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Editorial

Happy Birthday Borderless Journal🎉

A huge thank-you to all our contributors and readers across the world.

Borderless Journal has contributors from all the marked areas in the world map.

Borderless Journal was launched on March 14th, 2020, exactly one year ago, with eight published pieces from four countries. Today, we celebrate our journal’s year-old existence with more than six hundred publications online from 31 countries across the world. All this would not have been possible without the commitment of some very gifted writers. So, we have made a couple of additions to our ‘About Us’ — Writers in Residence and the Children’s Section Facilitator. We did this to express our gratitude to these excellent writers and the Children’s Section Facilitator, Archana Mohan of Bookosmia, for contributing pro bono to Borderless, selflessly and generously with words that enriched our journal. We plan to continue pro bono with goodwill as our only profit, giving our readers free, unpaid, advertisement-free access to excellent works.

In this first year, not only has our content grown but we have moved forward in our attempt to be a repository of quality writing in the virtual world. Translations of greats like Saratchandra Chatterjee, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Bijan Najdi, Syad Zahoor Shah Hashmi and Nabendu Ghosh nestle along with writings by the moderns. We have published works by winners of the Sahitya Akademi award and the Pushcart along with that of novices. Our oldest contributor was born in 1924 and the youngest, in our young persons’ selections, was four years old.

Values and issues taken up by writers across time have often been similar. At Borderless, we look for writing that breaks borders, not so much of techniques but of issues that affect our civilisation. We want to create a flood of positive values that will deluge the world’s negatives, help to usher in an era of development, tolerance, love and peace. We are often told that this is unrealistic. But when have ideals and utopias ever been based on realism? And yet they changed the world over a period of time. We would not have the wheel or the fire if cave dwellers had not imagined them.  Borderless hopes to walk untrodden paths. Our journal also aspires to respond to the calls made by youngsters for a better Earth, to explore and store samples of human excellence for posterity, and to support attempts to improve the future of our species.

As a part of our celebrations, we are also announcing two books, constructed with selected content from Borderless. Bookosmia is bringing out a book from the children’s section, thanks to both Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan. For our adult contributors and readers, we are also announcing a second book stocked with some of the gems we have collected over the year. We are in conversation with a publisher. Once that is finalised, we will announce the book on social media.

This month, we had given the theme of ‘as mad as a March hare’ and aliens were invited to contribute. That resulted in some fantastic poetry from Rhys Hughes and Vatsala Radhakeesoon and also from one of our Contributing Editors, Michael R. Burch. Rhys has given us a funny story poem about an alien who tickles our sensibilities. Our poetry section only improves with Michael’s touch. We have poetry again from Pushcart winner Jared Carter, Tom Merrill, Ihlwa Choi, and new writers like Vijayalakshmi Harish and Shraddha Arora.

We carry a translation of a well-known poet from Nepal, Krishna Bajgai. Aditya Shankar translated a Malayalam poem about violence against women by young Krispin George. It is a powerful poem and an excellent translation that sets the tone for the month hosting the International Women’s Day. That the protest is voiced by men is also significant, especially in a world where margins need to blend into a single united shout against all injustices. While the poem critiques a crime, the translated prose shows how despite violations and oppressions, humankind have progressed.

A short story by Tagore’s sister, Swarnakumari Devi (1855-1932), one of the first female editors of the Tagore family journal and one of the earliest progressive women of the nineteenth century, has been translated by Chaitali Sengupta. Juxtaposed to the story by Swarnakumari Devi which was perceived as an act of defiance against the voicelessness imposed on women in a patriarchal set up, we have an unusual reflection translated by the noted filmmaker and journalist, Ratnottama Sengupta. Written in Bengali by Sandhya Sinha (1928-2016) the piece, while being an in-depth analysis of Arabian Nights, is an emphasis on how women progressed within the century to become independent, intellectual, thinking entities beyond the bounds set on them by outmoded norms. Thus, while the prose showcases how much women have progressed, the poetry contribution by young Krispin George and Aditya Shankar reflects how men and women are now united in their struggle for justice. We have indeed come far from the biases inherent in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘Mandalay’, which was written after Swarnakumari Devi had already started writing and working against such divisive mindsets. Historically, we have moved forward.

A literary essay by Mike Smith tries to explore a new paradigm. He ponders if a short fiction by the first émigré Nobel Laureate from Russia, Ivan Bunin, could have been a precursor to flash fiction. We have experimented with a photo essay by Penny and Michael Wilkes. Some lovely photographs of the sea can also be found in the slice of life sent to us from Australia by Meredith Stephens. In Travels with the Backpacking Granny, Sybil Pretious takes the readers to the slopes of the Kiliminjaro with her 63-year-old self. Devraj Singh Kalsi in Musings of the Copywriter gives us his perception of creativity and madness – which you might say go hand-in-hand when you think of Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear and F Scott Fitzgerald who along with his wife, Zelda, suffered from depression. Kalsi gives the subject a satirical twist to explore if insanity can be substituted as medals of honour by a writer instead of ‘bits of metal’ that subscribe to more conventional concepts of fame and sanity. It is a fun read!

One of my favourite essays is by Debraj Mookerjee, who has shown how when West meets East, greatness blooms. He takes on giants like Tagore, Tolstoy, Emerson and many more. Reflecting the thoughts of one of these giants mentioned in the essay, is a book on the socio-political thoughts of Tagore where the author, Bidyut Sarkar, who is also the Vice Chancellor of Vishva-Bharati University and an erudite scholar, states: “Tagore stayed away from the hurly-burly of national politics. Despite sharing the nationalistic condemnation of the colonizer, Tagore never allowed this restrictive vision to cloud his concern for human emancipation.” Bhaskar Parichha has done an excellent review of the book.

Sutputra Radheye’s poetry collection from the Delhi Slam has been reviewed by Rakhi Dalal and Suzanne Kamata’s Indigo Girl has been reviewed by Gracy Samjetsabam. Indigo Girl is a novel that breaks cultural borders and norms to find love through a part-Japanese-part-American’s journey, with lessons learnt from a survivor of the Tohoku Tsunami in March 2011, where more than 15,500 died, a disaster that also led to the Fukushima nuclear plant melt down. The economic losses were estimated at $235 billion and people continue to be impacted by the decade-old disaster to this date. Indigo Girl, thus, is a celebration of mankind’s survival against multiple odds. It builds bridges across differences and disasters, a story of hope and friendships, values cherished in a borderless world.

We have an interesting excerpt from a book I really enjoyed, a collection of short stories that challenge man-made constructs, A Sense of Time and Other Stories. The author whom we interviewed, Anuradha Kumar, has 31 books with publishers like Hachette India to her credit, plus two Commonwealth awards and more. The other interview also stretches geographical bounds drawn by politicians. An American translator who lives in Thailand and translates from Japanese to English, Avery Fischer Udagawa, speaks to about her journey. Finding literature and bridging borders with translations is a recurrent theme in Borderless.

A number of stories that again look for the unusual can be found in this issue. I would like to mention an interesting one from Jessie Michael of Malaysia exploring blind beliefs, ‘Orang Minyak or The Ghost‘, while Sunil Sharma gives us a story that I will let you explore yourself. Sara’s Selections, showcasing a selection of writing from Bookosmia, adds to our oeuvre.

As usual, I have mentioned a few but not all of our content, which remains tempting.

I hope all of you will continue to enhance our writing and publishing experience by patronising our site and reading us regularly. Please do share our posts with your friends and family. We continue a family-friendly journal.

Again, a huge thanks and warm congratulations to the Borderless team and to all our fabulous contributors. We value each one of your pieces. Thank you.

To all our readers, welcome to our world and thanks for being with us and inspiring us to aspire for more. We have readership from more than 130 countries across the world.

Looking forward to the next lap of our journey –

Mitali Chakravarty

Borderless, March, 2021

Borderless Journal is read in more than 130 countries across the world.
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Categories
Young Persons' Section

Sara’s Selections, March 2021

Mad as a March hare… everytime March springs into action, flowers turn the season into a rainbow of wonderful colours. And I start to think of imagine a little white rabbit running with a clock for a tea party in Mughal Gardens (next to the Indian President’s home) or in the sprawling lawns of the White House, where lives the American President. Where do you think the white rabbit came from? All the way from Lewis Caroll’s creation, Alice’s wonderland. If you have not read the book, do so now — it is a lot of fun! The idiom was popularised by the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. Incase, you want to check out a free copy of the book, click here to read.

The Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland

But, that is enough about March hare madness. We cannot keep Ms Sara waiting any more. With a hop, skip and jump, we hand the stage over to Ms Sara… Thank you for your patience Ms Sara — we are now ready to visit your wonderland.

No issues. I have been munching on this packet of popcorns… from the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Now, did they have popcorn on the menu? Maybe, I will click on the link and check out. It is always nice to re-read a classic like Alice in Wonderland. But, let us start on our adventure in the Bookosmian wonderland with poetry.

Poetry

Eight-year-old Saanvi Baheti from Bangalore brings to us a delightful S poem on the inviting salty waters of the sea.

The Salty Sea

by Saanvi Baheti

The salty sea slaps the shore,
I can see the seagulls soar.
I can see, sand slipping through my hand,
The sun was shining for a short span.

I went swaying slowly in the sea
Splishing, splashing, Silly me!
The sun was shining stupendously,
Oh! How I love the salty sea.

Nine-year-old Shifa Zahra Touseef from Lucknow imagines what would happen if a book could talk…

The Book On The Hook 

by Shifa Zahra Touseef

I am a book

Clinging on a long hook.

I can talk.

I can say Quack, Quack.

Happily, I fly over a shack.

Now, I am starting to think

That work was done in a wink,

Was great and fast,

When humans disappeared at last.

 

I did, I combed furry whiskers of the blue ant

And styled the long, pink hair of an elephant.

I scrubbed the dirt off the feet

Of a grumpy lump of concrete,

While no one fed the old tiny whale

Her favorite piece of yummy little kail.

 

The squeamish whining of the snail

Attracted a noisy yet

Beamish chorus of dinosaur-whales.

Those frowning faces of whales

Couldn’t stop drooling on the shale.

 

A foosh-foot named Brango

Missed his beloved yellow flamingo.

The yellow one chorped-chirped

Until sad Brango burped.

The burp was loved by Mr. Moon

The parrot, the talking riddle, and the raccoon.

Now, the foosh-footed one fled

In the forest covered with green bread.

 

This is lovely, said the ‘Quack Quack’ book

Now, resting under the sun with a coloured look.

Seven-year-old Navitha S from Mysore pens a lovely little poem about her favourite place at home, her garden.

My Precious Garden

by Navitha S

My favourite place is my garden,

Where there are flowers and plants and breeze.

 

I feel very happy when I go there,

The wind gives me joy and peace.

 

Wherever I sit in the garden, I feel the breeze.

The garden is the most beautiful thing in my house.

 

I feel that my garden is precious

It is a colourful thing which I like the most.

 

I sit and have my meal in the garden

 

It is very cool.

Let us move on to Essays. And here we have one on returning to school after the lockdown.

Essays

Sandya B Rajan, a 14-year-old Bookosmian from Chennai went back to school after 11 months and shares what that was like.

Back To School during Coronavirus

by Sandya P Rajan

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools were closed but learning continued with classes conducted online.

After nearly eleven months, the school reopened for classes (grades) 9,10,11, and 12. After hearing the news I was very excited but sad too.

Reopening of school meant waking up early in the morning and missing the comfort of home. But I was so excited to be in school with all of my friends. No more comfortable clothes, gadgets, and online quizzes. But we could interact with the teacher and get our doubts clarified in person.

The day before school, I packed my bag, bought sanitizer and an extra mask, and got ready for school. I went to bed very early that day. I woke up and got ready for school. My parents dropped me at school. I usually go by van to school, but due to the pandemic, my parents are dropping me to school.

The temperature was checked at the school gate. Only twenty students were allowed to sit in a classroom. So the class was split into two. We had classes. We got our doubts clarified. There were a lot of safety precautions followed in my school which made me feel safe and secure inside the campus.

After coming to school, I had to sanitize my bag and other belongings, which was an extra task I would have to do regularly. Even though it wasn’t a normal school day, it was a new experience for me. Let us hope for the best in the upcoming days. ​

Konark is a town in Odisha where there is a famed temple of the Sun and a dance festival takes place there every year. Ten-year-old Divyanshi Das from Bangalore takes us to Konark.

Odisha : A Mix Of Heritage And Natural Beauty

by Divyanshi Das

Odisha is a truly impressive and​ spectacular place, famous for its heritage sites, unpolluted beaches, pilgrimage and more.

Odisha provides a lot of sightseeing opportunities which attracts many tourists every year. So, let me introduce you to two astounding festivals from the state.The first is the sand art festival of Konark usually held from 1st to 5th December at Chandrabhaga beach, Konark, Puri.

Sand art is the art of making sculptures using sand. The artists who participate are expected to follow certain rules. They can only use the beach sand, water and hand tools. No machinery tools are allowed.

Artist are supposed to start their work on the first day (morning) and they need to be ready with their sculptures by the evening when the festival is inaugurated and opened. The festival lasts five days so the artists have to make a new sculpture every day. Artists have to keep in mind that their sculpture should not hurt the religious sentiment of the people in any way.

The second festival I want to tell you about is the Konark Dance festival . Have you heard of the Sun Temple at Konark? It is a world heritage site and the site for the dance festivals. Some of the best dancers of the country come to perform here. The aim of the festival is to promote Indian classical dances.

 Hope you liked reading about the festivals.  Do visit the wonderful state of Odisha!

Wow! Two essays that show that this year might be better than last year. In any case, the future is always better than the past. Isn’t it? Here is Jessica Rachel who dreams of one and it is a story by her.

Stories

Nine-year-old Jessica Rachel from Chennai had a vivid dream about a happier and better world and has an important message of how we can make our dreams come true.

I Dream Of A Better Tomorrow

by Jessica Rachel

Every day was the same. I went to school, I studied and came home and slept and the pattern repeated. Wherever I went, there was hardly any greenery and a lot of pollution. I saw people were homeless and their kids had a lack of education.

Then one day, Covid-19 came along and affected the whole world. Those who were poor had no money to even get basic necessities for themselves.

We were instructed to sit at home and many people lost their jobs. The government tried to help those people. Some children could afford to attend online classes but not everyone was privileged.

One day I was thinking about this as I was falling asleep.

I had a lucid dream and found out that I could change the world however I want.

So, I first planted lots of trees. I planted seeds in every garden and empty spaces. I planted about 10,000 trillion seedlings around the world. Then I tackled the pollution from factories by enhancing the flora around them.

Then I channelled the lakes and rivers around the world and connected them to every home in this world. Now everyone could have fresh water to drink every day.

Then I went to the lands that were barren and built a playground using soil and water. I dug a deep hole and made a slide and filled the bottom with fresh water]. I kept some floats nearby. Next, I went to another barren land and filled it with snow. I created a snow playground.

I woke up and realised that this was all a dream. But I knew that it is not impossible to make this dream a reality.

We can make this come true by working together towards a beautiful environment. Until and unless we work together, we can never make our dreams come true.

Now, nine-year-old Nandini Maheshwari from Delhi brings us a story about a monkey that learnt to conquer its fear thanks to a wise old Orangutan.

The Day Muchilal The Monkey Learnt To Jump

By Nandini Maheshwari

Muchilal was a very handsome monkey. He had a big moustache. He wore a colorful turban. He was very polite and friendly. But he had a problem. He was afraid to jump. He used to think he would fall down if he tried to jump. Many mean monkeys in the tribe teased Muchilal a lot for being afraid.

He decided to go to the old wise orangutan to learn how to jump. The orangutan told him to fast for one day and Muchilal did so. He didn’t eat anything, not even his favorite bananas. He was starving badly.

Then the old wise orangutan hung some bananas on a very high branch of a tree. As soon as the fast got over, Muchilal was eager to munch something to satisfy his hunger.

The orangutan told Muchilal that now that his fast has got over, he can eat his favourite food – bananas. But to eat them he has to jump over the highest branch.

Initially, Muchilal was nervous but he was so hungry that he jumped to the highest branch with a big leap. Muchilal gulped the bananas and he also realized that he could finally jump.

This is how he overcame his fear.

What happens if you have to walk up dark stairs at midnight after watching a horror movie? Another story about conquering fears by twelve-year-old Nethrra S from Salem.

A spooky walk up the stairs

By Nethrra S

It was 11 pm on a rainy night. I was about to go to bed after watching a horror movie when my mother told me to go and close the terrace door. I was shocked!

In my house, to reach the terrace we have to climb two floors. I didn’t want to be alone since the horror movie was still in my head but I said ‘okay’ to my mother. I switched on the light to the stairs but unfortunately, the power failed.

I got a torch but there was no battery in it. I thought of taking a mobile phone but my mother was on call, my father was busy doing something with his phone.

I felt scared despite having agreed. I silently went to the stairs and stepped on it frightened.

I started to climb when I suddenly heard thunder as it was raining. I stepped on to climb to the second floor when I heard someone shouting my name loudly. This frightened me more. I started to chant religious mantras as they say ghosts are scared of Gods.

Suddenly, I heard my favourite song and wondered who was playing that when there was no power?

Finally, I reached upstairs and closed the terrace door.  I took a deep breath and ran downstairs fast.

As I reached down, my mother said that she was calling me aloud and it was my sister who played my favourite song on her phone. My father asked me how I had climbed up in the pitch dark. I didn’t respond but I was glad there were no ghosts up the stairs!

A little girl gets lost in a cave. How does she manage to get out? Read this story of kindness and courage by seven-year-old Iksha Kalwal from Pune.

Finding A Treasure At The End Of The Rainbow

By Iksha Kalwal

One beautiful morning, Olivia went out for a walk. While keenly observing a stick insect, she fell into a cave. She was trying to walk slowly to find a way out. She was scared in that dark cave, anxious not knowing how she was going to get back home. Olivia remembered that her parents always said to be calm in this kind of situation and look for something to help her find a way out.

She saw a thin ray of light reflecting on her. Olivia ran towards it and bumped into a pot. She saw a small plant with a face asking for water. She quickly took out her water bottle and watered the plant. It smiled at her like a flower in the spring.

The plant asked her, “Will you please take me out of this filthy cave?”
Olivia replied, “I will.” Olivia took the plant with her and found an exit to the cave.

After walking for a while, she saw a beautiful palace. A lonely bird was sitting at the window and humming a song. That hummingbird happily flew and sat on Olivia’s shoulder. Now Olivia had two friends as she continued walking to find a way home.

They saw footprints and followed them. “That might be the way!” said the plant. As they walked following the footprints, the bird sat on an arrow sign.

“Great, my friend!” exclaimed Olivia. They followed the arrow sign and reached a hut. Curious, they went inside the hut and found a puppy with an injured leg. The three friends quickly agreed to take care of him. Olivia took out her water bottle and gave water to the puppy.

Olivia, the plant, the bird, and the puppy, set back out to find home and finally reached a riverside. Olivia could see her village far away across the river! They saw a man sailing a boat, and he offered to help them cross the river.

As they crossed the river, Olivia reflected upon her journey, grateful for the friends she made along the way and was delighted that she found the treasure – her village – at the end of the rainbow!

I hope you enjoyed the visit to Bookosmian wonderland because I am off to read now … and figure out if they had popcorn at the tea party in Alice’s adventures! See you in Borderless again next month. Bye!

( This section is hosted by Bookosmia)

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

Categories
Index

Borderless, February 2021

HUMOUR & HAPPINESS

Interviews

In conversation with Suzanne Kamata, an American who writes from Japan and has a unique angle to here writing. Click here to read.

Avik Chanda converses about his best selling book on Dara Shukoh and its current relevance. Click here to read.

Stories

The Literary Fictionist

In Forgeries, Don Quixote & Epistemes, Sunil Sharma unravels the mystique of the Spanish ingénue, the man who fights windmills and has claimed much much literary attention post Quichotte. Click here to read.

She Lived Down the Lane

Sohana Manzoor captures the darkness of memories down the lane in opposition to the sunny, happy nostalgia. Click here to read.

Ghumi Stories: Madam D’Souza

Nabanita Sengupta explores taboos around teenage values in a compelling story set in the small town of Ghumi. Click here to read.

Flash Fiction: Saved

A story of 1950s indiscipline related by Brindley Hallam Dennis with a soupçon of humour. Click here to read.

Musings/ Slices from Life

Musings of a Copywriter

In Lessons from Partition, Devraj Singh Kalsi explores how Partition impacts not only countries but families. Click here to read.

Adventures of a Backpacking Granny

In Homestay at St Petersburg, Sybil Pretious travels take her to St Petersburg where she tells the story of a woman she meets, a survivor from the 900 day Siege of Russia. Click here to read.

Core Values

A discussion by Candice Louisa Daquin based on reading Candace Owens’ book Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation. Click here to read.

Who’s the Dummy? Or, ALS Recertification Thumping At 4:35 A.M. In the Morning

A hilarious take on how Will Neussle, a coach for new dads, passes his CPR training. Click here to read.

Mango Trees & Mangoes, with a Pinch of Salt & Chillie

These are fragments of memories from her childhood by Pronoti Baglary. With them, she tries to recap the flavours of an Assamese village. Click here to read more.

The Resolution

Krittika Mehta journeys through Erich Segal towards self discovery. “The world was dipped in swirling, glittering celebrations with friends, family and unknown to embrace a new year…” Click here to read more.

The Magical Nana Banana Cake

Michelle Hanley takes us on a magical adventure of culinary delights made by her grandmother. “It may just be that last bit of cake refilling the pan over and over again…” Click here to read more.

Essays

In Praise of Translations

Ratnottama Sengupta, eminent journalist and daughter of Bengali writer Nabendu Ghosh, has been a force behind translating Bengali literature and bringing it to the doorstep of those who do not know the language. In this exclusive, she discusses how translations impact the world of literature. Click here to read.

The Kali Project: From Start to Finish

An exhaustive account of the inception and the fruition of the Kali Project by Co-Editor Candice Louisa Daquin. Click here to read.

Poetry

Please click on the names to read

Sunil Sharma, Devangshu Dutta, Rhys Hughes, Matthew Friday, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Glen Armstrong, Sutputra Radheye, John Grey, Jared Carter, Michael R Burch, Ashok Suri, Cinna the poet, Achingliu Kamei, Tom Merrill.

Translations

Our Children

A poem by well-known Iranian poet, Bijan Najdi. Translated from Persian by Davood Jalili. Click here to read.

Persian Perspectives: The Third Perception of Man

This essay by Bijan Najdi, translated from Persian to English by Davood Jalili, talks of Najdi’s concept of poetry. Click here to read.

Poetry in Translation

Established poet, Aditya Shankar,  translates poems by Sandhya NP from Malyalam to English. Click here to read.

The Dark House

A Balochi folk tale translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

The Saviour

A translation from Bengali to English by Dipankar Ghosh of Nabendu Ghosh’s Traankarta, a story set during the Partition riots. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Across and Beyond, Essays on Travel, compiled and edited by Nishi Pulugurtha. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Bhaskar Parichcha reviews Wendy Doniger‘s book Beyond Dharma — Dissent in the Ancient Sciences of Sex and Politics. Click here to read.

Gracy Samjetsabam reviews Nishi Pulugurtha‘s Across and Beyond, an anthology of essays on travels across the globe. Click here to read.

Nivedita Sen reviews Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury‘s The Adventure Of Goopy The Singer And Bagha The Drummer, later made into a movie by the legendary grandson of the author, Satyajit Ray. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections

February, 2021

Click here to read a selection hosted by Bookosmia.

Editorial

The Happiness Quotient… by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read

Categories
Editorial

The Happiness Quotient

Happiness and humour! Is that an unrealistic goal to achieve in this life? Moving away from the contentiousness of fame, of argument, of who achieves how much more and how much faster, we might be able to uncover a world sheathed in happy smiles. Is it only the pandemic spreading gloom?

The fear of dying or suffering does create a shroud of gloom that often interrupts our social interactions. The unreasonableness of fear draws us away from reality. Hans Rosling, a Swedish physician who called himself a possibilist, says: “There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.” Fear or depression is the opposite of humour and happiness. The ability to think clearly and laugh at situations leaves us when we are fearful. Fear also leads to depression and the feeling of being oppressed. Humour is perhaps the only antidote to laugh away our fears and depression, to combat darkness and bring back smiles, hope and happiness. We have laughter clubs. Laughter binds all its members in happiness. And that is why we try to host plenty of it in Borderless Journal.

Embedded in the musings, fiction and poetry sections, we have humour, pathos, poignancy and laughter. Rhys Hughes with his tongue-in-cheek poetry, musings by Will Neussle and a short flash fiction by Brindley Hallam Dennis make us laugh outright as do some of the wonderful pieces written by youngsters in ‘Sara’s Selections’ hosted by Bookosmia, thanks to Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan. Michael Burch has also given us humour, happiness and poignancy in his collection of poems in memory of his mother.

We have introduced a new column that creates bridges across the world with not just facts but compassion and comprehension of the suffering and bravery of mankind by a woman who has traversed through diverse cultures all her life, Sybil Pretious. In this episode of ‘Adventures of the Backpacking Granny’, she explores the impact of Perestroika while in St Petersburg (Russia). Devraj Singh Kalsi has also given us an unusual piece talking about the impact of Partition on the family structure within the subcontinent. These two musings, while resting on major political events that changed the world for many of us, reflect different perspectives and are handled in vastly different ways by both the writers.

Reflecting on binaries, is a story from the imagined township of Ghumi, a series that Nabanita Sengupta has been publishing with us for more than six months now. Sohana Manzoor has given us a poignant story with a surprise ending from Bangladesh on the theme of witch-hunting, previously reflected upon in one of Aruna Chakravarti’s translations of Tarashankar’s famous story, ‘Daini’ (The Witch). Sunil Sharma has given us another interesting cross-cultural narrative based on his interpretation of Don Quixote and has also provided us a poem. We have a lovely collection of poetry this time, thanks to Michael Burch, who has helped with the editing and selection of poems. Vatsala Radhakeesoon has shared both her painting and a poem based on the painting with us – both vibrant and unusual works.

We have, for the first time a writer from Iran and translations from Persian to English by Davood Jalili of his works. A poem and an essay by Iranian poet Bijan Najdi give us a glimpse of their stories and perspectives. Jalili has also translated Devaki Jain’s interview to Persian to publish in the Arzhang, the online journal where the previously translated Aruna Chakravarti’s interview had found a home. We are very grateful to him for giving wider exposure to the content of Borderless as we are to Binu Mathews of Countercurrents for sharing our content in his popular site. Jalili with his translations to English brings in new perspectives into our fold as do Aditya Shankar with his translation from Malayalam poetry and Fazal Baloch with his translation of a Balochi folk tale.

The other major translation we have is that of a Nabendu Ghosh story by his late son, Dipankar Ghosh. ‘The Saviours’ had been translated previously by Bhashabi Fraser in a collection of Partition stories and was seen as representative of that era. However, as a literary paper from Universidad de Cádiz indicates, the story steps beyond the Partition to another relevant issue that continues to plague India — the divide created by wealth, caste and education, the absolute obtuseness of the affluent to the suffering of the less privileged, an issue that continues to shame as we reel from the pandemic.

There is an in-depth book review of a translation of Satyajit Ray’s grandfather, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, by academic Nivedita Sen. Immortalised by the grandson in an award winning film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, the story has been recently translated to English from Bengali and published under the title of The Adventures of Goopy the Singer and Bagha the Drummer.

An essay on translations by eminent journalist Ratnottama Sengupta, who has been bringing out works of Bengali writers in English and Hindi, explains the need for building these bridges across time and cultures. Candice Louisa Daquin’s essay on the Kali Project, which resulted in an anthology of poems on feminist issues in India initiated by an American concern, attempts to transcend borders as does the interview with Suzanne Kamata, an award-winning writer based out of Japan but born and brought up in the USA.

Candice Daquin has also given us another powerful reflection on the core values of mankind. This theme of an exploration of humane values has been reiterated in our interview with Avik Chanda, the author of the best-selling history of Dara Shukoh.

We have featured an excerpt from Nishi Pulugurtha’s anthology of travel essays’. Pulugurtha’s collection featuring multiple writers has been reviewed by Gracy Samjetsabam. Bhaskar Parichcha has given us an interesting review of Wendy Doniger’s book, Beyond Dharma — Dissent in the Ancient Sciences of Sex and Politics.

Do visit and take a look at our oeuvre, which far exceeds what has been mentioned in this little note.  We value both our contributors and readers. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions so that we can serve you better.

Have a lovely month, looking forward to spring and newness!

Wishing you all happiness and hope.

Mitali Chakravarty

Borderless Journal

Categories
Young Persons' Section

Sara’s Selection, February 2021

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – 

Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins

And spring is not far. There is so much hope, so much to look forward to that I am sure, Ms Sara will be bringing us a lovely collection this month too. I wish you all a colourful spring and a fabulous journey into Ms Sara’s world… (pssst… if you get the time, do look up the poem I have quoted by Hopkins). Now over to Ms Sara…

Thank you. Yes, it is a colourful spring that we look forward to. Let us begin with some writing on nature…

Essays

While we wait for spring, twelve-year-old Anoushka Chopra from Kolkata writes a small personification of the wind… which reminds of the beginning of Shakespeare’s Blow, Blow thou winter wind

‘A Strong, Loud Wind’

By Anoushka Chopra

The wind leaped across the sky, howling in anger. It lifted its powerful arms and destroyed everything that came in its path. The grey swirling wind gave a malevolent grin. It blew with great force and speed, like an angry person craving for revenge and smashed the glass windows and rattled the doors.

Then, gradually it slowed down, its speed dropped, its force seemed to vanish and within a few minutes the strong, damaging wind turned into a small breeze, smiling innocently as if it had done nothing more than blow gently around.

Thirteen-year-old Aanya Surana from Kolkata uses a letter writing (or epistolary) technique to write about the scarlet ibis, a bird that is as vibrant as spring in it’s colours.

The Scarlet Ibis

By Aanya Surana

42 Ribbon Street
Kolkata-700023
26th November, 2020

Dear Riya,
Its been a while since we have caught up with each other, I hope you’re doing  well. I know we’ve lost touch ever since I moved to Brazil for my further  studies, but I really miss you and would do anything to stay as attached and close as we were before.

The weather here is so beautiful as the autumn season is passing and the winter is setting in. During this time of year, we generally have  expeditions. As a part of the science class activity, we went to a bird sanctuary. It was so beautiful.

I was in charge of a group of children from class six and we were led by an ornithologist. He was so experienced that he  could identify the only check with their chirping noise. We saw a number of  birds but across the lake there was a beautiful flock of vibrant, colourful,  scarlet coloured birds which was were rare species known as scarlet ibis.

I was so mesmerized seeing the beautiful red bird that I could sit there forever and enjoy the calmness around her. Our ornithologist told a lot about that bird  and I found it very interesting . He told us that the scarlet ibis is a sociable and gregarious bird, and very communally-minded regarding the search for food  and the protection of the young. I thought that it would be a fun activity to feed the bird so the students and I asked our guide what it ate. He said that it had a varied diet and that it and it ate stuff like crabs frogs worms and insects. Hearing this, the students stepped back from feeding it because they were terribly scared of worms and insects themselves!

We went  further inside the sanctuary and saw numerous and rare species of  the bird. It was a trip to remember.

Give my greetings to uncle and aunt and I hope you like the pictures I have sent because I know you love nature and everything about it.

Hope to see you soon.
Your loving friend,
Radhika

Next, we move away from nature for a bit. Eight-year-old Nirav tells us what he thinks school uniforms are necessary — he believes it strongly!

All Students Should Wear School Uniforms

By Nirav

Uniforms are an excellent idea that can help school students be more disciplined. It is my belief that uniforms are a great way to maintain a level of social equality. Dress code eliminates competition and creates an equal environment.

If there is no uniform, children, who are rich, will wear branded clothes and children who are poor will wear regular and simple clothes. The poor children will feel left out because they will be different.

Without school uniform, students will spend more time on picking out clothes rather than doing work. School uniforms, thus, help maintain a school’s academic standards.

I belong to an Institution which is almost two hundred years old and I take great pride in wearing my uniform and it identifies me to an educational institute which is the finest in the country.

My winter uniform is the best as it makes me looks good and everybody calls me handsome.

Poetry

We start with a poem to Earth.

Six-year-old Mayuri Sriram speaks from her heart in this poem to save the Earth. May we all feel as passionate about saving nature.

Dear Mother Earth

By Mayuri Sriram

Dear mother Earth,
You are our saviour,
You are our best thing,
We show respect to you.

You are the planet with blue and green
You are our mother Earth!
I wish people would stop polluting you,
What a graceful presence you are.
I will save you!

Earth is really the best home we can imagine, isn’t it? We can breathe easily in its atmosphere. There is water to drink and so much of greenery and food. And we have developed so many lovely things … like music and the piano.

Twelve-year-old Asmita Ramalingam from Houston, Texas, has penned a beautiful poem expressing her gratitude to her piano.

I Am Grateful For My Piano

By Asmita Ramalingam

I am grateful for my piano --
The black and white checkered across,
The cool, hard touch,
The crisp sound.
Music in my head is never lost.
 
Sharing the delightful melody,
With my teacher,
Friends,
Family,
And the list does not soon end.
 
My fingers move like a waterfall.
As I flip the pages of my book,
The tune draws me in,
As if it’s a hook.
 
“Music takes you to a magical place I say,”
And I am grateful for my piano,
Today and everyday.

We have another poem on what we all have been doing the past year — online learning. Eight-year-old Jhanvi Shah from Mumbai pens this relatable and funny poem about the perils of online learning.

Disconnected Teacher

By Jhanvi Shah

The teacher gets disconnected,
From the meeting.
The host does not let her in.
The teacher says, “Hey… that’s cheating”!
 
She gets disconnected,
Again and again.
Everyone is happy.
Even bored little Ben.
 
She has got bad network.
“What’s the problem with that anyways?
I’ll fix it all up,”
The teacher says.
 
So the next day she comes,
With a computer brand new.
She tells the students,
“I’ve got to talk to you.”
 
“Listen, listen students all,
Corona will end anyways..."
But there she gets disconnected,
“Not again!”, the teacher says.

Stories

And what an interesting ouvre we have this month. We start by stepping out of this planet — towards a large, large universe…

Eleven-year-old Adwaith Menon from Chennai brings us a story with friendly aliens.

A Day With The Aliens

By Adwaith Menon

Hey guys! My name is Ray Jones and I am about to tell you a strange incident that happened to me.

Two years ago, I was sitting in my room studying for my exams. I was so preoccupied, I even refused my dinner.

After preparing for my exams, I went out to get some fresh air. I looked up at the dark night and said, “How beautiful!” I saw a streak of light in the sky and followed it. Suddenly, I felt myself beamed up into the sky. I fainted.

I woke up to the sound of a person yelling, “Species number 661 captain — they are called humans.”

When I opened my eyes, I saw that the speaker was an alien. Another alien being, with big bulging eyes, said: “Thank you Commander.”

He paused to look at me. “So, human…”

I interrupted him, “How do you know my language?” I asked.

“Who are you and where am I?” I screamed.

“Calm down my friend. My name is Twackey. We have a machine on board called the Languaphone which allows us to understand and speak other languages and are plugged in inside our ears. You are on board the Starlight V-7,” he said. Then he helped me stand up.

“Brrrrr”, my stomach started to growl. I hadn’t had my dinner and was hungry.

“Hungry, are you? Well, me too,” Twackey said with a smile.

He led me into a huge room and offered me food. I was happy and shocked at the same time to see that it wasn’t some alien food but something that I was used to eating.

“Our chef, Mr Rabuto, knows how to prepare all kinds of food that different species eat,” Twackey explained to me seeing my reaction.

After eating, he took me on a tour of the spaceship. He showed me a 5-D simulator, a theater for space shows, an in-built amusement park and a library. Seeing all the books in the library made me think of my home and I started feeling home-sick. Sensing me, Twackey said to me, “ Feeling homesick huh?”

“I am sorry but I have to go home now,” I said. He smiled at me affectionately. “I understand. Bye Ray!”, he said.

I bid him goodbye too.

Then, in a flash, I appeared on my bed. But…but…I thought. I didn’t go to bed, or did I? I looked up hoping it had all been real.

 

If you were a pet dog what would your life be like? Eight-year-old Mahit Verma from Kolkata believes he would be a loyal and courageous dog with a thirst for adventure.

My Life As A Pet Dog

By Mahit Verma

Hi everyone! I am a brown bulldog born in the woods and as soon as I turned a month old, I was transferred to a pet shop.

As luck would have it, I was bought by a small boy called Ronan. On his birthday, he bought me as a present for himself. Since I was a present, I was decorated with a stylish bow dog collar. Ronan picked me up and I licked him all over, being the affectionate dog that I am!

Ronan believed I was his best gift and I felt very proud about that. But I think he gave me the best gift – himself and my name ‘Bringo’.

Everyone loved me in the family, especially Ronan, who treated me like his own brother.

Sundays were much awaited as I went for longer walks near the river and got more dog treats and scrumptious food. The other days I used to get a drive in the car( but I like open air more and running in the garden )as I went to drop him to school.

Let me tell you all humans are not the same. Some boys used to come kick me and pull my tail at school. I too have my friends at the dog shelter where I am taken weekly and, boy, do we have a gala time!

All in all life was fantastic. But as they say with the good comes the evil. The date 25th September will be etched in my heart forever.

On that frightful dreaded night, the sky was overcast with dark and misty clouds. The wind was blowing hard. Nature was at its darkest best. We had stepped out for our evening walk along the river but my fright got the better of me and I jumped onto Ronan’s lap. And Ronan skid over the muddy surface. The next moment my Ronan was gone. The strong river current had sucked him in.

I yelped for help but not a single soul was around. I ran along the river bank but there was no sight of Ronan. The very thought I could lose him forever made me muster courage and, splash, I was in the middle of the river!

Fighting the current, swimming for miles and miles, braving the storm, I felt I had donned the Iron Man’s suit. At last my prayers was were answered when I saw Ronan holding onto a bushy shrub. I grabbed him by his leg and swam ashore.

Finally we were home. Everyone shrieked with relief and shed happy tears on seeing us. I was gifted a gold made collar for my bravery by the Rescue Academy.

Five years have passed since that day and we have opened a dog training institute where I flash my gold collar as a chief instructor.

And let us stay with our animal friends…Six-year-old Shanaya Singh from Kolkata saw something amazing while she was out playing in the garden. Do read to know what she saw!

A Happy Squirrel Family

By Shanya Singh

One fine morning, while I was playing in my garden, the weather was so good. The wind was blowing on the branches of the trees. I could hear birds jumping around me. Suddenly, I heard a husky barking around the tree branch.

On hearing the sound, one squirrel came and sat next to her father on the branch. Next, I heard both of them squeaking and calling ‘Kiki’. Then another squirrel came out of the hole. I heard similar chirping and I saw one more squirrel joining them on the branch. All of them squeaked and barked together.

Kati, a tiny squirrel came running and sat next to them. They all started to swing in the air and play happily. How loving and caring they were! I also named the father squirrel Kally.

It was a pleasure to see the beauty of nature. Did you know that animals and birds communicate with each other?

What a lovely drawing of the squirrel and her family. Thank you Shanya and all our good friends from Bookosmia. We look forward to the madness of March — let us dream of a colourful spring and a lovely year ahead. This is Ms Sara wishing you all adieu!

( This section is hosted by Bookosmia)

.

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

Categories
Index

Remembering Gandhi …

A man lives as long as does his ideology

Poetry

Click on the names of the poets to read

Dr Piku Chowdhury, Milan MondalNavneet K MaunDr Laksmisree BanerjeeSoumik DeAminath Neena

Musings

Bapu Walked Here

A thoughtful walk down the memory lane with the shades of Bapu influencing the author, Lina Krishnan. Click here to read.

Travels with Gandhi

Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha meanders through the passages of Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where Gandhi had been imprisoned, and wonders… Click here to read.

Story

When Bapu met MLK Jr…

Santosh Bakaya takes us on a journey among clouds and chirruping birds. Click here to read.

Essays

Gandhi — an enduring vision — and those spectacles

 Keith Lyons applauds the Mahatma from New Zealand. Click here to read.

‘If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable’

Rakhi Dalal says it all through this quotation of Martin Luther King Jr. Click here to read.

Interview

Santosh Bakaya, an academic and writer who has written a book on Gandhi in verse, speaks of Gandhi and Gandhian beliefs. Click here to read.

Review

Gandhi & Aesthetics : Edited by Tridip Suhrud, the nine essays are a fitting tribute to the inventive beauty of Gandhiji and its wide-ranging applicability in present-day society… says reviewer Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.

Categories
Index

Borderless, January 2021

Interviews

A conversation with Devaki Jain, a Padma Bhushan recipient, an author at eighty eight, an economist who found inclusion for women and a strong human who lives her life on her own terms. Click here to read

A conversation with Dr Mossarrap Hossain Khan, the founding editor of Cafe Dissensus. Click here to read.

Stories

The Literary Fictionist

Near the River Chenab and Under The trees

Sunil Sharma in a poignant telling takes us on a journey to the banks of a river where life, love and death sheathed in terrorism cumulate to a peak. Click here to read.

Magic Afloat in the Air

A short story by Gauri Mishra that takes us into the crowded lanes of Paharganj, New Delhi, on an adventure with surprise tilt. Click here to read.

Ghumi Stories: The New Year’s Gift

Nabanita Sengupta explores how rumours can be quietened with an unusual plot. Click here to read

Flash fiction: Déjà vu

Aminath Neena from Maldives explores rebirth despite religious prejudices. Click here to read.

Translations

Tagore Stories in Translation: Bolai: A story about Man and Nature written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore in 1928, translated by Chaitali Sengupta. Click here to read.

Flash Fiction: Tears of a Revered Mother A poignant mood driven piece from Balochistan. Written in Balochi by Mereen Nizar, translated by  Ali Jan Maqsood. Click here to read.

A Request To A Son is a Nepali poem by Swapnil Smriti, translated by Pranika Koyu. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read the poems

Tom Merrill, Gauri Mishra, Soma Debray, Sanket Mhatre, Aditya Shankar, Michael Burch, Maithreyi Karnoor, Sabreen Ahmed, Ihlwha Choi

Humour: Vatslala Radhakeesoon, Rhys Hughes, Tom Merrill

Musings

Musings of a Copywriter

In Private Lessons, Devraj Singh Kalsi takes us through a hilarious episode of elopement with surprising conclusions. Click here to read.

Hope comes in strange shapes

Keith Lyons from New Zealand looks back at challenges of 2020, and expectation that lessons learned will translate into action in 2021. Click here to read.

In the Winter Sun

Written specially by Nishi Pulugurtha keeping the Indian Republic Day in mind, what can we anticipate for a year with pandemic protocols? Click here to read.

From the Pages of a Soldier’s Diary…

Mike Smith takes you on a journey through the pages of a colonial diary and muses on choices he has made. Click here to read

No Longer Smug in South Australia

Meredith Stephens gives a first person account of how the pandemic free South Australia is faring balancing fears. Click here to read.

Pandemic Tales: The Diary of a Hypochondriac

 Mayuresh V. Belsare takes us on a hilarious journey through his battle with the pandemic with thanks to divine intervention. Click here to read.

Essays

Type, Stereo, Stereotype

Devraj Singh Kalsi gives a unique perspective on the Farmer’s Protests. Click here to read.

The Worshipper of Mother Earth: A Nostalgic journey

Ratnottama Sengupta journeys to show how past and present are interlinked in art and pays tribute to a polyglot, Maniklal Chatterjee. Click here to read.

The Syncretic Lore of Guru Nanak’s Legacy

While skirmishes continue to line the borders of India, Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, explores the deeply embedded syncretic elements in the heritage left behind by the founder of Sikhism. Part of his legacy still lives on in Pakistan. Click here to read.

Neither Tranquil Mandarins, Nor Yellow Devils

While the impasse over the McMahon Line continues and the outgoing POTUS rages over not only the election results but also the Yellow Peril, John Drew gives us an interesting perspective on the perception of both these giants, US & China. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

The Brass Notebook by Devaki Jain, an autobiography. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Gone Away by Dom Moraes, reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.

No Strings Attached: Writings on Odisha by Bhaskar Parichha, reviewed by Bijaya Kumar Mohanty. Click here to read.

Waiting for the Dust to Settle by Veio Pou, a novel dealing with the conflict in Northeastern India, reviewed by Rakhi dalal. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections

January 2021

A potpourri of hope for the new year by young writers from Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Editorial

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité — Has democracy failed? Click here to read

Categories
Editorial

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

— William Shakespeare, As You Like It

The theatrics in the US Capitol at the outset of 2021 might make us think bleakly, but they have exposed the flaws of a system that obviously needs changes. Does this mean democracy has failed? There have always been challenges, sometimes of colonialism, sometimes, of wars. But as long as mankind survives, they will have a voice and the voice will always sound out against injustice.

The uneducated exist in all systems and mob attack is not an unknown phenomenon. Education along with the ability to examine and correct one’s biases could perhaps bridge the gaps. Think of the French Revolution. How many were guillotined? And some among the beheaded were innocent. Yet these killers also were part of a movement that spoke of liberty, equality and fraternity. We grew up believing in these tenets. As such, these are good tenets.

I see the January sixth attack as an attempt to disregard and humiliate an institution. Mankind is resilient enough to withstand such an assault. One has to remember that there are miscreants in every system and society and that is why we have laws. It is time for a number of exits; of the current man in the chair of the POTUS; of COVID-19 via the vaccines or herd immunity, have it your way; of dark clouds that have gathered over positive actions to heal our planet and make it a wonderful home for our species. The darkest hours are said to be before the advent of dawn. Things can only get better with a soupçon of love, kindness and generosity. It is again a time to hope, the theme of Borderless Journal in this edition.

We have hope pronouncedly from our young people’s section hosted by Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan from Bookosmia and also in our poetry. Michael Burch’s poetry resounds with hope. The voices of children from Gaza — pleading with the hope of redemption from the darker events in their lives — much as we are doing in the current crisis, looking for mercy and hope in a pandemic-worn world. We have poetry by Sanket Mhatre on hope.

Vatsala Radhakeesoon has given us a brilliant piece in ‘Queenie the Sloth‘ — check it out. Rhys Hughes has taken on mythology and given it a spin that not just makes us laugh but also think. Aditya Shankar has given us a poignant poem concerning the Human Immortality Project(HIP), a rich man’s dream of being above death, which has been under fire in Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus too. Our poetry section still has a very colourful borderless veneer with poets contributing from multiple countries, including Korea. I love the narratives that Ilhwa Choi weaves into his poetry.

The reason I am pausing on poetry is also to inform readers that we have decided to pull up our socks and be very selective about the poems we publish. Michael Burch is on the panel helping select poetry and he is truly a connoisseur as you can see from the collection in his blog, The Hyper Texts. Though Sunil Sharma has poetry there, we have his stories here. He has given us a wonderful story by the banks of the river Chenab — a story of hope, love and terror. The piece de resistance, I would say, among our stories is one by Tagore — a translation of ‘Bolai’ by Chaitali Sengupta. A story that talks trees and children – a powerful one that moves with its vibrancy, captured very well by the translator.

We have some interesting essays including one by our humourist Devraj Singh Kalsi, in which he explores the ongoing protest of Sikh farmers with humour and another by John Drew on China, the West and Bangladesh. Thanks to Sohana Manzoor for helping us access it. Another one I particularly liked is by Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, on the syncretic lore of India and Pakistan. It is a perfect essay towards the upcoming celebration of the anniversary of the declaration of democracy by India on 26th January 1950 – when it had done away with all individual dynastic regimes. And yet one wonders if that was or is a reality?

Nishi Pulugurtha has given us a musing on how the pandemic affects children and how it might affect this year’s celebrations of the Indian Republic Day. We have an ex-colonial’s son Mike Smith from UK reflecting on the regime prior to the Partition, the rule that tickled the divisive mindset of the Indian subcontinent, through the pages of his father’s diary. This mindset has also been dwelt on by Maithreyi Karnoor in her poetry. And we have our dollop of humour in Musings of the Copywriter with a fun filled narrative of an elopement. We have a whiff of hope from the Southern hemisphere with writings of Keith Lyons from New Zealand and Meredith Stephens from Australia. These also add to the colours of our journal.   

The book excerpt is from Devaki Jain’s autobiography, The Brass Notebook. A powerful book that generates hope and was reviewed last month. This particular bit is about her driving trip with students from different countries – all the way from England to India. We have an invigorating interview with her too this time. The other interview is with Mosarrap Hossain Khan, founder of Café Dissensus, and hopes to enlighten readers more about this well-loved website and also gives a glimpse of the ideology and the man behind it.

Books reviewed include Bhaskar Parichcha’s No Strings Attached by Bijaya Kumar Mohanty, Dom Moraes’s Gone Away by Bhaskar Parichcha and Waiting for the Dust to Settle by Rakhi Dalal. These are a few of the highlights I have mentioned. We have a wide selection of writings. Till now we have managed to showcase writers from twenty-eight countries, and we hope to can continue expanding virtually across more political borders.

The other news I would like to share is our last month’s interview with Aruna Chakravarti other than being republished in Countercurrents.org was translated to Persian by Davood Jalili and published in an Iranian journal called, Arzhang. We are grateful to both Davood Jalili of Arzhang and Binu Mathews of Countercurrents.org for supporting our efforts and finding us wider readership. We are happy that our journal’s content has crossed borders to unite us all together in one world – a world of hope that stretches out its arms towards a future that can only get better!

We wish all our readers and contributors a year filled with hope towards a better future.

Thank you all for accompanying us on our journey.

In hope of a better future,

Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Editorial

Festive Roundup

Season’s Greetings from Borderless Journal!

Borderless has completed three-quarters of a year or nine months of its virtual existence and bonded us all together in a shared web of ideas — ideas that generate the concept of a world beyond borders. We have all travelled together with words as our tools, gathering thoughts that can create links among all humans despite our perceived differences. During our journey towards the future, we have made alterations or additions where necessary. This month, we have a new addition to our editorial board, Michael R Burch, a poet from USA with 6000 publications under his belt. He brings in new writers and fresh splendour with his own poetry. This time we carry his poems on Gaza — poems of empathy and harmony, one of which has featured in an Amnesty International publication which is used as a resource for training human rights’ activists.

We have plenty of poetry with translations from Armenia, Ukraine and two from Nepal. We also have one of Tagore’s lesser-known essays translated by Chaitali Sengupta. We have interviews with translators too this time: Sahitya Akademi award winning translator of Saratchandra’s Srikanta, Dr Aruna Chakravarti, and senior journalist and writer, Ratnottama Sengupta, who not only translates her father, Nabendu Ghosh, but also compiles anthologies with multiple translators bringing his works to those who cannot read Bengali. We have one of Ghosh’s new collections of short stories, hosting multiple translators, Mistress of Melodies, reviewed by Rakhi Dalal. Bhaskar Parichha has reviewed economist and feminist Devaki Jain’s memoir and Meenakshi Malhotra has done a review of a book on Shaheen Bagh, observing that the spot has become commemorative of democratic values devoid of violence and angst. An interesting concept.

In her essay, Candice Louisa Daquin has commented on how the election results are affecting Americans. On a lighter note, our columnist, Devraj Singh Kalsi, has spoken of the Tump pujas(worship of Trump) that coloured India during the recent US elections. An essay I found immensely relevant by Bhaskar Parichha has been included in our journal, an essay to demystify news media for all of us. The other essay I would like to mention republished from Daily Star, Bangladesh, thanks to their literary page editor, Sohana Manzoor, is on Begum Rokeya, a woman who lived nearly a century ago but thought and wrote of climate and the equality of genders in those days. And she wrote in three languages —English, Bengali and Urdu — impressive! This time we have seven essays.  Do check them out.

Rounding up the year is Anasuya Bhar’s musings. We have the festivals Hannukah and Christmas covered in musings, essay, poetry and a lovely write up by a young girl in Sara’s Selection — a vivacious, happy set of poems, stories and essays, brought to us by Bookosmia — thanks to Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan. Keith Lyons from New Zealand has added to the variety of festivities — Santas in shorts— by telling us how Christmas is celebrated together with summer solstice ‘down under’! More on a lighter tone can be found in verses by Vatsala Radhakeesoon and Rhys Hughes and in an essay that talks of ‘the lost art of doing nothing’. I will leave the book excerpt as a surprise for you to uncover. Let it be said it is a book by a writer whose voice is much respected for its candidness and largeness of vision.

We have a number of stories. Our regular columnist, Sunil Sharma has given a poignant exploration of child labour — one of the most touching stories by him. Sohana Manzoor has given us a flash fiction — three short tales of modern life. This time we also have a Balochi folklore retold by Fazal Baloch — magic and a happily ever after fairy tale scenario — I really liked it.

We have a bumper issue of more than 50 posts this time — unravel them and enjoy during your Christmas holidays. Thank you dear readers for being there to make writing a pleasurable activity for us practitioners.

We wish you all a fantastic festive season full of reading and happy thoughts.

Best wishes from all of us at Borderless Journal.

Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Editorial

Hope in the Future

This last month has been one full of celebrations. Despite climate change, despite COVID, we as humans have not lost hope. Hope that has been restored and reinforced by not just the festivals we celebrate but by the outcome of the US elections — the return of the climate change friendly faction. With global warming, ice melts and rising ocean levels becoming a reality, we find there is still hope for reversing the trend. Johan Rockstrom, an eminent environmental scientist, based in Stockholm, has said that it is possible to transform the future of humanity in the next decade if we conform to the right policies. Though we are moving away from the “safe tipping points” and towards “destabilising the entire planet”, he stated in a TED talk last month “the next 10 years to 2030 must see the most profound transformation the world has ever known”.  The new President elect, Joe Biden has promised not just to support scientists in their attempt to curb the pandemic but has also promised to be climate friendly. That will hopefully move towards restoring the Earth back to health and we, as a race, can continue to survive in an environmentally friendly culture. At least Rockstrom tweeted to that effect: “With Biden the door to ‘well below 2°C/1.5°C’ remains open. Now we have G3 on Climate: G1=EUs net-zero by 2050; G2=Chinas net-zero latest 2060; G3=US net-zero 2050. The three largest economies go carbon neutral in 30 years. Can be the tipping point!”

Full of hope for a happier future, Borderless Journal brings forth its November issue. We had a theme of festivals, climate change and humour. We have fun poetry by Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Penny Wilkes and Rhys Hughes, who has also given us a poem about climate change as have some others, like Kashiana Singh, John Grey, Anita Nahal, Adrian David and more. In prose, our columnist, Devraj Singh Kalsi, weaves in humour as he writes of his travails with tenants. He understates to create an impact. Travel has been covered in a trip to Trieste by Mike Smith of England in a tongue in cheek fashion. There is a musing on climate and man’s impact on the environment, where interestingly, the writer, D V Raghuvamsi, wonders if COVID 19 is a ‘pre-planned act of nature’ to reaffirm that man is not the most powerful creature on Earth — an unsual thought? What do you think? We have a lovely musing on cats during corona by Nishi Pulugurtha and on festivities by Anasuya Bhar too.

Festivals have been taken up in a big way in Sara’s Selections hosted by Bookosmia, Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan, with pieces on Halloween, Durga Puja (the landmark festival of Bengalis worldwide) and Diwali. Interestingly the theme of Durga as an icon has found its way to our essay section by the founding editor of Different Truths, a senior journalist, Arindam Roy. He has dealt with not only the legends of Durga but cultures that oppose the legend and glorify the villainous demon the goddess destroyed — and all within the geographical boundary of one country!

On the other hand, Dr Meenakshi Malhotra has taken up Kali, who is worshipped by Bengalis for destroying another demon around Diwali. The myths around Diwali keep astounding me with their variety — different celebrations all around the same time of the year — some related to Krishna, some to Rama and a few to Kali, some of it again captured in our young person’s section. Dr Malhotra’s essay mentions Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Anandamath (1882) as it centred around the concept of Kali. Some critics, she tells us, claimed he had taken a secular and not a religious stance on the raging independence movement. Having read the book many years ago, I still remember it enough to know that this novel does see religion as part of the movement.

The reason I talk of this is because I wondered why some intellectuals persist in being disconnected from reality — religion is a major part of non-intellectual lives in Bankim’s country. This brings me to the next essay by Pratyusha Pramanik on cancel culture and the Indian intelligentsia. She pretty much explores this distancing of intellectuals from reality. A good essay — I would highly recommend it. I wonder was this distancing also the issue that led to the fall of the Democrats in 2016 in USA?

The theme of women has been reinforced in Bhaskar Parichha’s book review of a translation of Bani Basu’s  A Plate of White Marble. He has reflected on the plight of widows and women. This time Dustin Pickering has given us a review on a book by Korean poet, Wansoo Kim — who has earlier contributed poetry to Borderless, poems transcending the line drawn between the two Koreas. Candice Louisa Daquin has reviewed an interesting collection, Lastbench — basically American voices protesting Trump regime. As hope is he will be soon relinquished off his role, this anthology will be of immense historic interest.

Delving into history this time is our book excerpt from The Birth of The Chronicler of the Hooghly by Shakti Ghosal, exploring the evolution of the Bengali festival as we know it, Durga Puja, with the legendary Robert Clive in the eighteenth century. Also brushing into history and mythology, is the multi-layered short story that explores the Ellora caves and the famous Nataraja statue and union with divinity stretching to Manchester United and soccer by Sunil Sharma. He has an interview with us also as the editor of SETU, a journal that bridges across cultures and languages imbibing the best from all.

The other interview is with Aysha Baqir, who other than being a writer, impresses with her stupendous work in Pakistan. From Bangladesh this time, Sohana Manzoor has again raised voices in support of women.

There are a number of stories but our pièce de résistance is the translation of Bengali writer Tarashankar Bandopadhyay’s Daini (witch) by Aruna Chakravarti. Bandopadhyay, a recipient of probably all the major awards possible at a national level, spins out an intense story on witch hunts in early twentieth century Bengal. This narrative has been flavourfully translated and brought to life by Sahitya Akademy winner Chakravarti.

I know I am not able to write about each writer but each piece in this issue is splendid in my opinion. And I would invite readers, who might be more discerning than me, to take the plunge and discover the wonders of our November edition.

Thank you for being there for us dear readers as without you, we have no one to read us.

I wish all of you a fabulous festive season — Diwali, Kali Puja, Thanksgiving et all.

Have a wonderful read.

Sunshine and Happiness,

Mitali Chakravarty