Aquapelagic Assemblages article (2017)

Published in At Sea special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly Volume 45 Numbers 1–2: Spring/Summer 2017

The high seas are a locus of migrant and refugee crossings, lawlessness, and of environmental destruction. Academics mobilize the motif of “at sea” on a literal or figurative level, submerging in its flow of ever-changing political processes. A place of transformation, in-betweens, and movement, the ocean unites and divides us, shaping us as nations and individuals.


Portuguese Sea, a sea of accounting.

Lusophone memories lie embedded across the Malabar Coast

where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet the Tagus River

at estuaries, around archipelagoes, at the confluence of the River Periyar.

Here, one walks the Mar Portugues in all its violent ruin

forgotten but not disappeared

enmeshed in the red clay and forbidding stones

of Castello construction at Kannur, Cochin, Kollam, Cranganore

At Fort Aguado, Goa, the Oublie stands a dark reminder

of a sea of accounting



New study on UV Radiation

An article in The Guardian by palaeobotanist Susie Lydon covering a new study on the history of UV radiation on Earth.

A mixture of pollen viewed under a scanning electron microscope (and artificially coloured!).
A mixture of pollen viewed under a scanning electron microscope (and artificially coloured!). Photograph: By Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


A spore tetrad (green) and trilete spores (blue, ~30-35μm diameter) from a late Silurian sporangium (Burgsvik beds, Sweden). Spore genus is Scylaspora. Photograph: By Smith609 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Of Forts and Ghosts at Cranganore (Kodungalloor)

A mud road veers to the right of the main highway at Kodungulloor, Kerala. Under the bridge hanging a hard right, the little mud road keeps to the edge of the promontory, approaching an expansive view of the magisterial Periyar river framed by palm trees receeding into the horizon. The remnants of a large, multileveled fort rises out of the archaeological site of Muziris, at modern Kodungulloor, ancient Cranganore. It is the outer walls of the Castillo Fortalleza da Sao Tome (A.D. 1523) built by the Portuguese in Cranganore. Known as the Cranganore Fort, it was usurped by the Dutch in 1661, and later, came under the control of Tipu Sultan.

Standing at the tip of the water bound fort, one is reminded of the Tagus River flowing regally by the ancient city of Lisbon’s Castillo. The resemblance of the site to Lisbon’s Castillo is deliberate. The Portuguese colonial encampments reproduce the spatial imaginary of Lisbon along the Malabar coast. At Kannur (Cannanore), Kodungulloor (Cranganore), Fort Cochin, and Tangassery in ancient Quilon, this visual repetition is most striking. One can trace the nostalgia for Lisbon along the Malabar Coast. Across the waters, at Mombasa, a similar vista of fort rising at the tip of a promonitory at Fort Jesus echoes Fort Aguada at the head of the Mandovi River at Candolim, Goa, at once mournful and fearsome. The linking stories between these sites are many and elusive.


Mar Português: Cais das Colunas in Lisbon, Portugal (May 2012)

a phantom longing haunts the riverside

immersing the senses in water

now Goa, now Lisbon