There were so many days I stayed up late at night or until early morning trying to connect with Sagar Singh Bisht for this podcast I lost count. In order to match up with his Indian time zone for the investigation I’ve set alarms, headed out to a variety of make-shit and professional studios after everyone else has left or before anyone else arrived and collected a vast trove of contracts and legal documents, to learn what I could. Ever since I first got in touch with Sagar, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the details of his next move.
His twin, Kshitij Singh Bisht, died in a marine accident almost one year ago, just three days on the job as a deck cadet with the MSC Damla cargo ship, shattering Sagar’s sense of normalcy. I’m not quite sure why, but I felt an affinity for Sagar right away. Maybe it was his culinary blog, his love of cheesy Western pop songs or that he reminded me of guys I’ve worked with in the service or nightclub promotion industries. Sagar agreed to share his story with me and I wanted to do my absolute best to tell it for our listeners.
The pain of losing a brother was compounded by the complexity of trying to navigate the bureaucratic waters of dealing with death in the marine industry. For example, even now, after the family has agreed to a set payment for the loss of Kshitij, Sagar says he still hasn’t seen a copy of the accident investigation in a language he can understand. We talked to lots of experts for this story, and even professionals representing ship companies admitted there are some serious challenges they don’t expect to be addressed anytime soon.
Just the other day I once again reached out to Sagar and discovered he’d decided to move on with his life in a way I totally didn’t expect. In the podcast I tried to capture a sense of what life is really like for modern sailors, to get a better idea of what lies behind the discount prices we see on store shelves. But mainly, I wanted to do this podcast justice in order to honour my own interactions with Sagar. And I wish him nothing but the best in his surprising next venture.
By: Drew Penner