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Contents

Borderless, October 2022

Art by Sohana Manzoor

Editorial

The Sky … Click here to read.

Conversations

Anthony Sattin, an award winning journalist and travel writer in conversation about Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped our World, his recent book published by Hachette, India. Click here to read.

VR Devika talks of the dynamic Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first woman in the world to preside over a Legislative Assembly who sought justice for Devadsis and prostitutes and discusses her book, Muthulakshmi Reddy: A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights published by Niyogi Books. Click here to read.

Translations

Daridro or Poverty by Nazrul has been translated from Bengali by Professor Fakrul Alam. Click here to read.

The Browless Dolls by S.Ramakrishnan, has been translated from Tamil by B Chandramouli. Click here to read.

Two poems from Italy by Rosy Gallace have been translated from Italian by Irma Kurti. Click here to read.

Flowers of Love Bloom Everywhere, a poem for peace, written by and translated from Korean by Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read.

Aalo Amar Aalo (Light, My Light) a song by Tagore, has been translated by Mitali Chakravarty from Bengali. Click here to read.

Pandies Corner

Songs of Freedom: Moh-Reen is an autobiographical story by Amreen, translated from Hindustani by Janees. These stories highlight the ongoing struggle against debilitating rigid boundaries drawn by societal norms, with the support from organisations like Shaktishalini and Pandies. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Michael R Burch, Kirpal Singh, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Jonathan Chan, Ron Pickett, Saranyan BV, George Freek, Pramod Rastogi, Mike Smith, Gayatri Majumdar, John Grey, Vandana Kumar, Ahmad Al-Khatat, Rhys Hughes

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In Crossing the Date Line, Rhys talks of his fascination with this imagined construct. Click here to read.

Essays

Epaar Bangla, Opaar Bangla:  Bengals of the Mind

Asad Latif explores if homeland is defined by birth. Click here to read.

The Wabi-Sabi of Making a Living

Aditi Yadav calls for taking a break from hectic work schedules. Click here to read.

Just a Face on Currency Notes?

Debraj Mookerjee writes of Gandhi’s relevance and evolution. Click here to read.

A Mother, a Daughter & a Demon Slayer?

Meenakshi Malhotra checks out the festival of Durga Puja, declared the a heritage festival by UNESCO. Click here to read.

The Observant Immigrant

Candice Lousia Daquin explores festivals and the God gene in We had Joy, We Had Fun…. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

KL Twin Towers near Kolkata?

Devraj Singh Kalsi visits the colours of a marquee hosting the Durga Puja season with its spirit of inclusivity. Click here to read.

A Five Hundred Nautical Mile Voyage to Tasmania

Meredith Stephens writes of sailing to Tasmania when the pandemic had just started loosening its grip. Click here to read.

Keep Walking…

Ravi Shankar recommends walking as a panacea to multiple issues, health and climate change and takes us on a tour of walks around the world. Click here to read.

The Matriarch of Hirronk

Ali Jan Maqsood introduces us to a strong matriarch from a Balochi village. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Drill, Fill, Just Chill, Devraj Singh Kalsi gives us humour while under a dentist’s drill. Click here to read.

Notes from Japan

Suzanne Kamata writes of her A Ramble on Bizan, focussing on a writer, also by the surname of Moraes, who lived on Mount Bizan more than century ago, moving to Japan from Portugal having fallen violently in love. Click here to read.

Short Stories

Half-Sisters

Sohana Manzoor explores the darker regions of human thought with a haunting psychological narrative about familial structures. Click here to read.

Homecoming

Rituparna Mukherjee gives a poignant story about missing home. Click here to read.

The Phosphorescent Sea

Paul Mirabile journeys with his protagonist into the depths of the ocean. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In Deathless are the Words, Sunil Sharma explores madness and ideators who believe in the power of words. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Taranath Tantrik and Other Tales from the Supernatural by Bibhutibhushan, translated from Bengali by Devalina Mookerjee. Click here to read.

An excerpt from A Handful of Sesame by Shrinivas Vaidya, translated from Kannada by Maithreyi Karnoor. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Somdatta Mandal has reviewed BM Zuhara’s The Dreams of a Mappila Girl: A Memoir, translated from Malayalam by Fehmida Zakir. Click here to read.

Basudhara Roy has reviewed Taranath Tantrik: And Other Tales from the Supernatural by Bibhutibhushan, translated from Bengali by Devalina Mookerjee. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha has reviewed Satyajit Ray Miscellany: On Life, Cinema, People & Much More, a collection of the maestro’s writings and illustrations. Click here to read.

Categories
Slices from Life

The Matriarch of Hirronk

By Ali Jan Maqsood

A smiling Ganji Baloch. Photo provided from Facebook by Ali Jan Maqsood.

In a village of around five thousand people, one was Ganji Baloch. She was the only person left of her family in the village. Her husband had died. Their daughters were married and left to live with their spouses in other places. Their sons had left the village saying that they would permanently settle in cities to educate their children. They asked Ganji to join – some sixty kilometres away from the village – but she refused saying that she could not leave her ancestral land, her gardens and her people, and settle down in a distant town. And then, it was Ganji alone with her home, her garden, her people and her loneliness.

Ganji’s home was in the middle of the village. I remember when I was a child, we often used to pass through her compound to go to my uncle’s home. We always found her alone, sometimes inside the home, sometimes lying on her charpoy outside, under the open skies. As we visited the village on vacations only, I met Ganji when I was visiting my uncle’s new home.  I had asked my cousin why she was alone. He narrated the whole story. At the end, he said that Ganji had deep love for her land. I laughed and said she sounded crazed. “What exists here in this barren land? Who is here besides her own self? She is only looking for pity and nothing else.” I thought it would be better for her to move to the city and enjoy the rest of her life in ease and comfort.

We moved.

Today, after several years, I again saw Ganji’s smiling face – on Facebook. Someone had put it there. I was reminded of the past. I had moved out of my homeland too. And then I realised Ganji was not crazed but it was us — those who thought happiness can be found by pursuing dreams of comfort and ease. The comfort and ease to be had when you were on your own land and among your own people continued unbeatable. That day I realised Ganji was an ardent lover of her land, her gardens, her stones and her people. She had no greed for riches but a need for inner happiness and strong bonds with her people. Ganji was an honourable woman who spent all her life in her village. Even if she was the sole person left in her home, she still preferred being amidst her own land and people. Her smile had eventually become her recognition. She used to visit everyone in her village and was on good terms with everyone. She was an independent woman who fended for herself.

Akram Baloch, a lecturer and resident of the same village, said that Ganji had plenty of land which she could sell at high costs. She received many offers, but she refused saying that they were hers. “How can a person sell her lands? At least, I cannot.” she often echoed.

It heard Ganji had made a potable water spring at the end of her garden and provided water to any thirsty passer-by. She took charge of maintaining that watering system for anyone who needed it. I wonder if Hirronk, her village, would ever bear another Ganji Baloch in the years to come. Is she crazed or is she one for whom her land, her people, her stones, her gardens and her village meant more than the rest of the world?

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Ali Jan Maqsood studies Law at University Law College Quetta. He can be reached at alijanmaqsood17@gmail.com and tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Stories

Flash Fiction: Tears of a Revered Mother

Mereen Nizar

Written in Balochi by Mereen Nizar, translated by  Ali Jan Maqsood

That unpleasant winter night breaks my heart. My mother sobbed loudly and stated with tearful words, “Better than this life, I had tied a rope on my neck and killed myself. What misfortune! What sin have I committed that I am being punished?”

After these words, Mother wiped her tears.  

I was caged with chains of childhood and immaturity. My thoughts were next to nothing. I could not start to comprehend the anguish of my mother. I felt so vague and dumb.

While I shed tears in a corner by the wall, my mother, lay on her stomach and continued to sob.

Time moved faster. I, as a lame, was dragged along with time towards an unknown destination.

I felt my experiences were maturing me.

And then I witnessed again a similar winter night — my mother — the exact walls and home, but there appeared marks of cruelty on her.

She had lost the courage to be alive. She was inconsolable. Crying and lamenting had depleted her youthfulness. Age had crept in on her and humbled her.

The mother, sitting on the funeral of her innocent child, was missing him.

I continued to be the same person, attached to the same walls of the home. I wandered like a lost soul with grief haunting my thoughts. My eyes began to rain with tears. By then, my mother was not alone. I, too, was torn with pains and worries.

The world had changed: many had lost the game of life, many had won. Many were homeless. People were yet moaning under the fallen walls of weariness. One among them was the same old lady who had lost the game of life and was shouldered by four people. She was kept under sanctuary of the Motherland.

I realised the place and situations had changed. My mother’s laments had ceased. The Motherland had sheltered my mother. The sky began to shed its tears along with mine. I apprehended my mother was shedding her tears for me from the sky.

Mereen Nizar is a Balochi fiction writer and an M.phil scholar in the field of Botony. He writes for different local newspapers and magazines.

Ali Jan Maqsood is a student of Law at University Law College Quetta and can be reached at alijanmaqsood17@gmail.com. He tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12

Originally published in Balochi language in Tawar newspaper in 2015. 

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL