Gabriel Garcia Marques (1928-2014), popularly known as Gabo, is a Columbian novelist. journalist, publisher and political activist. He got the Noble price for literature in 1982. His major works are “The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor’ (1955). ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ (1967), Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) and Chronicle of Death Foretold”. His autobiography is titled “Living to tell the Tale’.
The story ‘A Shipwrecked Sailor’ was originally published as a newspaper article in 1955. It narrates the heroic survival of a twenty year old sailor named Luis Alejandro Velasco. Velasco was washed overboard his ship during a storm. He clung to a life raft and survived for ten days in the open sea. Finally he was washed ashore safely.
Luis Alejandro Velasco was a seaman in the ship named Caldas. The ship was returning to Columbia through the Caribbean Sea. It was overloaded with cargo. The ship was caught in violent waves of the Caribbean Sea some fifty miles from Cartagena. Eight of the crew were washed overboard along with much cargo. Luis Alejandro Velasco was one among them. He found himself alone in the middle of the ocean. He caught hold of one of the floating crates and looked around. Soon he heard the shouts of his shipmates. He recognized the voice of the officer Julio Amador Caraballo.Velasco understood that he was not alone at sea. His shipmates were a few meters near.
കാൽദാസ് എന്ന കപ്പലിലെ നാവികനായിരുന്നു ലൂയി അലസാന്ദ്രോ വെലാസ്കോ എന്ന നാവികൻ.കപ്പൽ കടലിലൂടെ സഞ്ചരിക്കുമ്പോൾ തിരയിലകപ്പെട്ടു .എട്ടു നാവികരും കടലിൽ വീണു .വെലാസ്കോ ഒരു പൊങ്ങുതടിയിൽ പിടിച്ചുകിടന്നു. വൈകാതെ അയാൾ കൂട്ടാളികളുടെ ശബ്ദം കേട്ടു .അവർ ഏതാനും മീറ്റർ മാത്രം അകലെയാണെന്ന് വെലാസ്കോയ്ക്ക് മനസ്സിലായി.പെട്ടെന്ന് വെലാസ്കോ കടലിൽ ഒഴുകി നടക്കുന്ന രണ്ടു ലൈഫ് ബോട്ടുകൾ കണ്ടു. അവൻ ഒരു ബോട്ടിനടുത്തേക്കു നീന്തിച്ചെന്ന് അതിൽ പിടിച്ചു കയറി. ലൈഫ് ബോട്ടിനടുത്ത് മറ്റ് മൂന്ന് നാവികരെ അവൻ കണ്ടു. കാസ്റ്റിലോ കാരബല്ലോയുടെ കഴുത്തിൽ ചുറ്റിപ്പിടിച്ചിരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു .അവർ പത്തു മീറ്റർ അകലെയായിരുന്നു .കാരബല്ലോ ലൈഫ് ജാക്കറ്റ് ധരിച്ചിരുന്നു . മറുവശത്തു മറ്റൊരു നാവികനായ ലൂയി റെഞ്ചിഫോയെയും വെലാസ്കോ കണ്ടു.അയാൾ തന്റെ ഹെഡ്ഫോണുകൾ വെള്ളത്തിന് മുകളിൽ ഉയർത്തിപ്പിടിച്ച് പൊന്തിക്കിടക്കുകയായിരുന്നു.മറ്റൊരു നാവികനായ ഹെരേറയുടെ അടുത്തേക്ക് ലൈഫ് ബോട്ട് തുഴയുവാനായി തുഴയുവാൻ വെലാസ്കോ ശ്രമിച്ചു . പക്ഷെ കാറ്റ് അവനു എതിരായിരുന്നു .വൈകാതെ ഹെരെറ മുങ്ങിത്താണു. കാരബല്ലോയും കാസ്റ്റിലോയും ബോട്ടിനടുത്തെത്താൻ ശ്രമിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു.അവർ മൂന്നു മീറ്റർ മാത്രം അകലെ ആയിരുന്നു .ബോട്ട് അല്പം കൂടി അടുപ്പിക്കാനായാൽ തുഴ നീട്ടി അവരെ രക്ഷപെടുത്താനാവുമെന്നു വെലാസ്കോ കരുതി.അത് താഴ്ന്നപ്പോഴേക്കും കരബല്ലോയും കാസ്റ്റിലോയും അപ്രത്യക്ഷരായി കഴിഞ്ഞിരുന്നു .ഹെഡ്ഫോൺ കയ്യിലുള്ള റേഞ്ചിഫോ മാത്രം അപ്പോഴും നീന്തുന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്നു .വെലാസ്കോ തുഴകൊണ്ട് നങ്കൂരമിട്ട് ബോട്ട് അകന്നു പോകാതിരിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിച്ചു .തന്റെ അടുത്തേക്ക് തുഴഞ്ഞുവരാൻ റെഞ്ചിഫോ അവനോടു ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു .പക്ഷെ വെലാസ്കോയ്ക്ക് അതിനു കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല .റെഞ്ചിഫോയെ തിരമാലകൾ അകലേക്ക് കൊണ്ട് പോയി .അയാൾ നീന്തി തളർന്ന് ഹെഡ്ഫോണുകളോടൊപ്പം കടലിൽ മുങ്ങിത്താണു .വെലാസ്കോ ഏറെ നേരം തന്റെ ലൈഫ് നിശ്ചലനായി നിന്നു .തന്റെ കൂട്ടാളി നാവികർ മറ്റു ലൈഫ് ബോട്ടുകളിൽ കയറി പറ്റിയിട്ടുണ്ടാകുമെന്നു അയാൾ വിശ്വസിച്ചു.സമയം നട്ടുച്ചയായി കത്തിയിറങ്ങുന്ന ചൂട് .വെലാസ്കോയുടെ വലതു കാൽമുട്ടിന് പരിക്കേറ്റിട്ടുണ്ടായിരുന്നു .ലൈഫ് ബോട്ടിലാകട്ടെ ഭക്ഷണവും വെള്ളവും ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല.വെലാസ്കോയുടെ കൈവശം തന്റെ വാച്ചും സ്വർണ്ണമോതിരവും കാർമേനിലെ മാതാവിന്റെ ഒരു പതക്കവും ഏതാനും ബിസ്സിനസ്സ് കാർഡുകളും മാത്രമേ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നുള്ളു. തന്റെ ശ്രദ്ധ തിരിക്കാനായി അവർ അവയെ നോക്കിക്കൊണ്ടേയിരുന്നു.ശ്രദ്ധ തിരിക്കാനായി അവർ അവയെ നോക്കിക്കൊണ്ടേയിരുന്നു.
impression : feeling തോന്നൽ plunge – : dip into water, മുങ്ങിത്താഴുക abyss: great depth, വലിയ ആഴം bobbing : floating, moving up and down,പൊങ്ങിക്കിടക്കുന്ന,പൊന്തിതാഴുന്ന crate : wooden case for transporting goods, ചരക്കുപെട്ടി
- What happened to the narrator?
The narrator was a shipman. He was thrown into the middle of an ocean after a shipwreck. But he managed to cling to a floating wooden box of cargo.
2. What appeared reassuring to the narrator?
The narrator at first thought that he was alone in the sea. Soon he heard shouts of his shipmates. They too had the same fate like the narrator. This knowledge reassured him.
3. “I made it on the third try. What did the narrator do on the third try?
The narrator climbed into a floating raft at the third try.
4. “Then I saw three of my mates near the raft’.Who were the three shipmates Velasco saw?
Velasco saw Castillo, Caraballo and Luis Rengifo near his raft.
5. Could Velasco save Ramon Herrera? Why?
Velasco could not save Ramon Herrera. He tried to row towards Herrera. But the raft was heavy and the wind was blowing against him. So he could not reach Herrera.
6. What were Eduardo Castillo and Julio Amador Caraballo doing?
Castillo was clinging to the neck of Caraballo. Caraballo was wearing life jacket and was swimming towards the raft.
7. What kind of a man was Luis Rengifo?
Luis Rengifo was a cool and confident man.His calmness was stronger than the sea.
8. What happened to Caraballo and Castillo?
When a huge sea wave came, Caraballo was drowned with Castillo hanging to his neck.
9. What was the absurd thing done by the narrator?
The narrator could not move forward in the rough sea as the wind was against him. Hence he put the oar in the sea and tried to anchor the raft.
10. How did Amador and Castillo vanish?
Amador Caraballo and Castillo neared the life raft. Velasco wanted to hold out the oar towards them when they came closer. But suddenly a huge wave lifted the raft. When it came down Caraballo and Castillo had vanished.
11. . ‘I made a last try’. What was the last try made by Velasco? Was he successful in it?
Velasco tried to row the raft towards Rengifo. But he was not successful. Rengifo sank into the ocean forever, less than two metres from the oar.
12. ‘I kept searching the water, hoping that someone would surface soon’. Did anyone come to the surface? Why?
No one came to the surface. All of them were drowned.
13. Pick out the image that describes the sun.
The sun was hot and metallic.
14. ……..but, I tried to resign, myself to it.’ What did Velasco resign himself to?
Velasco resigned himself to the fact that he was alone in the sea and he had to wait for a long time before he would be saved. He had no food or water.
15.Why did Velasco splash water over his head?
Velasco had lost his cap and the mid day sun was burning his head. Hence he splashed water on his fore head.
16. ‘……but when I did. I was started’. Why was Velasco startled?
Velasco was startled because he saw a half-moon shaped wound on the lower part of his knee. He did not know how he hurt himself
17. What were the items in the list of belonging of Velasco?
Velasco had his watch, a gold ring, a medal of the Virgin of Carmen and a few business cards with him.
Let’s revisit Activity 1
You have identified the major events of the story, haven’t you? Here’s a graphic story for you.Study the pictures carefully and write the appropriate events from the story in the space provided. Try to add possible dialogues too. Now, you can narrate the story from the point of view of Velasco. Some events are given to help you.
3. The ship was caught in the violent waves of Caribbean sea
4. I was thrown into the sea alongwith a few shipmates. We swam toward a raft.
5. I could reach the raft. The other shipmates called out to me to row towards them.
6. The wind was blowing hard. But I tried throw towards Herrera
7. I called out to him to swim. But Herrera was drowned.
8. Then I rowed towards Caraballo and Castillo. But a huge sea wave lifted me up. When I came down with the raft, Caraballo and Castillo disappeared under water.
9. Meanwhile Rengifo was swimming towards the raft with his headphones held aloft in hand.
10. I said that I could not row towards him. But Rengifo could not swim and was drowned with his headphones
11. The hot, metallic mid day sun was burning my head and skin. I had no food or water. I waited on the raft till I was saved.
12. I don’t know what to do. I looked at my belongings. I have watch, a gold ring, keys to my locker and three business cards.
Which event in the story do you think is the most tragic? Why?
The drowning of Caraballo with Castillo clinging on to his neck is the most tragic event in the story. Velasco and his raft were only three metres away from them. Velasco could have held out the oar for them to grab. But suddenly huge sea wave lifted the raft up. When it come down they were drowned at sea.
Let’s enrich our Vocabulary. Activity 1
Look at the opening sentence of the story, ‘My first impression was that I was utterly alone in the middle of the ocean.’
Here the narrator describes his experience of a shipwreck in first person. How would the sentence change if he expressed the same in third person?
Velasco’s First impression was that he was utterly alone in the middle of the ocean’.
The possessive form of nouns are made by adding ‘-s’’ to the nouns. e.g. Sajina’s book, Rahul’s bat etc. But in the case of pronouns the words take new forms.
The possessive of ‘I’ is ‘my’. Find the possessive forms of the pronouns we, you, he, she, they, and it. Use each pronoun and its possessive in sentences of your own.
Pronouns and possessive forms.
- I have a brother, but my brother is taller than I .
- We go to school by bus. But our bus is a mini-bus
- You can keep your belongings in the cupboard.
- He has brought his cricket bar to the class today.
- She has shown us her painting.
- Their performance will be good if they use the right costume.
- The sun is very bright. Because of its brightness we can’t look at it.
Look at some of the words used in the story.
Unexpectedly , Disappeared , Indefinitely , Reassuring
It can be seen that the suffixes ‘-ly’, ‘-ed’ and ‘-ing’ are used after the root word. You can also see that some elements are added before the root word.
‘un-‘, ‘dis-‘, ‘in-‘, and ‘re-‘, respectively are added before the root word. These are examples of prefixes in English.
Fill in the following table with prefixed words identified from the story or with such words from a dictionary.
Fill in the blanks in the following passage picking up the right words given in the box.
impression, recognise, contemplate, surface, evidence
can’t contemplate what it would be like to be alone. My impression of it is really frightening. I am saying this based on the evidence I got from my reading. I also recognise that floating on the surface of the sea on a boat alone is a more frightening experience than being trapped in a forest.
Let’s write Activity 1
The narrator was given a heroic welcome by the people of his locality. Imagine that he narrates his experience in a public meeting. Write the possible speech the narrator might have delivered.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy to be in front of you.I Never thought that I would be alive and be among my dear ones. It was a terrible experience at sea. The shipwreck, the loss of my friends, the terrible loneliness, the hunger and thirst… and then the miraculous escape… everything looks like a nightmare. I don’t know how I could manage all those adverse situations. Even now, when I think of it, I feel terror enveloping my body. But it’s all over. This difficult experience has taught me a lesson that we should not yield to any hardships in life. Tolerance perseverance and confidence can lead us to victory. Anyway I’m very much grateful to my beloved ones for giving me such a wonderful reception back home. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you. Let me conclude with these words, ‘Face the challenges boldly and the ultimate success will be yours’. . Thank you All
The story, ‘The Shipwrecked Sailor’ is narrated from the point of view of a man involved in a shipwreck. If you were Valesco’s friend, how would you narrate the story You may begin like this.
Valesco and his four friends were sailing through the Caribbean Sea. Suddenly, the ship plunged into an abyss and disappeared .He thought that he was utterly alone in the sea. Soon, he began to hear shouts nearby. He recognised the voice of his friend Caraballo. Soon he saw that his other ship mates were also thrown into the sea. They were shouting to one another to stay afloat. Two life rafts appeared unexpectedly on the crest of the wave. Velasco swam for about three minutes and struggled to grab it. Finally he jumped aboard. Castillo , Caraballo and Luis Rengifo were trying to stay above the water and reach the raft. He grabbed the oars and tried to get closer to the men. At that time he saw the fourth of his mates, Ramon Herrera, who was waving at him while he held on to a crate. Velasco began to paddle furiously. It was very heavy in that lurching and he had to row is the wind. When he looked around he saw the Herrera had disappeared. Rengifo was swimming confidently towards the raft. Meanwhile a gigantic ware lifted the raft. After that he found that Caraballo had vanished with Castillo. Rengifo was still swimming calmly towards the raft. In an instant, Velasco was five meters away from Rengifo and had lost sight of him. Velasco tried to row, but in vain. He made a list try to save Rengifo. Unfortunately he was not successful and Rengifo sank forever, less than two meters away from the oar. Velasco was alone at sea without food and water. He sat on the side of the raft waiting to be rescued Uncertain as to what to do he decided to make an inventory of his belonging. Since he had nothing else to do, he read the cards over and over to distract himself until he was rescued.