My childhood years were marked by the roar of sea waves. I would wake up early on Sunday mornings to the sound of the waves rushing forth and striking the shore before withdrawing. The growth of coconut trees outside my window meant that I could not, from my room, watch the Bay of Bengal—for that I would have to climb up the staircase, a task that, to a ten-year-old, is not even conceivable on Sunday. So I would lie there, blinking in the leaf-filtered sunlight, listening to the waves. I fancied they had a dialogue: saying I am there, when striking the shore, and then I am not there, when withdrawing.
So years later, it was a windfall when I bought Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The Cat’s Table—that is about a sea journey—and on the same day, a little ship that had been put together by a Turkish artist from scraps found along the sea: driftwood, sail, and mooring hooks.