Kochiite Lieutenant Commander Abhilash Tomy became a household name in India when he was adjudged the first Indian and the 79th person in the world to go around the globe on a sailboat, alone and without stops.
The young naval reconnaissance pilot, who has been conferred with Kirti Chakra for his feat, has now notched up along with media professional Lynn de Souza, a pictorial book on the circumnavigation, titled ‘151’, indicating the number of days of the historic voyage.
The coffee table book, released in Delhi last week, showcases souvenir photographs taken by the intrepid voyager — who had previously acted as a shutterbug chronicling the solo circumnavigation of Commander Dilip Donde during port calls — in addition to his voyage updates on social media and the Sagar Parikrama blog and fan notes thereto.
The picture-perfect tome offers the most sincere and evocative account of a young man’s passion for the seas, love of solitude, and a rare tenderness towards his sole companion on the daunting expedition, INSV Mhadei, a 56-foot tall naval sloop which has gone around the world twice till date.
The book carries a message from President Pranab Mukherjee. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi has written the forward while the conclusion is by Admiral A K Sinha, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command. Snaps contributed by fans and friends lend the tome a tone of intimacy.
Lt Cdr Tomy’s co-author Ms. de Souza also played a part in disseminating the story of Sagar Parikrama-II by making two short films and a special national anthem video using the flag hoist at Cape Horn.
“Abhilash’s [Lt Cdr Tomy] instinctive eye for colour and composition was keenly honed when nature presented herself to him in all her grandeur as he roamed the skies as a naval aviator, and sailed the oceans as a champion yachtsman,” says Ms. de Souza.
“This has led to photographs of great beauty and sensitivity as well as historical significance. His immense personal love for the sailboat, the Mhadei, enabled me to introduce a poignance to this story that will capture the fancy of anyone who loves or wants to love the oceans.”
For Lt Cdr Tomy, the book will remember the wake that the sea hurriedly covered up after the Mhadei. Hardly a week into publication, Lt Cdr Tomy says the response to it has been overwhelming. Brought out by Spenta Multimedia, ‘151’ is a 168 page, 11x11 inch full colour hardbound book. It is priced at Rs 1,500.