“Come, faeries, take me out of this dull house!
Let me have all the freedom I have lost…”
—William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire, 1894
Words from more than a century old play which could well voice the mood of 2020, the year that will go down in history as of a pandemic that not only connected the world but demanded a change in our way of life, perhaps even suggesting we evolve a new way of living. August is also always a happening month, heralding, at times, demanding changes — of season, of historic events that altered our way of life and thought. We tried to capture a whiff of this spirit in this month’s issue of Borderless Journal along with humour, another mood-changing, fay figment that breathes hope.
We start with the commemoration of an event which lasted a short time but changed the world forever — the seventy fifth anniversary of the Nuclear holocaust that ripped through the twentieth century, on 6th August 1945 at Hiroshima, Japan. It ended the Second World War and a way of life. The impact continues to stagger as we read in the interview with Kathleen Burkinshaw, the author of The Last Cherry Blossom and a survivor’s or hibakusha’s daughter. Archana Mohan reviewed her book for us. The book focuses on the story of Burkinshaw’s mother before and after the bomb blast. When I think of the staggered suffering of the survivors of the holocaust, the subsequent generations and the impact of that bomb on the world, I wonder if the coronal virus will change humanity and our world order in the same way. After all Bill Gates did say that future wars will not be with arms but against biological deviations.
The next and the last nuclear explosion during a war rocked Nagasaki three days later. On that date, 9 th August, two decades down the line, was born a nation that has become the gateway of all Asia to the rest of the world, Singapore. Celebrating Singapore’s 54 th birthday, Kaiyi Tan, a local author of dark fiction, takes us on a scintillating journey in quest of a new world beyond the reaches of a morose pandemic. Singapore, like America, gained its strength from immigrants. We have a thought-provoking piece from Pakistani immigrant author, Aysha Baqir. As she muses over this event , she gives a fleeting wistful glance towards another Independence Day on 14 th August, 1947, that of her home country, Pakistan, which was given a free reign just before India was born on 15 th August with a soulful, famous speech by the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Tryst with Destiny’ . In that speech, he said: “…A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends …” Are we at a similar point in history now — one wonders!
To jubilate India’s 74th Independence Day, we have a musing from Nishi Pulugurtha who pensively glances at present day India to pause and ponder over the future of the children growing up in these hard times. We have poetry around this, hovering around themes of war, refugees, partition and life as it is in Kashmir and Kolkata by established writers like Paresh Tiwari, Laksmisree Banerjee, Mosarrap Khan, Gopal Lahiri and youngster Ahmed Rayees.
From history, we move to humour, a much-desired commodity in the current cacophony of darkness. We start with fun poetry by Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Santosh Bakaya, Aditya Shankar, Dustin Pickering, Sunil Sharma and many more; move on to limericks, humorous stories and musings by a number of writers, including surprises from Sohana Manzoor and Devraj Singh Kalsi.
Then we have our usual variety of reviews, poetry and stories. We carry the protest poetry of Melissa Chappell which she wrote after protesting what she felt was flawed and wrong. Hat’s off to her courage — a true protest poet!
On our pages also is Meenakshi Malhotra’s review of a book which had been on the top ten of the best seller lists for ten weeks. Avik Chanda, the author of this historical narrative — Dara Shukoh: The Man who Would be King, was kind enough to do an essay for us rounding up the current outlook for jobs in India. We also had more essays by Dustin Pickering and Bhaskar Parichha.
Bookosmia, Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan have again kindly hosted a lovely young people’s selection for us as usual. For all the contributors I have mentioned, so many remain unnamed in my inadequate listing here. We have a fabulous collection awaiting readers, who are indispensable to our survival.
I would like to offer them a buffet of laughter and tears in Borderless Journal. A mixed oeuvre awaits their palate.