February 3, 2009 3:35:27 am

One of the five participants of Nat Geo’s prime time series Mission Navy -Lehron Ke Sartaj,city student,Sakshi Havanoor talks about the thrill of being on the warship that captured Somali pirates and living a naval cadet’s life

Unlike other 20-year-olds,the sound of waves did not conjure up a lyrical tale of love for her. For this first year,Fergusson College student it was the association with the roar of the waves rather than its gentleness that was stronger. And while the sound of waves made her friends pick romantic novels from bookstalls,it on the other hand made 20–year–old Sakshi Havanoor log on to National Geographic channel’s website to register herself for Mission Navy – Lehron Ke Sartaj.

For Havanoor,the programme was an opportunity to realise what she dreamt of. When the promos of the programme hit the television screen Havanoor did not waste time. “I wanted to participate in Mission Udaan by Indian Air force whose telecast was on air some time back but I was underage. When I saw the Mission Navy ad on Nat Geo recently,I wanted to participate in it,as there is a lot that I could explore here too,” shares she.

Havanoor feels the metamorphosis of her civilian life into a naval one did not come easy. “With over six physical tests one after another without a break,complimented with the stress of mental tests,we were actually fighting to not let our brains and nerves go numb,” says Havanoor. Out of over 500 contestants who registered for the programme,the five who were selected were the ones who did not lose their cool in such stressful situations. “For the mental test,judges wanted to know our reaction under complicated situations,” says she

Along with Havanoor,the five contestants were a part of the Indian Navy for over a month. “It all started from being introduced to the academy life and undergoing basic training. We for the first time set our first step ever on board an Indian naval ship. We also got to learn the science behind the submarines and amongst other jobs,we were trained in beaching operations and got to perform the difficult jack stay.”

Being a civilian,it was her ears-to-the-ground technique that helped her adapt and survive in the environment. “The transition from a civilian life to one in the navy is a little difficult because you have to let go of your casual attitude. We moved from a relaxed background to a place where you are always on your toes. We slept for just three-four hours and for the rest of the time,we were always running around,” says she.

The destroyer INS Mysore,on which contestants spent some days,happens to be the same warship that captured Somali pirates. “When the news reached us that we will be on the same ship our joys knew no bounds.”

(Mission Navy: Lehron Ke Sartaj is on air every Monday at 9 pm on National Geographic Channel)

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