Steam diffused from the tilled soil into the biting morning air as I examined the guava-laden trees for sickly green leaves and traces of what looked like corrosion crawling up the bodies of the chartreuse fruits. The night before, as lightning crackled and rain thundered down for the third time that week, my host family told me of the havoc they anticipated in their small orchard every monsoon season from the “red rust.”

It comes with the rains and chews through the lowest foliage of the orchard, floating with the humid breeze to find its next victim; just one…


Sun rays diffused through the glassy water, casting a buttercup-yellow glow across its surface that made the surrounding icebergs look ghostly white in comparison. Our research vessel was bathed in warm light as it glided through Baffin Bay, silent besides the slosh of waves against its sides.

We were headed back toward the fishing lines we set up at the bottom of the bay that morning. The longlines extended yards across and had nine hooks dispersed throughout it. Fishermen around here had told us that they used longlines with five times as many hooks to catch the large halibut…


I was never really a picky eater. Thanks to summers spent with my grandparents in India, I was raised on mangoes, lychees, and pungent-smelling jackfruit, so when my mom plopped a fresh fig in my 12-year-old hands, it seemed like child’s play.

But even today, the picture of the headless bug that stared back at me from the partially bitten fig is burned into my retinas.

Two sets of long, skinny legs dug into the fruit’s flesh. Rough-edged yellow stripes streaked across a mostly black abdomen. Looking at the narrow wings, I determined it to be a wasp. …

arya natarajan

biology, design, & sci-comm // aryanatarajan.com

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