How did you get into this profession? Where did you pursue the training from?
I was actually preparing for the IIT-JEE and got selected in the extended merit list. That’s when I got to know that I had four options and merchant navy was one of them. So, I decided that I would take this up. Thereafter, I joined IMI Noida, did my pre-sea training from there and then in the third year I got selected with Anglo Eastern. It’s been 5 years since I have been sailing with Anglo Eastern and am grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to work on different types of vessels.
Can you tell us about your maiden book?
The book is called ‘Anchor My Heart’ and it is published by ‘Harper Collins’. The book tells a story of a woman seafarer who is a marine engineer and is the only girl on board amongst 23 male colleagues. The story revolves around her struggles on board and a long-distance relationship on shore with a doctor.
Since your book broaches on the professional challenges on board, what challenges did you face during your sail?
The biggest challenge is the people’s mindset. Being a lady, you are always welcomed with an unconscious bias and ambiguity on ‘how will we get the work done’, specifically in the engine room where there is a lot of mechanical and physical labor involved. You are being judged on the basis of a fact that you are a girl and this is even before they meet you, hence you have to double your work to prove yourself.
What inspired you to write a book?
The inspiration emanated out of the discontent. When you are not being liked or you receive less or no appreciation for your work, you need to vent out your feelings and thoughts. Since I was the only girl on board having no one to discuss these things about, I started penning down my emotions.
Why did you take seafaring as a profession?
I adore working with machines and I like my job which demands a great sense of responsibility like dealing with a 600 KW generator and boiler. Moreover, I admire the glorious profession of seafaring which is much respected by people. My interests were always directed to do something different and my choice to become a seafarer has fulfilled the same. In fact, as a seafarer you can indulge in a lot of things once you are back on shore.
“From college to ship, the tag of ‘only girl’ has not been as simple as it read’, rightly quoted by Ms. Nyari Nain, Third Engineer, in her first ever book ‘Anchor My Heart’. Her entry to the maritime profession was driven by her desire to be a part of the most responsible and glorious profession and as she sailed through her professional journey, she captured her experiences in the debut book. The satisfactory blend of love and profession, responsibilities and struggles on ship are aptly described in the novel which was launched in Delhi by Shri Nitin Gadkari on 27th February”
What support did you receive from your parents on your professional front?
My parents have been always supportive of my choice of profession irrespective of the fact that my family knew nothing about the profession earlier. I have learnt a lot about taking up the responsibilities and leading life with all the challenges from my mother.
What would you say about IMO’s World Maritime Day 2019 theme on ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’?
I feel there is a lot more to be done with regards to empowerment. However, the most important thing is awareness and tendency to get accustomed to the presence of women on board. All engineers cannot be perfect, be it men or women. So, there is a need to change the perspective that if a woman can’t do something and any issue with a girl on the ship cannot be used to maintain a generalized opinion for all women seafarers out there. This is because I feel that all those women who are working in merchant navy have accepted the field the way it is. They have accepted it the way men have done.
Can you throw some light on your touring experience whenever ship reaches port?
One of the many bright sides of our profession is that we get to see some untouched locations, when the ship is in port. We would never actually get there through as tourists on package. Some of these locations have inspired me a lot in my writing, in fact I have mentioned some of them in the book as well.
Any message you would like to convey to the shipping industry?
As an author I would request everyone to read my book because feedbacks matter a lot for my next book. I would want the industry folks to read it first and then of course anybody out of the industry can have it. Anchor My Heart is in the process of being adapted into a movie and I feel a good reader gets through a book before it gets adapted. Secondly, don’t wait for the right time, if you desire to succeed and achieve something out of where you are right now. The right time is now.
When can we expect your next book and what is it about?
The second book is going to be a thriller love story and it is basically about pirate attacks and hijacking. Since I am working on two scripts in parallel, I cannot give any estimated publishing time.
There is a lot skepticism among parents to send out their daughters in this industry so what message you would like to give them?
I would like to tell them, there is nothing girls can’t do, whatever I dream of I have the inherent capability to achieve it and as far as criticism is concerned, you always deal with something that some people will not be happy with. Criticism will always be there, just focus on what you are good at.