Sailing with Poppies


To be honest, I enjoyed every moment reading the first few pages of Sea of Poppies (If you’re not familiar with literature, I’d strongly suggest you google some reviews on the book. It’d help a great deal). I mean, how could anyone not fall in love with descriptions such as this,

‘the blooms lingered so long that people began to say that there would be no need to buy colours when Holi came: the flowers would be enough to drench the world in the joyful hues of the month of Phalgun’?

Just so you know, Holi or ‘Phagwah’ is the most colourful festival celebrated by followers of the Vedic Religion. It is celebrated as harvest festival as well as welcome-festival for the spring season in India.

Everything was a harmonious read till I came to page 15…Check this out:

”Afeem ship,’ camethe answer. ‘China-side, Yankee gen’l’um allo tim tok so-fashion. Also Mich’man like Malum Zikri.”


”’Malum Zikri! Captin-bugger blongi poo-shoo-foo. He hab got plenty sick! Need one piece dokto. No can chow-chow tiffin. Allo tim do chhee-chhee, pee-pee. Plenty smelly in Captin cabin.”

and it continues…

I quickly flipped through the rest of the pages, kept my fingers crossed, and hoped that the rest of the book would not be written in this manner (not that I hated it, but too much of anything is never good) but only to have found the constant use of that language throughout the book (though not as heavy as the ones mentioned above). So I sought for help at, and was glad that I did. Yes, Sea of Poppies has its own chrestomathy 😛 (You have to check it out if you’re reading this book. It’s pretty interesting. From what I’ve read about Ghosh, he has a strong love for language).

Amitav Ghosh is one of India’s best-known writers. His books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, Incendiary Circumstances, The Hungry Tide. His most recent novel, Sea of Poppies, is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy.

And another thing which I thought was quite unique, was that, whenever he used a ‘foreign’ word, he didn’t use the italic form. Meaning, the foreign words was almost like, urm,…being incorporated into the British English (ok I don’t think I’ve explained this part quite well, but I hope anyone who’s reading this get what I mean)

I’ve just completed chapter 5, where Neel Rattan was given an irresistable offer, which he had to decline…

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