Categories
Index

Borderless, September 2021

Editorial

The Caged Birds Sing…Click here to read.

Interviews

Professor Anvita Abbi, a Padma Shri, discusses her experience among the indigenous Andamanese and her new book on them, Voices from the Lost Horizon. Click here to read.

Keith Lyons talks to Jessica Mudditt about her memoir, Our Home in Myanmar, and the current events. Click here to read.

Translations

Be and It All Came into Being

Balochi poetry by Akbar Barakzai, translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Adivasi Poetry

A poem by Jitendra Vasava translated from the Dehwali Bhili via Gujarati by Gopika Jadeja. Click here to read.

A Poem for The Ol Chiki

 Poetry by Sokhen Tudu, translated from the Santhali by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar. Click here to read.

About Time

Korean poetry on time written and translated by Ilwha Choi. Click here to read.

Of Days and Seasons

A parable by the eminent Dutch writer, Louis Couperus (1863-1923), translated by Chaitali Sengupta. Click here to read.

Road to Nowhere

An unusual story about a man who heads for suicide, translated from Odiya by the author, Satya Misra. Click here to read.

Abhisar by Tagore

A story poem about a Buddhist monk by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali has been translated by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read the poems

Arundhathi Subramaniam, Michael R Burch, Sekhar Banerjee, Jeff Shakes, Ashok Suri, Tim Heerdink, Srinivas S, Rhys Hughes, A Jessie Michael, George Freek, Saranayan BV, Gigi Baldovino Gosnell, Pramod Rastogi, Tohm Bakelas, Nikita Desai, Jay Nicholls, Smitha Vishwanathan, Jared Carter

Nature’s Musings

In Sun, Seas and Flowers, Penny Wilkes takes us for a tour of brilliant photographs of autumnal landscapes with verses. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In Memory Gongs, Rhys Hughes creates a profound myth tinged with a tongue in cheek outlook … Click here to read.

Essays

Crime and the Colonial Capital: Detective Reid in Calcutta

Abhishek Sarkar explores the colonial setting up of the Calcutta detective department in 1887. Click here to read.

The Myth of Happiness

Candice Louisa Daquin ponders over the impositions on people to declare themselves happy. Click here to read.

Once Upon a Time in Burma: Of Babies and Buddhas

John Herlihy takes us through more of Myanmar with his companion, Peter, in the second part of his travelogue. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

Bhaskar Parichha explores links between Politics & the Media. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Cyclists

Mike Smith muses about a black and white photograph from his childhood. Click here to read.

Leo Messi’s Magic Realism

Sports fan Saurabh Nagpal explores the magic realism in famous footballer Messi’s play with a soupçon of humour. Click here to read.

Infinite Possibilities & Mysterious Riddles

Keith Lyons gives a lively account of traveling across borders despite the pandemic. Click here to read.

Word Play

Geetha Ravichnadran explores additions to our vocabulary in a tongue-in-cheek article. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In When I Almost Became a Professor, Devraj Singh Kalsi gives humour tinged reasons on why he detached himself from being an academician. Click here to read.

Stories

Flash Fiction: Turret

Niles M Reddick relates a haunting tale of ghosts and more. Click here to read.

Silver Lining

Dipayn Chakrabarti travels through moods of the day and night. Click here to read.

Captain Andi is in love

Dr. P Ravi Shankar explores a future beyond climate change in Malaysia. Click here to read.

The Cockatoo

Revathi Ganeshsundaram captures the stardust in ripening years. Click here to read.

The Missing Tile

Saeed Ibrahim’s story reflects on the ties between an old teacher and a student. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In Return of the Ghost, Sunil Sharma explores the borders between life, ideas and death. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Kobi’ and ‘Rani’: Memoirs and Correspondences of Nirmalkumari Mahalanobis and Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Somdatta Mandal, showcasing Tagore’s introduction and letters. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Rakhi Dalal reviews Anvita Abbi’s Voices from the Lost Horizon. Click here to read.

Basudhara Roy reviews Bina Sarkar Ellias’ Song of a Rebel and Other Selected Poems. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Wendy Doniger’s Winged Stallion and Wicked Mares. Click here to read.

Categories
Stories

The Silver Lining

By Dipayan Chakrabarti                                   

1

As the eastern sky turned red, Ileana woke up early in her bedroom. She stood by the window, tall and still, gazing absently at the blurred distance. The rays of the morning sun caught the zigzagging wings of quails and pigeons which created patterns across the sky in Siliguri. After some time, her eyes fell on the shades of blossoming bougainvilleas at the still waters of the abandoned pool which had a rusty drift of different pollens on its surface. She noticed some blue birds — they were house martins– take flight towards the open sky. A warm spring breeze ruffled her black hair. Nature was exploding with new foliage, and colourful flowers which filled her with hope and expectations.

Ileana was startled by a booming voice as her father rushed through the door in his own inimitable way. “How’re the online classes going, dear?” asked her old man, chewing methodically on his pipestem.

“Fine dad,” Ileana replied with a little quaver.

“You seem very busy with your laptop!” he said, curling part of the upper lip upwards.

“The online classes are already in progress today, dad.”

Ileana’s father left the room giving an indifferent shrug while she kept gazing out of the window at the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Kanchenjunga and their lovely little garden.  She felt relieved when her father left the room. Ileana felt bogged down with online classes, exams, and pressure to perform, though her teachers had always addressed the critical concern with tips to maintain her emotional well-being during examinations.

2

Ileana was startled by a dull buzz on that afternoon. The phone rang continuously. She picked up the receiver and held it to her ear. She looked worried as her friend’s feeble voice wailed from the other end.  “I’m Covid-19 positive, Ileana. I’m down with a little fever, dry cough and tiredness.” 

“Don’t worry dear,” Ileana tried to lift her friend’s spirits. “Those are only mild symptoms and you would soon recover without hospitalisation.” 

“Thank you!” said Ileana’s friend.

“Remember that healthy mind is very important for a healthy life,” Ileana advised, taking off her glasses.

“I’m feeling insecure and alone, Ileana.”

“Stay connected to your loved ones by telephone,” Ileana advised.

“Yeah, I’ll do that,” said Ileana’s friend.  

“Practice breathing exercises during home workouts,” Ileana counselled, looking at the rotating blades of the ceiling fan as the power returned after a prolonged breakdown.

“Thanks for being so kind, Ileana.”                                  

Later when the setting sun turned the western sky to an eerie orange, sunlight streamed in through the window blinds — dusty and mellow. Darkness descended. Ileana looked up, and then stared out of the room window, looking worried. She let the breeze cool her face. Streaks of lightning illuminated her. They rippled and danced. She gazed upwards till her neck ached.

 At nightfall, Ileana walked through the dark corridors in an off-shoulder blouse and took the elevator to the roof of the building. There were thick gathering clouds in the sky, but she took no note of them. She shivered in the gust of wind. Suddenly, freezing drops from the sky pierced her bare shoulders. They were hailstones. Ileana shut her eyes and walked against the downpour feeling the sting of the pouring hailstones on her face. She caught the tiny hailstones in her palm and shoved them into her mouth to crunch them between her molars. She went inside.

Ileana listened to the tuneful sonatas of Beethoven’s third symphony on her headphones. After some time, she lent an ear to the pitter-patter rhythm that dissolved her troubles into cascading cadences of music. The sky and the sonatas grew darker and darker.

  3

The rain fell gently on the roof of the apartment building. She heard the whistling wind fly over the stretched wire and buildings creating a droning hum. “This lockdown is threatening my physical well-being, my identity and also my self-esteem,” she whispered to herself. She kept gazing at the rainwater that had replaced the hailstones and was turning the ground slippery.  She felt everything was an aimless slog. She conjured up the faces of her loved ones though they had fallen severely short of her expectations.

She felt that the situation was so bad that nothing she could do would change it. “I cannot endure this any longer. I want to escape from this living hell,” she whispered into the night air blowing in through her window. Only a draft of wind gushed through her curly hair.  Everything appeared dark and there were no redeeming features that could give her hope. Death seemed preferable to her in comparison to the imagined future which seemed like a living hell.

It was nearing dawn. Ileana was back to the rooftop. She slipped and fell when she tried to walk on the wet surface slippery with rainwater from the night. She got up slowly and walked to the farthest end of the roof. When she reached the end, she peered down. Her face suddenly softened and tears filled her eyes.

Ileana gaped blankly as the sun crept over the lofty buildings into the horizon. The first light of dawn touched everything with ripples of gold. It was another beautiful morning. Everything looked cheerful.

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Dipayn Chakrabarti (Jalpaiguri, India) is a novel and short story writer. His works have received numerous awards and have been published in several literary journals. 

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