Figments caught straying in whispers of a dream, Weave together till they form a visible stream, Filling a void with voices that sing, With freedom and impunity ring, Giving credence to a distant, imagined realm. — Introduction, Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World
As we complete three years of our virtual existence in clouds, connecting, collecting and curating words of ideators, we step into our fourth year with the pleasurable experience of being in bookshops in hardcopy too. Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World, our first hardcopy anthology, takes us into the realm of real books which have evolved over eons in history. This anthology connects us to those who hesitate to step into the virtual world created by technology. And there are many such people – as ingrained in the human heritage is a love for rustling paper and the smell of books. We have had some excellent reviews, praising not just the content but also the production of the book – the cover, the print and the feel. The collection bonds traditional greats with upcoming modern voices. We are grateful to our publisher, Om Books International, Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, Jyotsna Mehta and their team for giving our book a chance. We do look forward to more anthologies hopefully in the future.
The writings we have collected over the last three years are reflective of diverse voices— some in concurrence with our thought processes and some in discussion or even in divergence. We have a variety of forms — poetry, conversations, fiction and non-fiction. Some are humorous and some serious. We try to move towards creating new trends as reflected in our anthology and our journal. For instance, Monalisa No Longer Smiles starts with an experiment — a limerick was adapted to express the intent of our book and journal; whereas normally this form is used to express light, or even bawdy sentiments. Perhaps, as the limerick says, we will find credence towards a new world, a new thought, a restructuring of jaded systems that cry out for a change.
Borderless Journal did not exist before 2020. Within three years of its existence, our published pieces have found voices in this anthology, in other books, journals and even have been translated to a number of languages. Our own translation section grows stronger by the day supported by translators like Aruna Chakravarti, Fakrul Alam, Radha Chakravarty and Somdatta Mandal. Our interviews and conversations probe to find similarities and divergences in viewpoints. Our stories tell a good tale rather than indulge in stylistic interplay and our poetry is meant to touch hearts, creating a bond between the writers and anglophone readers. What we hope to do is to expose our readers to writing that they can understand. Writers get lost at times with the joy of creating something new or unique and construct an abstraction that can be intimidating for readers. We hope to host writing that is comprehensible, lucid and clear to the lay person.
What we look forward to homing in the coming months is a mingling of different art forms to birth new ideas that will help our species move progressively towards a world in harmony, filled with peace and love, giving credence to voices like that of Tagore, Nazrul or Lennon. “Imagine there’s no heaven…Imagine there’s no countries…no religion, too…Imagine all the people/ Livin’ life in peace…Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world…” The need to redefine has been felt and as Lennon says in his last paragraph: “You may say I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one/ I hope someday you’ll join us/ And the world will live as one.” With this hope, we continue our journey into another year – a new adventure that will take us to a universe where heaven can be found on Earth, grounded and real, within the human reach and can be shared without war, greed, hatred and anger.
Here, we share with you a few iconic pieces that have found their way to our pages within the last three years.
Poems by Arundhathi Subramaniam houses three poems. Click here to read. The following poems from her collection can be found here.
- When God is a Traveller (titular poem from her Sahitya Akademi Award winning book)
- Eight Poems for Shankuntala
- The Fine Art of Ageing
Murmuration by Jared Carter. Click here to read.
Poems by Sukrita Paul Kumar: Poetry on Ukraine. Click here to read.
Arthurian Legends by Michael R Burch. 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.
Unveiling Afghanistan: In Conversation with Nazes Afroz, former editor of BBC and translator of a book on Afghanistan which reflects on the present-day crisis. Click here to read.
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.
In Conversation with Akbar Barakzai, a ‘Part-time Poet’ in Exile: The last interview of Akbar Barakzai where he says, ‘The East and the West are slowly but steadily inching towards each other. Despite enormous odds “the twain” are destined to “meet” and be united to get rid of the geographical lines…’ Click here to read more.
The Making of Historical Fiction: A Conversation with Aruna Chakravarti unfolds the creation of her latest novel, The Mendicant Prince, based on the prince of Bhawal controversy in the first part of the last century. Click here to read.
Half-Sisters: Sohana Manzoor explores the darker regions of human thought with a haunting psychological narrative about familial structures. Click here to read.
Rituals in the Garden: Marcelo Medone discusses motherhood, aging and loss in this poignant flash fiction from Argentina. Click here to read.
Navigational Error: Luke P.G. Draper explores the impact of pollution with a short compelling narrative. Click here to read.
The American Wonder: Steve Ogah takes us to a village in Nigeria. Click here to read.
Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes: A column by Rhys Hughes which can be fun poetry or prose. Click here to read.
Bhaskar’s Corner: Essays on contemporary life by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.
Musings of a Copywriter: Humour by Devraj Singh Kalsi. Click here to read.
Pandies’ Corner: These narratives highlight the ongoing struggle against debilitating rigid boundaries drawn by societal norms, with the support from organisations like Shaktishalini and Pandies. Click here to read.
Notes from Japan by Suzanne Kamata: A column that takes us closer to Japan. Click here to read.
Dilip Kumar: Kohinoor-e-Hind: Ratnottama Sengupta recollects the days the great actor sprinted about on the sets of Bombay’s studios …spiced up with fragments from the autobiography of Sengupta’s father, Nabendu Ghosh. Click here to read.
The Ultimate Genius of Kishore Kumar: Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, an eminent film critic, writes on the legend of Kishore Kumar. Click here to read.
Farewell Keri Hulme: A tribute by Keith Lyons to the first New Zealand Booker Prize winner, Keri Hulme, recalling his non-literary encounters with the sequestered author. Click here to read.
Epaar Bangla, Opaar Bangla: Bengals of the Mind: Asad Latif explores if homeland is defined by birth. 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.
Just a Face on Currency Notes?: Debraj Mookerjee explores Gandhi-ism in contemporary times. Click here to read.
The Idea of India: Bharata Bhagya Bidhata – The Making of a Motherland: Anasuya Bhar explores the history of the National Anthem of India, composed by Tagore in Bengali and translated only by the poet himself and by Aruna Chakravarti. Click here to read.
Tagore Translations, including translations by Aruna Chakravarti, Fakrul Alam, Somdatta Mandal and Radha Chakravarty. Click here to read.
Nazrul Translations, including Professor Fakrul Alam and Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.
Gandhi & Robot by Thangjam Ibopishak, translated from the Manipuri by Robin S Ngangom. Click here to read.
Songs of Freedom by Akbar Barakzai, poems translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. 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.
Thanks to our team, contributors and readers for being a part of our journey. Let’s sail onwards…