It took three months for news of Indian Independence to reach the coral islands of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea—then known as Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands—lying on the sea route between West Asia and North Africa on the one side, and South Asia and Sri Lanka on the other. When the message arrived at the shores of Kavaratti, no one was willing to believe the messenger. Chekkekeel Khalid had gone with a group of fellow islanders in an odam (a traditional vessel power