Posts Tagged ‘mystic’

The Nuclear Submarin Nautilus and the Submarine Museum

January 1, 2007

A friend of mine was visiting the nuclear submarine Nautilus, the only nuclear submarine on display in the world and the museum attached; the other attraction was the Aquarium. I realized that I had seen some lovely aquaria at both Florida and at Singapore, but would never get an opportunity to see a nuclear submarine, ever! So off I went.

Mystic has a long seafaring history, and even today, is a place where submarines are still built, though there is a move afoot to cut the production down as Virginia will be where more will be built in the future.

I told my friend that I had already seen, in great detail, one submarine museum at Portsmouth, England ; and so, I said, my attention span would be very short, and I would be ready to go whenever he was through….as it happened, at the end of 2 and a half hours, he had to drag me out!

We were, of course, only allowed to see less than one-third of the nuclear sub; but that was quite impressive enough for me. The torpedo tubes, the extreme crampedness of the men’s quarters, the directions “not to lose a chance to help the ship even as long as a bit of hope remains” the way food was cooked and eaten, the way sailors took showers and relaxed….I would have given each sailor a medal just for being on that submarine for weeks at a time!

The Nautilus actually went past the geographical North Pole and later also surfaced there…no small feat!

We had a young man at the entrance to the gangway who willingly answered our questions (how do they prevent the sub from stinking? How do they address lack of sunlight and lack of vitamin D?) and kept us spellbound. We later saw his photograph, too, along with those who were in charge of the sub now!

There were other submarines, including “midget” subs and a strange sub with a “double-head” through which two torpedoes at a time could be fired, on display in the garden.

You can imagine that I willingly decided to skip lunch in order to spend more time at the museum! There was one section where one could “sit” at the sub’s controls; another where one could actually peer through the periscopes; children were encouraged to touch everything and imagine life on board the sub!

A memorable experience. I wish we had museums like this! I remember scrambling for permission and visiting the INS Vikrant, the aircraft carrier, when she was berthed in Chennai….I guess I will always love visiting the places where those who keep us safe live and do their work.

Weddings everywhere…

December 30, 2006

Weddings everywhere are pretty similar, is the observation I have to make after watching a Baptist wedding. I thought an “American” wedding was a half-hour thing…but no, the ceremony today started 20 minutes late, went on for about 2 hours, and was preceded and succeeded by “rehearsal dinner”, “Pre-wedding brunch”, post-wedding reception, and there will be a “day after” brunch at the bride’s place…can you see any difference? Everyone was milling around, making tremendous amounts of noise as they circulated and conversed; only at the ceremony was everyone seated and perfectly quiet (that is one part I would like to integrate into our chaotic weddings!). The rituals were chosen to be meaningful…there were poetry and prose readings, and I was especially moved by an Apache wedding message that is given to the newlyweds of the tribe. The preacher spoke very movingly, and quoted the lovely poem of Yeats which ends, “Tread softly, for you tread upon my dreams.” For the few minutes when the vows were said, I became the bride’s mother once again, and it was my daughter getting married…the beauty of the long-known words still made my eyes moist.

The bridegroom, in the seven years that I have known him, has grown from a callow youth to a confident and mature young man. And when he brought his then-girlfriend to my daughter’s wedding in 2005, I was struck by the quality of sweetness that I instantly felt in her. So it felt good to see them getting together!

Of course some things were different…it was funny to have a sit-down dinner where we had to get up, go downstairs, get the food and then come back to the table (each table seated about 10 people and we had to go table by table)…and during the reception, suddenly the Yacht Club people decided to lower the heating; I thought it was me, and went downstairs to the cloakroom to get my coat and found several others there, saying it was too cold for them, too! Luckily someone spoke to someone else and the heating was turned up again…even that, though, reminded me of the many snafus that happen in our weddings!

I think that a wedding, anywhere in the world, is a covenant between two people (I firmly believe that marriages need not be only between opposite sexes)..and is a beautiful thing to behold as it starts, with hope and happiness.

Lovely time in Mystic

December 29, 2006

Amazing how people are the same everywhere…

Visited the Yale campus (NOW I am going to tell everyone, with a casual wave of my hand, “I went to Yale”…)and had pizza at a restaurant(Frank Pepe’s in New Haven) nearby, so famous for its “tomato pies” (it dates back to the time before it was referred to as pizza!) that there were 30 people in line before us!

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