Loving a Pirate: A Tale of Passion
The Portuguese ship set sail from Lisbon to the Portuguese enclave of Goa in India. The Portuguese had a near-monopoly of the shipping to India after the first voyage of the master mariner Vasco da Gama in 1498. In the 17th and 18th century the Portuguese had consolidated their rule in a small enclave at Goa located on the west coast of India. Goa was incorporated as part of Portuguese overseas territory and was ruled by Governor appointed from Lisbon.
The Portuguese rulers in Goa invariably imported wives from Portugal and Governor Barthlemo Diaz at the age of 40 had decided to marry again. The king of Portugal had accepted his request and accordingly after due persuasion Princess Maria was selected to be the bride of the Governor.
Princess Maria was on board the ship that was proceeding to Goa. The voyage was likely to take about 30 days. The Princess was given a cabin to herself and she got ready for the long voyage to the east. The captain of the ship a close confidante of the King looked after the princess. After 25 days with a stop at the Cape of Good Hope, the ship had entered the Indian Ocean. The captain came up to the cabin of the princess and after knocking entered inside.
"Your highness," he said, "we have entered the Indian Ocean and another 5 days we shall be in Goa."
The princess who had been getting bored during the voyage clasped her hands and said, " I am so glad that this tedious voyage is coming to an end and me long to set foot on solid land."
The captain cleared his throat and said," Princess, we are now entering into a dangerous part of the ocean."
" Yes, my lady, this is a pirate-infested area and though we have carabinieri on board, yet these pirates can be dangerous. They are either Arab Moslems or Maratha's and we have to be on guard against them."
The Pirate Attack and Abduction
There was a shout from the lookout who said," Captain, I see a black ship approaching and from the look, it is of Arab origin."
The captain came on board and took out his looking glass and looked at the approaching ship, " yes," he said," my worst fears are confirmed, this is the pirate Barkat Ali"
The Princess also came on deck and asked," who is Barkat Ali?"
The captain looked at the Princess and said," my lady, he is a relatively young buccaneer but you better got down in your cabin and let us deal with this renegade."
He walked towards the Carabinieri and shouted a brisk command," Soldiers Load your muskets and get ready for battle. Anybody who picks out Barkat Ali gets hundred gold sovereigns from the king of Portugal."
The pirate ship was coming ominously closer. The buccaneer Barkat Ali stood on the bridge and with his eye-scape and was looking at the Portuguese ship. He was about 25 years old with a fair complexion. He was muscular and strongly built and in case he was to be dressed like a count, he would be termed handsome.
His gaze narrowed on the deck of the ship and with his telescope, he saw the princess on the deck. Maria had not gone below deck as instructed by the captain but had stood where she was. Barkat Ali could make out that she was perhaps 20 and was struck by her beauty. She looked regal and royal, with a slim waist and glistening white complexion and Barkat Ali wondered who she was. He immediately decided on the spur of the moment that he would not loot the Portuguese ship but would take that beautiful girl for him.
He ordered the gunner to fire the cannon. "Look," he said, " fire the canon but don't hit the ship." The Gunner spiked the cannon and lit the fuse and the cannon roared but the shot fell away from the Portuguese ship.
"My God," one of the soldiers said," the ship has a canon and we don't have, what are we going to do captain?"
"Wait," the captain said," Barkat Ali has fired the cannon only to frighten us, he has some other plans, let him come closer and don't fire your muskets. I don't want all of you to go to a watery grave"
Barkat Ali's ship slowly closed to the Portuguese ship and when it was close by Barkat Ali shouted to the captain, I know who you are my friend, you have been sailing the ocean for many years and you know I am a man of my word. I will let your ship go safe and sound but you have to give me something which you have."
"I have nothing" the captain replied
"Yes, you have the most beautiful girl, so fair and lovely standing by your side and I would like to take her with me."
"I will not allow it, she's a princess and she is better off to marry the Governor of Goa. Let her go."
Barkat Ali now spoke," I have a proposition, let the princess come on board my ship and in case she doesn't want to stay here I give you my word I will send her back."
The captain was in a quandary and looked at the Princess. Maria looked at the captain and said,"do you think he is a man who keeps his word?"
"The legend is that he is a man of his word"
"Then let me go abroad his ship, I will see him reject him and then I will come back. This is the best option as the lives of all the sailors in the ship will be saved."
"I have my reservations princess but if you say, so so be it. I hope you see Barkat Ali and reject him and then as per his word he will send you back."
The captain shouted his assent and the pirate ship closed into the Portuguese ship. A boarding plank was thrown over and Barkat Ali himself quickly walked over the plank onto the Portuguese ship. He moved towards the Princess and bowed low and said, " my lady, I do not know who you are but please come over to my ship."
The Princess looked at the pirate and realized he was not the ogre at all. She saw that he was young and handsome and she nodded her head. She expected to be led over the boarding plank by hand but Ali just lifted her and cradled her in his arms as a child and with swift movements went over to the ship. Maria was thrilled with this act of Barkat Ali and as he boarded the plank she could see the water down and she clung to his chest.
When she was on the pirate ship the plank was pulled back and the captain of the Portuguese ship said," why are you pulling the plank back the princess has to come."
The Portuguese ship saw the pirate ship move away and for once the captain thought he had been fooled. Barkat Ali carried the princess Maria to his small cabin and put her on the bed there. " tell me, beautiful lady," he said," do you want to go back or live with me?"
She saw Barkat Ali and liked him and she had seen a painting of the Governor who was pretty old and she had never seen him. She remembers the way Ali had carried her across the plank from one ship to the other. She looked into the eyes of Barkat Ali and realized that he had fallen in love with her.
Maria said softly," I am not wanting to go back I will live my life with you and I am sure it will be a great adventure."Barkat Ali gathered her in his arms and kissed her. It was a short chaste kiss and Princess Maria felt that she had taken the right decision in staying on in the pirate ship.
She looked at Barkat Ali and asked, "you are supposed to be a man of your word but you have already pulled your ship away from the Portuguese ship and the planks have been removed, if I had said no how would you have sent me back?".
Barkat Ali said, "my lady that is a gamble I had taken. I was sure you will not go back because you will see the love in my eyes for you. Sometimes God says that there can be love at first sight and I can safely say this is what has happened to me."
Maria lay down on the bed and wondered what had happened. The pirate ship was making good progress and after some time, Barkat Ali came carrying food for her. She ate ravenously and asked, "where are we heading?"
" Towards the island of Janjira on the west coast, near Bombay."
"Because I am the Nawab of Janjira"
The princess was stunned. She could have never imagined that this handsome pirate was a Nawab and he ruled over a small island.
"My princess," Barkat Ali said," I became crazy when I saw you on board and I am going to have the Nikaah with you."
"But I am not a Muslim"
"Love knows no religion princess, I desire you, and if you agree I will get the Kazi right now."
The princess was in a state of confusion. Her whole world seems to have changed. She just nodded her head and in another 15 minutes, she had become the wife of Barkat Ali.
With the movement of the ship, Barkat Ali cradled the princess. He started unraveling the strings of her blouse and skirt and then led her on the small bed. He was young and his passion was ardent. It was his dream to marry a European princess and that dream has been fulfilled. He kissed Maria a hundred times. It was a long love bout and after what appeared an eon Maria felt her self float into the sky. She closed her eyes and had a feeling that she had risen above the ship and below she could see the Sea.
She couldn’t get enough of him though she was tired and sore she didn’t care; she didn’t want to sleep and wanted him in her, all the time. She wanted his sweat to drop onto her as he exerted. She couldn’t believe it was happening; giving herself to a pirate on a ship in the Indian Ocean.
He sucked her toes and moved up to her breasts. The whole room rocked with the movement of the ship
A short gasp and Barkat Ali had won over Princess Maria. They lay in each other's arms for a long time savoring the delightful movement of the ship that sailed in the Indian Ocean.
As Barkat Ali softly kissed Maria there was a knock on the door. Barkat Ali got up dressed and opened the door. Outside the first mate was standing. He said, " Huzoor, a British man of war is approaching from some distance. It has at least 24 cannons and we are not a match for it."
Barkat Ali came inside and gently woke up the princess, "my lady he said we are in trouble a British warship is approaching and we cannot fight it."
"What will we do?"
"We will escape in a small boat."
Barkat Ali came out on the deck with the Princess and faced the crew, " my men, you have been very brave with me but as you know the British ship wants to capture me only and I am going to go away, once I go away you can surrender to the British and they will treat you properly."
"But what will we do without you, sir?"
Barkat Ali smiled, "I have a lot of reaches, my friends, you go home and you will receive a message from me later on but now I must go."
A small boat was lowered into the ocean and Barkat Ali jumped into it with Maria cradled in his arms. The princess was wondering what a great adventure she was experiencing. Barkat Ali now began to strongly row way from the ship while the pirate ship moved closer to words the British man of war. The British ship fired a gun and the pirate ship put up the white flag. It was all over for them as the boarding party from the British ship came and took charge. But they could not find Barkat Ali who had escaped.
The point of contact with the British ship was just about 20 miles from the island of Janjira and Barkat Ali with his knowledge of the sea piloted the boat towards the island. In about two hours, they had hit the beach. The Princess was dog tired and Barkat Ali cradled her in his arms and walked to his palace.
Barkat Ali reached his palace and took Maria inside. She was struck by his opulence and riches and realized that she had taken the right decision in coming away with Barkat Ali. She would now be the wife of the Nawab.
There were festivities all around and that night the princes had her nuptial night on the bed of the Nawab. Barkat Ali whispered to her, " I have longed to have a European preferably an ultra fair princess as my wife. My dream has come true, now the pirate Barkat Ali is dead; never to rise again."
The Portuguese and the British could never lay their hands on Barkat Ali nor Princess Maria. They wondered where the pirate had vanished and legends grew around him. Mària became the wife of the Nawab and like in fairytales, they lived happily ever after.