Do You See?

“Our thirst is unquenchable”; Odd Tom’s Story; Highlands Photos

Posts are a little sparse these days. Not that topics are lacking. It’s not to do with general lethargy either. Perhaps general lack of enthusiasm. I should make it clear though — as usual, I read poetry e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. Without fail.

My article number 5 went up on Prairie Schooer web site on July 9, and it has been garnering some steady good feedback.

Read an excerpt from “The Curious Case of Thomas Coryate, Renaissance Traveler to India“, and also the full article:

In his chapter, Vine raises a pertinent question: “How far might their (Sandys and Coryate) works be conceived as a particularly literary kind of collection?” The answer may be seen in the fact that a traveler-writer such as Coryate also kept manuals, wrote letters and maintained lists. Known collectively as the Apodemic Arts, these works have thrown open to us a curious world through the peregrinations undertaken by the gentleman traveler. To be precise, the apodemic arts are manuals on “how to travel, travel guides, if you like,” says Vine. “They’re not, however, some early modern equivalent to The Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.”

“In the true Renaissance spirit, Coryate believed in personal investigations in unknown cities and regions. Educated in the Classics as well as contemporary disciplines, his primary interest lay in finding out the expanse of the classical world. From what I tried hinting in my book, you could say Coryate’s inquiry also looked beyond this,” Vine surmises.

Thanks to Dr. Angus Vine of the University of Stirling for helping me get this article in shape. I made it a point to bother him enough so as to be able to selfishly enjoy learning more about “Odd Tom”.

What needs mention is, one particular feedback on the article came from Prof. Jonathan Gil Harris. He is currently based in India and is writing a series of articles based on which he plans a book, the tentative title being “Tales of the First Firangis“. I had already read Harris’ article on Hyderabad’s past. My bias lies with this city where I reside currently, so reading “The Heera-Wallah of Golconda” detailing the accounts of Tavernier, the French traveler, provided me with interesting perspectives.

Gil (that’s the first name he prefers to go by) and I seem to share the enthusiasm about how white Europeans came to India outside of the colonial project and lent their bodies to Indian climes and cultures, also at times to death on Indian soil, as was the case with Coryate.

I’m eager to know further. Will post more on this later.


Uploaded some Fort William-Mallaig pictures. They were sitting in my camera. The ones from the train are blurry.

And I don’t think even the best of the photos would do justice to the Highlands. It is a massive, vast, sombre and sometimes threatening place. Wind swept, grim, dotted with bogs and moors, treeless — the Highlands is a huge sky under the sky, a swathe of land over the lands we have seen, expanse of lochs that mirror all the water we know. Something I can’t even describe, don’t have words for.

The westernmost seas of the UK, seen from the shore of Mallaig


Did I say I read poetry everyday? Also, every  night! My thirst is unquenchable.

Fountains in the sea



Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Cunning life keeps asking for more and then a drop more.
Our ankles are weighted with lead, we delve under the wave.
We bend to our spades, we survive the force of the gusher.
Our bodies fountain with sweat in the deeps of the sea,
Our forehead aches and holds like a sunken prow.
We are out of breath, divining the heart of the geyser,
Constellations are bobbing like corks above on the swell.
Earth is a waterwheel, the buckets go up and go down,
But to keep the whole aqueous architecture standing its ground
We must make a ring with our bodies and dance out a round
On the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water.
Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.
My love, under the tall sky of hope
Our love and our love alone
Keeps dowsing for water.
Sinking the well of each other, digging together.
Each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea.

4 comments on ““Our thirst is unquenchable”; Odd Tom’s Story; Highlands Photos

  1. Mihir Vatsa
    July 15, 2012

    Loved the poem and loving your article as I read it.

    Really good article this one. :]

  2. Mihir Vatsa
    July 15, 2012

    Also, nice theme. Though I find it better for photo-blogging.

  3. Do You See
    July 16, 2012

    Hey Vatsa, eid ka chand! No, I’m joking. How’s your MA exam endeavor going? Jamia or JNU?

    Thanks, that article was something that needs to be fleshed out more. What I wrote is a preliminary. A bit stiff too. I think some day I’ll have to revisit it.

    The theme change is just out of boredom. I’ll probably revert (did you read the story on “worst Indianisms in English”?) to my earlier blog theme. I don’t like the orange headlines!!

    Talk more. Stay well.

  4. Do You See
    July 16, 2012

    Oh, MV, I’ll read your new poem. Congrats on publishing 🙂

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