Tag Archives: ship

BOOK REVIEW: TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA– by Jules Verne

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ is a classic science fiction, adventure novel, written in 1870 by French writer Jules Verne. The novel was first translated into English in the year 1873 by Reverend Lewis Page Mercier. 

    The book was highly acclaimed when it was published and remains so. It is regarded as one of the premier adventure novels and one of Verne’s greatest works, along with ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth.’

    In the book the description and detailing of Nemo’s ship—the Nautilus, is considered to be way ahead of its time, as it accurately describes innumerable features of a modern submarine, which at the time of writing this book were very primitive vessels.

    The title ‘twenty thousand leagues’ refers to the distance travelled while under the sea. 20,000 leagues (or 80,000 km) is nearly twice the circumference of the Earth. The greatest depth mentioned in the book is four leagues. The book uses metric leagues, which are four kilometres each.

    During the year 1866, ships of several nations spot a mysterious sea monster, which some suggest to be a giant narwhal. (A narwhal, or narwhale, is a medium sized, toothed whale that possesses a large ‘tusk’ from a protruding canine tooth). The United States government assembles an expedition in New York City to find and destroy the monster. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time, receives a last-minute invitation to join the expedition, which he accepts. Canadian whaler and master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax’s faithful servant Conseil are also brought aboard.

    The expedition departs from 34th Street Pier in Manhattan aboard the United States Navy frigate Abraham Lincoln and travels south around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean. After a long search, the ship finds the monster and then attacks the beast, which damages the ship’s rudder. The three protagonists are then hurled into the water when they get hold of the “hideout” of the creature, which they find, to their surprise, to be a submarine way far ahead of its era. They are forced to wait on the back of the submarine boat until morning when they are captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo.

    The rest of the story follows the adventures of the protagonists aboard the creature—the submarine, the Nautiluswhich was built in secrecy and now roams the seas free from any land-based government. Captain Nemo’s motivation is implied to be both a scientific thirst for knowledge and a desire for revenge upon (and self-imposed exile from) civilzation. Nemo explains that his submarine is electrically powered and can perform advanced marine biology research. He also tells his new passengers that although he appreciates conversing with such an expert as Aronnax, maintaining the secrecy of his existence requires never letting them leave. Aronnax and Conseil are enthralled by the undersea adventures, but Ned Land the harpoonist can only think of escape.

    They visit many places under the ocean, some real-world and others fictional. The travellers witness the real corals of the Red Sea, the wrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves, the Transatlantic telegraph cable and the legendary submerged land of Atlantis. The travelers also use diving suits to hunt sharks and other marine life with air-guns and have an underwater funeral for a crew member who died when an accident occurred under mysterious conditions inside the Nautilus. When the Nautilus returns to the Atlantic Ocean, a pack of “poulpes” (usually translated as a giant squid, although in French “poulpe” means “octopus”) attack the vessel and kill a crew member.

    Throughout the story Captain Nemo is suggested to have exiled himself from the world after an encounter with the forces that occupied his country that had devastating effects on his family. Not long after the incident of the poulpes, Nemo suddenly changes his behaviour toward Aronnax, avoiding him. Aronnax no longer feels the same and begins to sympathize with Ned Land. Near the end of the book, the Nautilus is attacked by a warship of some nation that had made Nemo suffer.

    Filled with hatred and revenge, Nemo ignores Aronnax’s pleas for mercy. Nemo—nicknamed “angel of hatred” by Aronnax—destroys the ship, ramming it just below the waterline, and consequently sinking it into the bottom of the sea, much to Aronnax’s horror, as he watches the ship plunge into the abyss. Nemo kneels before the pictures of his wife and children and is plunged into deep depression after this encounter. For several days after this, the situation of protagonists’ keeps changing.

    No one seems to be on board any longer and the Nautilus moves about randomly. Ned Land is even more depressed, Conseil fears for Ned’s life, and Aronnax, horrified at what Nemo had done to the ship, can no longer stand the situation either. One evening, Ned Land announces an opportunity to escape. Although Aronnax wants to leave Nemo, whom he now holds in horror, he still wishes to see him for one last time. But he knows that Nemo would never let him escape, so he avoids meeting him.

    Before the escape, however, he sees him one last time (although secretly), and hears him say, “Almighty God! Enough! Enough!” Aronnax immediately goes to his companions and they are ready to escape. But while they loosen the dinghy, they discover that Nautilus has wandered into the Moskenstraumen, a whirlpool more commonly known as the “Mael-strom”. They finally manage to escape and find refuge on a nearby island off the coast of Norway, but the fate of the Nautilus is unknown.

    It’s an excellent book to read. Even e-book is available quite cheap. So pick it up. The description and detailing especially done 150 years back is par-excellence. The author indeed was a genious.

    Novels are all about imagination. And I salute his imagination. I would give this novel eight out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

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Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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SHORT STORY: A DANGEROUS GAME

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A Dangerous Game

by Ajit Tripathi

    The ship rolled on the placid waters of the Devils Strait. It was growing dark. The rosy, post glow of the sunset had long since disappeared. The ship guided by a mysterious light was steering cautiously. Then suddenly, there was a deafening sound, as if all hell broke lose. A rocky under water reef had ripped open the frigate that disappeared into the Davy’s Locker. Seething and hissing foam was all that remained behind. No one had survived except for a weather beaten, rugged faced sailor.  He was aghast at what had occurred. His immediate worry was survival as he held on to some flotsam for dear life.

    He tried to peer into the darkness but failed to find his bearings but on a hunch swam in the direction to his right. He didn’t know how long he had been in water but was washed ashore tired, almost in a state of delirium. When, dawn broke. Jason (the shipwrecked sailor) woke up rubbing his eyes. Slowly, he recalled the incident and looked in the direction of the vanished ship. He felt a small pack on his back. Opening it he saw a small bottle of water and some victuals. Almost famished he lost no time in gobbling up whatever there was and thereafter took to exploring what appeared to be a small island.

    Apart from the incessant chattering of birds, scared looks of some scurrying rabbits and a passing mongoose there was very little wild life. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. Right in a glade ahead, there stood a quaint little villa. He ventured in and was greeted by a liveried servitor who lost no time in taking him to his master.

    The master: “So you have come!”

    Jason: “Have you been expecting me?”

    The Master:  “As a matter of fact, yes. That eerie light you saw from the ship was simply to lure you chaps. I am sorry about that small liner or frigate as you call it. By the way I am Sir Drax.”

    Jason: “You mean the famous big game hunter who disappeared from the scene a few years ago.”

    The Master:  “I am flattered that you recognized me. But I would have wished under happier circumstances.”

    Jason: “Why is that?”

    The Master: “Years ago I had realized that animal is no match for a man’s intelligence. I decided that I would rather hunt man and so I devised a game. I will give my quarry provisions for twelve hours and give him a start of two hours in which to hide in the island. I will start the hunt with my dogs. In case I fail to hunt him down within twelve hours he becomes the master of the island.”

     Jason: “That is not fair. You have your dogs, the island is known to you.”

    The Master:  “But do you not see the prize that awaits you at the end of it should you win.”

    Jason: “How many have won?”

    The Master: ”None or else I wouldn’t be here. Now without wasting time I will ask you to start playing the hunted.” He nodded towards the servant who immediately brought the provisions.

     Jason: “But I will need a few more things-a small knife, a bed sheet for making a comfortable bed and a bottle of whisky that serves me both as an antiseptic and refreshing drink.”

    The Master thought for a moment and replied: “Take whatever you need, but the time for the hunt will not change” Jason was handed the things he wanted.

     Jason was soon on his way and after having covered a hundred yards or so he completely undressed himself and improvised an overall from the bed sheet. His own clothes he threw across the trails in different directions. He collected wild lichens, bitter fruits and some chilly looking fruits. After grinding them he threw them further down the trail in different directions to throw the dogs off the scent. Then he made use of the knife by whittling down dry twigs and small branches to fashion out a Malay Trap of sorts.

    The hunt was now on. Sir Drax started off with his dogs on leash and two double-barrelled rifles. With plenty of ammunition in his hunting jacket, that he had once worn, while hunting wild games in Africa. The dogs hit the false scent planted by Jason. One was snared partly by the Trap. The hunt wore on. Sir Drax was looking worried. His bravado and arrogance appeared to be ebbing.

     Another dawn was unfolding. Jason was making a hearty breakfast of bananas, wild fruits and coconut. The hunt was over.

    Jason had not slept in a more comfortable bed in the last fifteen days.

    NOTE: OBVIOUSLY JASON HAD WON. BUT IT WOULD BE A GOOD PLOY TO LET THE AUDIENCE/LISTENER WORK OUT THE ANSWER.

    Moral: even when the chips are down and situation is entirely hopeless one should have his wits about him like Jason did.

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Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****