India's coasts are large, vast wildernesses that witness the mystical pageantry of life. They have given us monsters and myths, they are fathoms deep and full of whispers, home to unknown creatures and sprawling ecosystems. They are chasms of beauty and frontiers of possibility. From deep within the dark, unknowable abyss of our oceans comes a coruscating kaleidoscope of colours and brilliance: the intertidal zone. And the marine lifeforms of these zones are capable of superpowers of the kind that comic book characters can only dream of.
Mumbai hosts some magnificent intertidal species-solar-powered slugs, escape-artist octopuses, venomous jellies, and harpooning Conus sea snails, to name just a few. It is as biodiverse as a forest wildlife safari, and twice as secretive. From bioluminescence and advanced sonic capabilities to camouflage and shape-shifting, these cloaked assassins are capable of otherworldly skill. Superpowers on the Shore by Sejal Mehta is a dazzling, assured look at some of the creatures with whom we share our world, our water, our monsoons, our beaches and the sandcastles therein.
Come witness the magic of our intertidal superheroes, their fragile beauty and their iridescent drama. Put on your waterproof shoes, pack a bottle of whimsy, and bring your sense of wonder. And prepare to be mesmerized.
Sejal Mehta is a journalist and editor. She has worked and written for the magazine and newspaper industry for the past 20 years, including Lonely Planet Magazine India, National Geographic Traveller India, and Nature inFocus, among others. She is also a published author of children's books. For the last four years, she has walked across shores in India with the team of Marine Life of Mumbai, a citizen-led initiative documenting and creating awareness about the city's coastal biodiversity. Her forte has become making science palatable and fun to lay audiences. Through her conversations about the intertidal zone with adults and children over the years, she has found an engaged audience, ready to convert to tide-pooling on their own.