Borderless, May 2021


And this too shall pass… Click here to read


Songs of Seasons: Translated by Fakrul Alam

Bangla Academy literary award winning translator, Dr Fakrul Alam, translates six seasonal songs of Tagore. Click here to read.

Temples and Mosques

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s fiery essay translated by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.

Purify My Life

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s poem, Purify my Life, translated by Shahriyer Hossain Shetu. Click here to read.

Waiting for Godot by Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai’s poem translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.


Aditya Shankar translates a poem by Sujith Kumar. Click here to read.

The Last Boat

Tagore’s Diner Sheshe Ghoomer Deshe translated by Mitali Chakravarty with an interpretation in pastels by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.


Anasuya Bhar, Scott Thomas Outlar, Saranyan BV, Matthew James Friday, Nitya Mariam John, RJ Kaimal, Jay Nicholls, Tasneem Hossain, Rhys Hughes, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Ihlwha Choi, Himadri Lahiri, Sunil Sharma, Mike Smith, Jared Carter

Nature’s Musings

Photo-Poetry by Penny & Michael Wilkes. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

Lear and Far

As a tribute to the 209th anniversary of Edward Lear, Rhys Hughes writes of his famous poem, ‘Owl and the Pussycat’, and writes a funny ending for it rooted in the modern day. Click here to read.


If at all

Shobha Nandavar, a physician in Bangalore, depicts the trauma of Covid 19 in India with compassion. Click here to read.

First Lady

Rituparna Khan gives us a brief vignette from the life of one of the first women doctors in India, Dr Kadambari Ganguly. Click here to read.

Mr Dutta’s Dream

Atreyo Chowdhury takes us into the world of unquenchable wanderlust. Click here to read.

Neemboo Ka Achaar or Maa’s Lemon Pickle

A compelling flash fiction by Suyasha Singh hovering around food and a mother’s love. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In A Lunch Hour Crisis, Sunil Sharma raises humanitarian concerns that though raised in a pandemic-free world, have become more relevant and concerning given our current predicament. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Serve the People

Danielle Legault Kurihara, a Quebecker in Japan, writes of differences in rituals. Click here to read.

Why I write?
Basudhara Roy tells us how writing lingers longer than oral communications. Click here to read more.

The Quiet Governance of Instinct

Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist, talks of the importance of trusting our instincts. Click here to read more.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Nations without NobelDevraj Singh Kalsi takes a fresh look at national pride with a soupçon of sarcasm and humour. Click here to read.

Adventures of the Backpacking Granny

In Visit to Rural BaoyingSybil Pretious travels to spend a night with a local family in rural China in a ‘hundred-year-old home’.Click here to read.


Four Seasons and an Indian Summer

Keith Lyons talks of his experiences of seasons in different places, including Antarctica. Click here to read.

Rabindranath and the Etchings of His Mind

Anasuya Bhar explores the various lives given to a publication through the different edited versions, translations and films, using Tagore as a case study and the work done to provide these online. Click here to read.

My Experiments with Identity

Tejas Yadav explores identity from the context Heraclitus, Rumi down to his own. Click here to read.

Can Songs be the Musical Conscience of a Film?

Prithvijeet Sinha uses Gaman (Departure), a Hindi movie around the pain of migrant workers, as a case study to highlight his contention that lyrics and songs convey much in Indian films. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Manoj Das – The Master Storyteller, Bhaskar Parichha pays a tribute to one of the greatest storytellers from the state of Odisha, India, Manoj Das( 1934-2021). Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from A Bengali Lady in England (1885): Annotated Translation with Critical Introduction to Krishnabhabini Das’ Englandey Bangamahila by Nabanita Sengupta. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

A review of Feisal Alkazi‘s memoir, Enter Stage Right: The Alkazi Padamsee Family Memoir by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read.

A review of Shakti Ghosal‘s The Chronicler of the Hooghly and Other Stories by Gracy Samjetsabam. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Raising a Humanist by Manisha Pathak-Shelat‘s and Kiran Vinod Bhatia. Click here to read.


Communication scholars and authors, Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, discuss how to bring up children in these troubled times, based on their book, Raising a Humanist, which has just been released. Click here to read.

Sonya J Nair of Samyukta Poetry talks about the Samyukta Research Foundation and its affiliates and its festival, Anantha. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections, May 2021

A selection of young person’s writings from Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Story Poem

Pirate Blacktarn meets the Siren

A strange tale in verse by Jay Nicholls


Pirate Blacktarn was sailing around
When all of a sudden, he heard a sweet sound,
A marvellous melody, wafting on the sea.
“Let’s go and see what that sound can be.”
“No you can’t,” said Tim Parrot anxiously,
“That’s the Siren’s song, turn back quickly.”

“Nonsense Tim, don’t be such a bore
Full sail ahead, I want to hear more.”

“No, no,” said Tim, “the Siren’s song’s a trap.
She’ll sing and tell tales till you doze and nap.
And at last you’ll fall asleep and never wake again.
Don’t you know the Siren makes statues of men?”

“Rubbish, don’t make a fuss, we’re brave and tough
And we’re not afraid of Sirens,” said Blacktarn in a huff.

So they sailed at speed to the Siren’s shores
Following her enchanted music’s lures.
“Welcome,” called the Siren as they finally came near,
“I have a tale or two, perhaps you’d like to hear?”

Her hair was shining silver and her eyes were glinting green,
The most amazing creature they’d ever seen.
Her lilting, laughing voice was rich and sweet as honey.
Mysterious and serious, fantastical and funny.

“Don’t listen,” cried Tim, flapping his wings with worry.
“Oh be quiet Tim, we’re not in a hurry,
“We can surely stay for just a little while.
Pleased to meet you Siren,” said Blacktarn with a smile.

Then the Siren gave them all a potion to drink
And they drank and drank and forgot to think.

“I see you pirates have come a long, long way,
You must stay here and rest,” they heard the Siren say.
Then she told them tales of the people of Mer
And of sunken ships full of long-lost treasure,
And the terrible battles of the squids and the whales
And the shining sea fire that never ever fails,
And the undersea caves that glitter with diamonds
And the eels that weave through the waving fern fronds,
And the ghosts of dead pirates all shivering and cold
Still seeking their hoards of silver and gold.

Their heads began to nod and their eyes began to close
And one by one they fell into a deep enchanted doze.
They hardly knew if they were waking or dreaming
For all was hazy and magical seeming.
Blacktarn’s mouth opened wider and wider
And he didn’t even notice when in jumped a spider.

“Wake up! Wake up!” cried Tim in agitation,
But the pirates were lost in their imagination.
“Time for drastic action,” thought Tim, very worried,
And away to his friends the seagulls, he hurried.

“Help me, please help me, I don’t know what to do,
The Siren’s enchanted Blacktarn and all his crew.”

Then the Lord of the Seagulls held a meeting of his flock,
They all gathered together on his great grey rock.
They didn’t like the Siren, she turned birds into stone
And wore necklaces and rings made of seagulls’ bones.

“What we’ll do is hold a seagull’s chorus,”
The Great Gull decided, “and we’ll make such a fuss
That the Siren’s voice will be silenced and unheard,
Then the pirates will wake,” announced the Great Bird.
The gulls all agreed this was a very good idea
For a certain sort of seagull screech is hideous to hear.
So away they flew to the Siren’s shores
And saw the pirates and heard their snores.
The Great Gull himself let out a wild cry
Then the seagull chorus screamed through the sky.
The din they made echoed round and round
Till the Siren’s voice was completely drowned.

“Wake up Blacktarn,” called all the birds,
“Wake up, don’t listen to the Siren’s words.
Wake up Mick and Bob, wake Stowaway Fay
Wake, if you want to live another day.”

Tim went round pecking at the dozy crew.
“Wake up Captain and Rakesh and you and you.”
Then the crew stopped hearing the Siren’s voice.
They only heard the gulls, they didn’t have a choice.
“I must have been napping,” said Bob opening his eyes,
“I’ve had some strange dreams,” said Mick in surprise.

Then they stared at the Siren in horror and dismay
She’d turned purple with rage, now she couldn’t get her way.
She frothed at the mouth and her eyes went red
And writhing snakes twisted round her head.

“Run,” yelled Fay and at top speed they fled,
And didn’t dare stop, they were so filled with dread.
At last they reached the ship and sighed with relief.
That was an adventure quite beyond belief!”

“I wish I could remember the stories she told,
 I wanted to hear those magic tales unfold,”
Said Stowaway Fay, with a rather sad sigh.
“Me too,” said Bob. “Yes” said Mick, “so did I.”
“You be grateful you haven’t been turned to stone,”
Said Parrot Tim crossly, “then you’d really moan.
If it wasn’t for the help of the gulls of the air
You’d be trapped forever in the Siren’s snare.”

“Nonsense,” said Blacktarn, “we were dozing a while,
We weren’t caught up in the Siren’s guile.
I told you no Siren would get the better of me,
Now come on crew, get sailing, across the Lemon Sea.”


Note: The ‘Pirate Blacktarn’ poems were written in the early 1990s but were never submitted anywhere or shown to anyone. By lucky chance they were recently rescued from a floppy disc that had lain in the bottom of a box for almost thirty years. There are eleven poems in the series but no indication as to what order they were written in and the author no longer remembers. However, they seem to work well when read in any order. They all feature the same cast of characters, the eponymous pirate and his crew, including a stowaway and an intelligent parrot. The stories told by the poems are set on a fictional body of water named the Lemon Sea. (Dug up by Rhys Hughes from the bottom of an abandoned treasure chest).

Jay Nicholls was born in England and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She has worked in academia for many years in various student support roles, including counselling and careers. She has written poetry most of her life but has rarely submitted it for publication.




Borderless, April, 2021

Greetings from Borderless Journal for all Asian New Years! Click here to read our message along with the video and a translation of a Tagore song written to greet the new year, with lyrics that not only inspire but ask the fledgling to heal mankind from deadly diseases.


New Beginnings

A walk through our content and our plans for the future. Click here to read.


In Conversation with Arundhathi Subramaniam: An online interview with this year’s Sahitya Akademi winner, Arundhathi Subramaniam. Click here to read.

Sumana Roy & Trees: An online interview with Sumana Roy, a writer and academic. Click here to read.


(Click on the names to read)

Arundhathi Subramaniam, Jared Carter, Matthew James Friday, Michael R Burch, Aparna Ajith, Jenny Middleton, Rhys Hughes, Jay Nicholls, Achingliu Kamei, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Ihlwha Choi, Smitha Vishwanath, Sekhar Banerjee, Sumana Roy

Photo-poetry by Penny Wilkes

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

With an introduction to Blood and Water by Rebecca Lowe, Rhys Hughes debuts with his column on poets and poetry. Click here to read.


The Word by Akbar Barakzai

Fazal Baloch translates the eminent Balochi poet, Akbar Barakzai. Click here to read.

Malayalam poetry in Translation

Aditya Shankar translates a poem by Shylan from Malayalam to English. Click here to read.

Tagore Songs in Translation

To commemorate Tagore’s birth anniversary, we translated five of his songs from Bengali to English. Click here to read, listen and savour.

Tagore Translations: One Small Ancient Tale

Rabindranath Tagore’s Ekti Khudro Puraton Golpo (One Small Ancient Tale) from his collection Golpo Guchcho ( literally, a bunch of stories) has been translated by Nishat Atiya. Click here to read.

Musings/Slice of Life

Pohela Boisakh: A Cultural Fiesta

Sohana Manzoor shares the Bengali New Year celebrations in Bangladesh with colourful photographs and interesting history and traditions that mingle beyond the borders. Click here to read.

Gliding along the Silk Route

Ratnottama Sengupta, a well-known senior journalist and film critic lives through her past to make an interesting discovery at the end of recapping about the silk route. Click here to read and find out more.

The Source

Mike Smith drifts into nostalgia about mid-twentieth century while exploring a box of old postcards. What are the stories they tell? Click here to read.

Lost in the Forest

John Drew, a retired professor, cogitates over a tapestry of the Ras lila. Click here to read.

Tied to Technology

Naomi Nair reflects on life infiltrated by technology, by Siri and Alexa with a tinge of humour. Click here to read.

Adventures of a Backpacking Granny

In Inspiriting SiberiaSybil Pretious takes us with her to Lake Baikal and further. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Tributes & AttributesDevraj Singh Kalsi pays tribute to his late mother. Click here to read.


Reflecting the Madness and Chaos Within

Over 150 Authors and Artists from five continents have written on mental illness in an anthology called Through the Looking Glass. Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist and writer and editor, tells us why this is important for healing. Click here to read.

At Home in the World: Tagore, Gandhi and the Quest for Alternative Masculinities

Meenakshi Malhotra explores the role of masculinity in Nationalism prescribed by Tagore, his niece Sarala Debi, Gandhi and Colonials. Click here to read.

A Tale of Devotion and Sacrifice as Opposed to Jealousy and Tyranny

Sohana Manzoor explores the social relevance of a dance drama by Tagore, Natir puja. We carry this to commemorate Tagore’s birth anniversary. Click here to read

Photo Essay: In the Midst of Colours

Nishi Pulugurtha explores the campus of a famed university with her camera and words and shares with us her experiences. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

Oh, That lovely Title: Politics

A short piece by Bhaskar Parichha that makes for a witty comment on the forthcoming Indian elections. Click here to read.



Rakhi Pande gives us a story about a woman and her inner journey embroiled in the vines of money plant. Click here to read.


A sensitive short story by Sohana Manzoor that makes one wonder if neglect and lack of love can be termed as an abuse? Click here to read

Ghumi Stories: Grandfather & the Rickshaw

Nabanita Sengupta takes us on an adventure on the rickshaw with Raya’s grandfather. Click here to read

Flash Fiction: The Husband on the Roof

Carl Scharwath gives us a story with a strange twist. Click here to read

Flash Fiction: Flight of the Falcon

Livneet Shergill gives us a story in empathy with man and nature. Click here to read

The Literary Fictionist

A playlet by Sunil Sharma set in Badaun, The Dryad and I: A Confession and a Forecast, is a short fiction about trees and humans. Click here to read.

Book reviews

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Reconciling Differences by Rudolf C Heredia, a book that explores hate and violence. Click here to read.

Nivedita Sen reviews Nomad’s Land by Paro Anand, a fiction set among migrant children of a culture borne of displaced Rohingyas, Syrian refugees, Tibetans and more. Click here to read

Candice Louisa Daquin reviews The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the last by Azra Raza. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from Raising a Humanist: Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World by Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, the focus is on media and its impact. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selection, April 2021

A selection of young person’s writings from Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Story Poem

Pirate Blacktarn and the Rainbow

A strange tale in verse by Jay Nicholls

Pirate Blacktarn was sick of the weather.

His big green hat with its red parrot feather

Was all sodden and wet and soggy and droopy

With the rain that kept falling and driving them loopy.

“I’m tired of this weather,” he grumbled again,

“All it does is rain, rain, rain.”

“Never mind Captain,” called Mick with a shout,

“Look over there, the sun’s coming out.”

“And look beyond,” cried Fay with joy,

“There’s a rainbow shining. Rainbow ahoy.”

The rainbow shone red and orange and gold,

Blue, violet and indigo and green and bold.

“What a wonderful rainbow,” the crew all cried.

“Humph!” said Blacktarn, “I’d rather it dried.

But wait a minute, there’s a tale I know.

Now what is it that lies at the end of a rainbow?

Gold! Yes of course, a crock of fine gold.

Below that rainbow there’s wealth untold.

Well come on crew, turn the ship,

Start to steer for the rainbow’s tip.”

“But Captain,” said Bob, “we can’t reach the end of a rainbow.”

“Of course we can,” said Blacktarn, “come on, let’s go.

I’ll be the richest pirate on all the Lemon Sea,

I’ll eat chocolate for breakfast, dinner and tea,

I’ll wear ten gold rings in each of my ears,

And wear cloth-of-gold trousers for years and years.”

“Well I think we should have some of this gold too,”

Said Bosun Mick to the rest of the crew.

“Well, maybe I’ll let you have a coin or so,”

Said Pirate Blacktarn as he paced to and fro.

But the crew felt annoyed and muttered and mumbled.

“It’s not at all right,” they sulked and grumbled,

“We do the work, why should Blacktarn have it all?

All he ever does is growl and bawl.

But first we must find this mysterious rainbow.

It’s very odd how it seems to come and go.”

All day they searched for the rainbow far and near.

But when they thought they were close, it seemed to disappear.

And when they reached the place where the rainbow should be,

There was nothing to be seen anywhere on the sea.

Everyone thought they knew the best course to take.

And each yelled at the others, “THAT way, for goodness sake!”

“Steer to starboard!” “No, to port!”

“No you fool, it’s the other way I thought.”

So they all grew crosser and crosser and then began to shout.

Until at last a horrible fight broke out.

And everyone joined in, with fierce kicks and punches.

And poor Tim’s feathers were pulled out in bunches.

But at last they grew weary and bruised and battered

And their heads were hurting and their clothes were tattered.

Then they heard a strange sound wafting over the sea.

“What’s that?” they asked, feeling rather panicky.

“It’s the people of Mer,” said Fay feeling sad,

“They’re laughing at us for being so silly and bad.

And do you know what’s happened now?

All the time we’ve been quarrelling and making such a row,

The sun’s gone down and the rainbow’s vanished.”

“Oh no,” cried Blacktarn, “my dreams of wealth are banished.”

“I’m very sorry,” said Big Bob, the cook.

“So am I,” said Rakesh with a shamefaced look.

“I didn’t really mean to pull out your feathers Tim,”

Said Bosun Mick, holding out a hand to him.

“And I wasn’t really trying to peck off your nose,”

Said Tim with a sigh, “or even gnaw your toes.”

Then they cleaned each other’s cuts and rubbed each other’s bruises.

And then they agreed that they’d all been losers.

“But look at our poor Captain,” cried Rakesh, “over there.”

For Blacktarn huddled by the stern, muttering, “It’s not fair.”

And he looked very miserable and gloomy and dejected

For all his hopes of gold hadn’t gone as he’d expected.

“Serves you right,” said a voice, “for being much too greedy.”

And Neptune himself rose from the deeps of the sea.

“We’re feeling very sorry,” said Stowaway Fay.

“So I should think,” said Neptune, “what a way to spend a day!”

But Big Bob the cook baked a great big cake,

The very best that he could possibly make,

And Blacktarn had the biggest piece with a nice cup of tea.

And Rakesh sang a song to try to make him happy,

Until at last he smiled again and seemed to cheer up,

While Neptune reminded him, as he took a cup,

“You can never find the end of a magical rainbow,

As every good sailor on the Lemon Sea should know.”

“Well of course I knew that,” said Blacktarn cheerfully,

“I was just testing the crew here, you see.

But now we’ve steered a long way off course.

It’s time we set sail again, to catch the salt-wind’s force.”


Note: The ‘Pirate Blacktarn’ poems were written in the early 1990s but were never submitted anywhere or shown to anyone. By lucky chance they were recently rescued from a floppy disc that had lain in the bottom of a box for almost thirty years. There are eleven poems in the series but no indication as to what order they were written in and the author no longer remembers. However, they seem to work well when read in any order. They all feature the same cast of characters, the eponymous pirate and his crew, including a stowaway and an intelligent parrot. The stories told by the poems are set on a fictional body of water named the Lemon Sea. (Dug up by Rhys Hughes from the bottom of an abandoned treasure chest).

Jay Nicholls was born in England and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She has worked in academia for many years in various student support roles, including counselling and careers. She has written poetry most of her life but has rarely submitted it for publication.