Categories
Editorial

Catch a Falling Star…

Art by Sohana Manzoor
For when your troubles starting multiplying
And they just might
It's easy to forget them without trying
With just a pocketful of starlight

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away (never let it fade away)
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

'Catch a Falling Star' by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss

Perhaps, it is time to find that fallen star popularised by pop singer Perry Como is 1957. Optimism glimmers faintly, sometimes even conceals itself, in a world passing through a dark phase in history. For instance, few of us would know that we might find more answers to tackle  climate change as dinosaur fossils (from the time an asteroid hit the planet) have been unearthed recently. That sounds like solutions can be had to what was perceived as inevitable doom.

Another bit of news that perhaps will cheer some is the first anthology of Borderless Journal will soon be available in market. It has been accepted by a publisher, an old, trusted and reputed name from India, Om Books International. They have bookshops splattered all over — should make it easy for buyers to access the book. Hopefully, you can target the anthology for your Diwali or Christmas gift hampers. Om Books has one of the most iconic editors-in chief, Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri. A multiple award-winning editor, he has worked in Penguin and Harper Collins and is currently churning out wonderful books from Om with a fabulous production team, working with whom has been a pleasure. Ray Chaudhuri is an outstanding film writer and poet. He is part of a group that is creating a film archive online. To know more about him or his views on publishing, you can read our online conversation with him.

The energy one gets from optimism like starlight from a fallen star, lightens the darker shadows that create gloom with the war leading to rise in prices and threats of recession in a post pandemic scenario. Lesya Bakun, the refugee from Ukraine whose story we carried last month, finds her starlight by sharing updates of her story.  She added to her narrative with the news that her cousin has been taken as a prisoner of war by Russia from the besieged factory in Ukraine. Though sharing does not alleviate suffering, Bakun’s ability to cling to hope and imagine a future where she gets her dream highlights the strength of her convictions. The other thing that is revealed by her narrative and media coverage is exclusivity and boxes of ideology split humankind, erase families, cities, countries, lives and sanity. The war can appease only the lust of warlords. Against this desolation caused by the devastation, what could be the starlight that would lead to a happier future?

Laughter. Unleashing the ability to laugh at oneself is as potent as laughter that generates relief and lightens our mood, so that we can view differences as whimsical, treat them with tolerance and compassion and not destroy the diversities that add colours to the world. Perhaps, that is why Tagore took to humour too. Somdatta Mandal has translated a series of humorous skits by Tagore. We are featuring one of these called the ‘Ordeal of Fame’. Yet another translation or transcreation of a poem called ‘Lukochuri’ or ‘Hide and Seek’ reflects the playful in Tagore’s oeuvre. These, along with Rhys Hughes humour on the pandemic in poetry and prose, bring good cheer into our journal. Hughes has also used his column to tell us why he curated a new humorous anthology of verses by seventeen poets called Wuxing Lyrical. I wonder if he is serious or joking!

We were fortunate to have a tongue-in-cheek online discussion with an academic with a witty sense of humour who started a book based on his PhD research with a limerick, Amit Ranjan, author of John Lang the Wanderer of Hindoostan, Slanderer in Hindoostan, Lawyer for the Ranee. While Ranjan brought to us a narrative of an Australian who challenged the colonial mindset, went to court representing the Rani of Jhansi, wrote for Charles Dickens in Household Words and moved around the world just like one of us, hopping jobs and looking for a life, we have diverse cultural streams woven into the journal with translations of a Balochi folktale from Fazal Baloch, a Korean poem by Ihlwha Choi and Professor Fakrul Alam’s translation of Jibananda’s poetry, an ongoing project in Borderless.

The Nithari column has yielded us a story that was written in a mix of Hindi and English by Yogesh Uniyal and translated fully to English by Nirbhay Bhogal. We have strange stories this time. Nileena Sunil’s short narrative and Paul Mirabile’s longer one set in Madrid explore the unusual. More stories delve into the intricacies of the human mind.

As we trot around the globe, Suzanne Kamata tells us about a Monet museum in Japan where she ate madeleines made with the artist’s recipe! Meredith Stephens sails to Tasmania with her camera and gives us a glimpse of nature’s plenty. Ravi Shankar relates his trekking adventures among the Himalayas in Nepal, with awesome photographs of these mountains, while Kenny Peavy who lives in Indonesia dwells on the value of falling down and getting up in a light humorous vein against the backdrop of nature – though metaphorically perhaps the world needs to do that. We have G Venkatesh’s story about his stay in Johannesburg where he discovers that skin tones do not matter.

Ratnottama Sengupta makes the whole world look like a home with the story of a legendary screenwriter, Jean Claude Carriere, who wrote the script of Mahabharata for Peter Brook’s play (1985) of the same name and the subsequent film (1989) — with characters drawn from all over the world. Candice gives us an overview of the pandemic, with more focus on US where she lives.

Mike Smith travels back to another time when an ailment called World War II raged and has revived a writer from the past, HE Bates (1905-1974). We have another essay by Dan Meloche on a legendary book which turned 100 this year — Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. Rakhi Dalal revisits more than a century old translation by Devabrata Mukherjee of Tagore’s The Post Office which bears relevance to the present day as it shows how the human spirit endures over even the darkness of death.

Bhaskar Parichha has reviewed Radhika Gupta’s Limitless: The Power of Unlocking Your True Potential, by his assessment a book that inspires youngsters to take charge of their future. On the other hand, there are books that explore the darkest in humans. Basudhara Roy has reviewed a collection short stories by Sunil Sharma called Burn the Library & Other Fiction. Indrashish Banerjee reviews Upamanyu Chatterjee’s latest novel based on modern day crimes, Villainy, from which we are carrying a book excerpt too. The other excerpt is from a narrative written from a refugee’s perspective, Ramy Al-Asheq’s Ever Since I Did Not Die, translated by Isis Nusair from Arabic. Born in a refugee camp in Damascus, this Syrian-Palestinian poet defies all genres to touch hearts with brutal honesty. No less sincere is Michael Burch’s poetry on summer that ushers in the season as much as Sohana’s beautiful painting that we are using as our cover photo. We have poetry from not just Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri but also by George Freek, S. Srinivas, Tohm Bakelas, Abin Chakraborty, Marianne Tefft and many more. As usual, I have not mentioned all the treats in store for you. Delve into our contents page and browse to find out more.

Before winding up, I would want to extend my thanks not only to our team and contributors, but also to our publisher who is willing to republish our content with some tweaking. Thanks to our readers who, I hope, will be excited to have selected content between their palms as a hardcopy anthology with 49 of our most iconic pieces. We have more than a thousand published works. This anthology will be an iconic sample that you can carry anywhere with you even if there is no internet – that would include Mars and Moon!

I wish you happy reading, happy dreaming and hope… plenty of it.

Best wishes,

Mitali Chakravarty

borderlessjournal.com

Categories
Review

Limitless

Book review by Bhaskar Parichha

Title: Limitless: The Power of Unlocking Your True Potential

Author: Radhika Gupta

Publisher: Hachette India

What do you do when you are rejected for your dream job and can’t handle one more person telling you to be strong? What stops you from asking for that big role at work when you know you have a shot at getting it? For many, the real world of work isn’t cool to navigate and life’s challenges hardly ever have simple answers.

 Limitless: The Power of Unlocking Your True Potential by Radhika Gupta has answers to these vexing questions. The three essential batons in this book are: one, the world is full of possibilities; two, each of us has infinite potential to fly; and three, the book tells how to climb up the ladder.

MD and  CEO of  Edelweiss Mutual Funds, Radhika Gupta  is one of the youngest CEOs in corporate India and the only female head of a major asset management company. A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a hedge fund manager and an entrepreneur, she has been listed by several media outlets among top powerful men  and young business leaders. Her audiovisual ‘The Girl with a Broken Neck’ has inspired lakhs of viewers. 

What Radhika does in this book is this: she offers straight-talking advice on how one can multiply one’s chances at attaining success. It begins, she says, by investing in the most valuable asset one possess: one’s own self. 

Drawing on personal experiences of overcoming adversity and attaining success, Radhika’s intensely stirring stories and sharp, practical counsel provides all the motivation one need to discover self-confidence and live one’s best life. The account is her own and those of other achievers she has met. 

Case one: “Vinita is a student at an engineering college in Pune. In her family, she is not only the first girl to have left her home city to study outside, but is also the first prospective engineer. Every girl, she says, should make ‘use of every opportunity she has and every resource she is provided’. Vinita is driven, ambitious, and clearly wants to be someone. And yet she feels more than a little low. This is the last week of her final year at engineering college, and, she has been rejected by five companies during the campus placement process.”

Case two: “Prateek is 32 years old. He graduated from business school nine years ago and works for a well-known multi-national company in Mumbai. His work hours are comfortable and he has been with the company for five years. He is paid well enough and has received two, promotions since he joined. He wants to try something different–joining in a higher position in a smaller company, starting his own business, just anything that is different, really. He wants to take a risk. But he just can’t seem to make that jump.”

Through several such real-life instances, Radhika’s advice is: “Own your ambition. Embrace your uniqueness. Recognize the role your critics will play in your achievements. Build adaptability. Allow rejection to redirect you to your desired destination. Cultivate resilience.” Cherished tips indeed.

Cut to her own story. In the concluding chapter, she has some animated questions like what are the challenges of being a young woman in the male-dominated world of finance. She tells how she is asked a version of this question nearly every day on panels, in interviews and on social media. She states, characteristically, as if this question has to be asked and she has to respond.

Luckily, for Radhika, her gender hasn’t posed challenges. But she acknowledges that Sexism- both conscious and unconscious still exists, despite the progress we have made. Even if there is no outright bias, there are subtle reminders that make you feel dissimilar.

Divided into seven chapters and with a little over 270 pages, this handy self-help book makes for indispensable reading–particularly for youngsters who have to swim through the banalities of the corporate world.

Her inspirational wisdom in the book is so uplifting!

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Bhaskar Parichha is a journalist and author of UnbiasedNo Strings Attached: Writings on Odisha and Biju Patnaik – A Political Biography. He lives in Bhubaneswar and writes bilingually. Besides writing for newspapers, he also reviews books on various media platforms.

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