Sea of Poppies - A masterpiece by the genius
Sea of Poppies is a fiction, at the heart of which is the ship named Ibis. A mosaic of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts are aboard. The ship is to have a turbulent voyage along the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius Island.
A diverse cast of Indians and Westerners have been brought together in the ship at a time when colonial disturbances were at its peak. The people aboard sail down the Hooghly into the sea and the writer correlates this journey into the sea, as a phenomenon where old family ties are washed away and the diverse range of people live as ship-brothers.
The ship brothers are taken to remote islands where they are to live new lives and this is the start of an improbable dynasty. The story revolves around Deeti, an ordinary village woman, Zachary, a sailor of American Origin, Neel, an Indian Landlord and finally and an evangelist opium trader. The characters are portrayed as poppy seeds originating from the field to form the sea. Like the seed which is unsure of what is to come, they are uncertain of the future that awaits them.
Deeti is saved from a customary Sati by ox man from the neighboring village. They unite later which is un-acceptable to the villagers. The American sailor on the other hand, gains utmost attention since he has been on the Ibis since long and hopes to die with it. Neel Rattan Haldar is a wealthy landlord but has sold all his property to pay off the loans due to losses incurred during the opium trade with China. Yet another character is Miss Paulette, a French lady who eventually falls in love with Zachary.
The ship Ibis serves as a shelter to all the travelers aboard. But after a series of bloodshed in the vessel, a few of them escape unaware of the future that awaits them. This is certainly a true masterpiece by the much acclaimed writer. One should read it to believe his genius.