Why did the Mughals often represent the archangel Israfil (Raphael) with a huge fish? How does the actual domination of capital tend to lower the Intelligence Quotient? Why did the decisive battles of the Thirty Years’ War take place between the Bay of Bengal and the Strait of Malacca? Would the Mughal philosophy be summed up by amo ergo sum? What is piracy? Why do fish have big round eyes? Do younger generations gain from learning and practicing etiquette? Does lemongrass make mosquitoes flee? Why does necessity produce countless consequences, rather than reduce their quantity? What makes spiders endearing and beautiful? Are units and measurements the only practicable bridges between the world of concrete things and that of the mind?
This is what one may learn by reading my travel diary on an uncrowded island between those of the Sunda and the Bay of Bengal, an ancient pirates’ island on the marches of the Mughal Empire.