It was a proud moment for the entire nation when the six-membered all-women crew sailing in the Indian Naval Shipping Vessel (INSV) Tarini came back home safe and sound. This voyage was one of its kind for various reasons.
The all-women crew was led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi and her team Lt Commander Prathibha Jamwal, Lt Commander Swati P, Lt S Vijaya Devi, Lt Payal Gupta and our very own Lt Aishwarya Boddapati.
From someone who was scared of the oceans to now becoming a member of the all-women crew, who sailed to circumnavigate the globe in 245 days, Lt Aishwarya Boddapati emerged as a strong and fearless Hyderabadi.
How her journey began
Aishwarya begins by admitting that she had always been attracted to uniform jobs and when she came across a recruitment opening for BTech Metallurgist in the Indian Navy, she immediately applied for it.
“That’s how I joined the Indian Navy in 2011 and as my job encouraged adventure activities, I got used to river rafting, scuba diving and bungee jumping,” says Aishwarya.
Later on, in 2015, when the advertisement for women officers to volunteer for all-women circumnavigation around the globe was out, Aishwarya was determined to join the crew.
“In Indian Navy, women officers do not go on board for warship appointments. So, this was a first-time opportunity,” says the Lieutenant. Though it wasn’t easy to convince her parents and prepare herself physically and mentally, there was no turning back.
The team underwent the theoretical and practical training under the mentorship of Captain Dilip Donde SC, who is the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in the year 2009-2010.
Challenges during the voyage
Recollecting the memoires from one of her most adventurous ventures, Aishwarya says that there were times when the crew was so close to death. Narrating the chilling experience of when the boat was sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there was a storm at the speed of a hurricane, she says, “I prayed within and hoped that my team members were all fine.”
“It was very easy to say no and give up, but I Knew I would regret, so I didn’t even think about it,” she adds.
They also had their memorable Maggi moment when they ran out of food. They ate nothing, but the instant noodles for their meals. “We also celebrated birthdays and festivals by baking cakes on board. In fact, towards the end of the voyage, we were all exceptional cooks,” says Aishwarya.
“Sleeping under the sky, star gazing and to experience nature in its purest form were all very overwhelming,” she adds.
“This project taught me to be fearless, believe in myself and the importance of acceptance. So, to everyone out there, its only when you overcome challenges that come your way that you will know your capabilities,” concludes Aishwarya.