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Contents

Borderless January, 2022

Painting by Sohana Manzoor

Editorial

Elephants & Laughter… Click here to read.

Interviews

Keith Lyons introduces us to Kenny Peavy, an author, adventurer, educator and wilderness first-aider who has travelled far and wide and wishes everyone could connect with the natural world right outside their door. Click here to read.

In Rhys Hughes Unbounded, Hughes, an author and adventurer, tells us about his inclination for comedies. Click here to read

Translations

Professor Fakrul Alam translates If Life were Eternal by Jibananada Das from Bengali. Click here to read.

Ratnottama Sengupta translates Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Bijoya Doushami. Click here to read.

Korean poet Ihlwha Choi translates his own poem, Sometimes Losing is Winning, from Korean. Click here to read.

Give Me A Rag, Please:A short story by Nabendu Ghosh, translated by Ratnottama Sengupta, set in the 1943 Bengal Famine, which reflects on man’s basic needs. Click here to read.

On This Auspicious Day is a translation of a Tagore’s song, Aaji Shubhodine Pitaar Bhabone, from Bengali by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Rhys Hughes, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Anasuya Bhar, Jay Nicholls, Anuradha Vijayakrishnan, Vernon Daim, Mathangi Sunderrajan, William Miller, Syam Sudhakar, Mike Smith, Pramod Rastogi, Ivan Peledov, Subzar Ahmed, Michael R Burch

Nature’s Musings

In Best Friends, Penny Wilkes takes us for a photographic treat. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In Making Something of Nothing…, Rhys Hughes explores sources of inspirations with a dollop of humour. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Wooing Children to School

Munaj Gul writes of how volunteers are engaged in wooing children from poverty stricken backgrounds to school in Turbat, Balochistan. Click here to read.

Historical Accuracy

Ravibala Shenoy ponders over various interpretations of the past in media and through social media. Click here to read.

The Ocean & Me

Meredith Stephens writes of her sailing adventures in South Australia. Click here to read.

Crotons

Kavya RK finds her fascination for plants flourish in the pandemic. Click here to read.

The Great Freeze

P Ravi Shankar trots through winters in different parts of the globe. Click here to read.

Two Birds

Ratnottama Sengupta muses as she translates a Tagore’s song. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In The New Year’s Boon, Devraj Singh gives a glimpse into the projection of a new normal created by God. Click here to read.

Essays

Dramatising an Evolving Consciousness: Theatre with Nithari’s Children

Sanjay Kumar gives us a glimpse of how theatre has been used to transcend trauma and create bridges. Click here to read.

Potable Water Crisis & the Sunderbans

Camellia Biswas, a visitor to Sunderbans during the cyclone Alia, turns environmentalist and writes about the potable water issue faced by locals. Click here to read.

The Malodorous Mountain: A Contemporary Folklore

Sayantan Sur looks into environmental hazards due to shoddy garbage disposal. Click here to read.

Where Sands Drift Back in Time…

Shernaz Wadia explores Western Australia. Click here to read.

The Observant Immigrant

In The Changing Faces of the Family, Candice Louisa Daquin explores the trends in what is seen as a family now. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Fakir Mohan: A Tribute, Bhaskar Parichha introduces us to Fakir Mohan Senapati, the writer he considers the greatest in Odia literature. Click here to read.

Stories

Folklore from Balochistan: The Pearl

Balochi folktales woven into a story and reinvented by Fazal Baloch highlighting the wisdom of a woman. Click here to read.

The American Wonder

Steve Ogah takes us to a village in Nigeria. Click here to read.

The Boy

Neilay Khasnabish shares a story on migrant labours with a twist. Click here to read.

Stranger than Fiction

Sushant Thapa writes of real life in Nepal, which at times is stranger than fiction. Click here to read.

The Solace

Candice Louisa Daquin takes us on a poignant story of longing. Click here to read.

The Doll

Sohana Manzoor tells a story around the awakening of a young woman. Click here to read.

Among Our PeopleDevraj Singh Kalsi gives a fictitious account of a common man’s quest for security in a country that is one of the world’s largest democracy. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Shazi Zaman’s Akbar: A Novel of History detailing his interactions with Surdas and Braj. Click here to read.

Excerpts from A Glimpse Into My Country, An Anthology of International Short Stories edited by Andrée Roby & Dr Sangita Swechcha. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Somdatta Mandal’s translation of A Bengali Lady in England by Krishnabhabini Das (1885). Click here to read.

Gracy Samjetsabam reviews Anuradha Kumar’s The Hottest Summer in Years. Click here to read.

Rakhi Dalal reviews Selma Carvalho’s Sisterhood of Swans. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Amit Ranjan’s John Lang; Wanderer of Hindoostan; Slanderer in Hindoostanee; Lawyer for the Ranee. Click here to read.

Categories
Musings

Crotons

By Kavya R K    

The pandemic, I feel, has made us very contemplative. We’ve begun to ponder over subjects that range from the grave aspects of life to the most trivial ones. There is also this category of thoughts that belong somewhere in the middle. They usually begin as silly musings but gradually transform and align with thoughts of greater dimensions. Although I’m not sure where to classify my current thoughts, I think that this very ambiguity gives them a place in the middle.

I have never been a keen observer of gardens. I love to spend time in parks, but someone would usually accompany me, and we’d get immersed in conversation. This used to keep me off the pleasure of savouring the blossoms, even though their tempting fragrance had always seduced me. However, those visits used to be brief and the acquaintance temporary.

For some weeks now, I have been taking back-and-forth cycle rides in my courtyard; thanks to us, the ‘obedient’ citizens, and the lockdown. One such day, I chanced upon the front row of decorative plants in my home. Until then, I hadn’t really paid attention to these. I was aware only of the flowering plants, rose and hibiscus, which grew at the two corners of the front yard. Like any other hopeless romantic, I also had an affinity for these flowering plants. I used to have imaginary baby showers and baptism ceremonies every time they bore a new flower. Although these were at the relatively unnoticeable part of the house, I used to spare some time to visit them.

Now this front row, which suddenly came into being for my eyes, had some densely grown croton plants. I realised that it actually made up the lion’s share of our front yard. I looked at it for a while. The croton leaves have always appeared to me as too chaotic and flamboyant. They have seemed to me quite undisciplined and shabby, because of the multi-coloured large leaves. They somehow didn’t fit into the norms of beauty I was conditioned to believe in. I used to feel that they lacked the sort of uniformity and harmony that nature upheld; something which should have been ingrained in the hues they were blessed with. But that day, the croton leaves held a different attraction for me. The variegated leaves seemed to breathe out a serenity I had never imagined them to have. The leaves were nestled close to each other, in a wholesome embrace that seemed to shield them from all adversities. Designed and coloured differently, no two consecutive leaves looked alike. Yet, the way they held each other, the way they grew wide, and withstood the direst of heat and rains, I realised, is the zenith of harmony and togetherness.

As I pedaled back, my mind reverberated with the voice of the crotons that echoed the universal concept of peaceful co-existence. The kind that demands us to accept the uniqueness of all identities and modes of being. That which relishes every single hue in the spectrum of humanity. A life that no longer insists on blossoms but learns to cherish the beauty of the bloomless. And therefore, the one that reconnects us to the relentless potential of nature where all it takes to grow, is a perspectival change.

Kavya R K is a Research Scholar at The Department of Indian and World Literatures, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Her writings have been published in The Hindu Open Page, readingroomco.in , and in the anthology titled “100+ Splendid Voices“.

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