A Possible Biography of an Ocean


Map Sinthujan
Cartographic collaboration between Léopold Lambert and Sinthujan Varatharajah for the purpose of this contribution (2021).

the horizon was ornated with white clouds scattered across a deep blue sky. we stood there, looking across waves crushing down on the light brown sand below our feet, slowly pulling the ground from underneath us. our gaze focused into the distance, searching for an image of something across the water’s surface, something that wasn’t apparent to the mere eye, something that didn’t attract anyone’s attention but ours.

the sea’s warm breath tickled our feet, drenched our clothes and pulled us closer into its seabed. don’t walk too far into the water, she said. the sea does not discriminate.

on the other side of the ocean, less than 40 kilometres away, was a shoreline heavily guarded by navy patrol officers; almost as if the stretch of land behind this horizon was a large prison without ceiling; almost as if the land behind this sea separating two shorelines from one another was a gateway into a completely different world.