Borderless, March 2023

Art by Sohana Manzoor


Imagine… Click here to read.


A translation from Nabendu Ghosh’s autobiography, Eka Naukar Jatri (Journey of a Lonesome Boat), translated by Dipankar Ghosh, from Bengali post scripted by Ratnottama Sengupta. Click here to read.

Uehara by Kamaleswar Barua has been translated from Assamese and introduced by Bikash K. Bhattacharya. Click here to read.

Kurigram by Masud Khan has been translated by Professor Fakrul Alam from Bangla. Click here to read.

Bonfire by Ihlwha Choi has been translated from Korean by the poet himself. Click here to read.

Tagore’s Borondala (Basket of Offerings) has been translated by Mitali Chakravarty from Bengali. Click here to read.


Click on the names to read the poems

Michael R Burch, Kirpal Singh, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, Amit Parmessur, Carl Scharwath, Isha Sharma, Gale Acuff, Anannya Dasgupta, Vaishnavi Saritha, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Pragya Bajpai, George Freek, Sanket Mhatre, Ron Pickett, Asad Latif, Rhys Hughes

Poets, Poetry and Rhys Hughes

In Indian Pale Ale, Rhys Hughes experiments with words and brews. Click here to read.


Being fascinated with the human condition and being vulnerable on the page are the two key elements in the writing of fiction, author and poet Heidi North tells Keith Lyons in a candid conversation. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Mother Teresa & MF Hussian: Touching Lives

Prithvijeet Sinha muses on how Mother Teresa’s painting by MF Hussain impacted his life. Click here to read.

The Night Shift to Nouméa

Meredith Stephens writes of her sailing adventures to Nouméa. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Simian Surprises, Devraj Singh Kalsi describes monkey antics. Click here to read.

Notes from Japan

In Multicultural Curry, Suzanne Kamata reflects on mingling of various cultures in her home in Japan and the acceptance it finds in young hearts. Click here to read.


Which way, wanderer? Lyric or screenplay…

Ratnottama Sengupta explores the poetry in lyrics of Bollywood songs, discussing the Sahityotsav (Literary Festival) hosted by the Sahitya Akademi. Click here to read.

One Happy Island

Ravi Shankar takes us to Aruba, a Dutch colony, with photographs and text. Click here to read.

Cadences in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Paul Mirabile explores the stylistic nuances in this classic by James Joyce. Click here to read.



Brindley Hallam Dennis plays with mindsets. Click here to read.


A Jessie Michael narrates a moving saga of displacement and reservations. Click here to read.

A Wooden Smile

Shubhangi gives us poignant story about a young girl forced to step into the adult world. Click here to read.

The Infallible Business

Sangeetha G tells a story set in a post-pandemic scenario. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Robin S. Ngangom’s My Invented Land: New and Selected Poems. Click here to read.

An excerpt from Vikas Prakash Joshi’s My Name is Cinnamon. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Aruna Chakravarti reviews Bornali Datta’s In A Better Place: A Doctor’s Journey. Click here to read.

Somdatta Mandal reviews Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna’s Journey, translated from Marathi by Deepra Dandekar. Click here to read.

Basudhara Roy reviews Robin Ngangom’s My Invented Land: New and Selected Poems. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews S.Irfan Habib’s Maulana Azad – A Life. Click here to read.


Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

Click here to access Monalisa No Longer Smiles on Kindle Amazon International



Art by Pragya Bajpai

Imagine a world without wars, without divisions, where art forms flow into each other and we live by the African concept of Ubuntu — I am because you are’ — sounds idyllic. But this is the month of March, of poetry, of getting in touch with the Dionysian elements in ourselves. And as we have said earlier in the introduction of Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World, what could be a better spot to let loose this insanity of utopian dreams than Borderless Journal!

Having completed three years of our Earthly existence on the 14th of March, we celebrate this month with poetry and writing that crosses boundaries — about films, literature and more. This month in the Festival of Letters or Sahityaotsav 2023, organised by the Sahitya Akademi, films were discussed in conjunction with literature. Ratnottama Sengupta, who attended and participated in a number of these sessions, has given us an essay to show how deep run the lyrics of Bollywood films, where her father, Nabendu Ghosh, scripted legends. It is Ghosh’s birth month too and we carry a translation from his Bengali autobiography which reflects how businessmen drew borders on what sells… After reading the excerpt from Nabendu’s narrative translated by Dipankar Ghosh and post-scripted by Sengupta, one wonders if such lines should ever have been drawn?

Questioning borders of a different kind, we have another piece of a real-life narrative on a Japanese Soldier, Uehara. Written by an Assamese writer called Kamaleswar Barua, it has been translated and introduced by Bikash K. Bhattacharya. The story focusses on a soldier’s narrative at his death bed in an alien land. We are left wondering how his need for love and a home is any different from that of any one of ours? Who are the enemies — the soldiers who die away from their homes? What are wars about? Can people live in peace? They seemed to do so in Kurigram, a land that has faded as suggests the poem by Masud Khan, brought to us in translation from Bangla by Professor Fakrul Alam, though in reality, the area exists. Perhaps, it has changed… as does wood exposed to a bonfire, which has been the subject of a self-translated Korean poem by Ihlwha Choi. Tagore’s poem, Borondala translated as ‘Basket of Offerings’, has the last say: “Just as the stars glimmer / With light in the dark night, / A spark awakens within/ My body. / This luminosity illuminates / All my work.” And perhaps, it is this luminosity that will also help us find our ideal world and move towards it, at least with words.

This is the poetry month, and we celebrate poetry in different ways. We have an interview with poet Heidi North by Keith Lyons.  She has shared a poem that as Bijan Najdi said makes one “feel a burning sensation in …[the]… fingertips without touching the fire”. It flows with some home truths put forward with poignancy. We have poetry by Michael R Burch, Kirpal Singh, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, Amit Parmessur, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, George Freek, Sanket Mhatre, Asad Latif and Rhys Hughes. While Burch celebrates spring in his poetry, Parmessur explores history and Hughes evokes laughter as usual which spills into his column on Indian Pale Ale. Devraj Singh Kalsi has written of simian surprises he has had — and, sadly for him, our reaction is to laugh at his woes. Meredith Stephens takes us on a sailing adventure to Nouméa and Ravi Shankar explores Aruba with photographs and words. Suzanne Kamata shows how Japanese curry can actually be a multicultural binder. Prithvijeet Sinha links the legends of artist MF Hussain and Mother Teresa while Paul Mirabile explores the stylistic marvels of James Joyce in his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a very literary piece.

We have a book review by Aruna Chakravarti of Bornali Datta’s In A Better Place: A Doctor’s Journey, a book that is set amidst immigrants and takes up certain social issues. Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna’s Journey, translated from Marathi by Deepra Dandekar, one of the oldest Indian novels has been discussed by Somdatta Mandal.  Bhaskar Parichha has told us about S.Irfan Habib’s Maulana Azad – A Life. Basudhara Roy has brought out the simplicity and elegance of Robin Ngangom’s My Invented Land: New and Selected Poems. He writes in the title poem that his home “has no boundaries. / At cockcrow one day it found itself/ inside a country to its west,/ (on rainy days it dreams looking east/ when its seditionists fight to liberate it from truth.)”. We also carry an excerpt from his book. Stories by Jessie Michael, Brindley Hallam Dennis, Sangeetha G and Shubhangi bring flavours of diversity in this issue.

Our journey has been a short one — three years is a short span. But, with goodwill from all our readers and contributors, we are starting to crawl towards adulthood. I thank you all as caregivers of Borderless Journal as I do my fabulous team and the artists who leave me astounded at their ability to paint and write — Sohana Manzoor, Gita Vishwanath and Pragya Bajpai.

Thank you all.

Looking forward to the next year, I invite you to savour Borderless Journal, March 2023, where more than the treasures mentioned here lie concealed.

Mitali Chakravarty

Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

Click here to access Monalisa No Longer Smiles on Kindle Amazon International


Three Poems by Sanket Mhatre

Sanket Mhatre
We roister when a word bursts into a million atoms 
Each atom carrying the ink of thousand suns 
from one infinity to the next 
through blood streams 
We gyrate when we find the skin of our nuances 
melting into history’s conscious 
We revel secretly when the universe whispers a dark truth  
A firecracker erupting in our bones
For hours, we keep tying and untying tributaries of time
disentangling one soul from the next 
until we catch our dragonfly tailing past in alphabets 
tie them together with uneven hooks 
of kaanas and maatras, rhasvas and dirghas *
in a string of verses that light up against the evening sky 
Them blinking: a language of the unspoken
We gambol on discovering the lost sheets of an age
as we raise a toast to an empty labyrinth of chairs 
when a poem gets published, unexpectedly  
Like an accidental child or
a rocket dying a fragmented death 
by morphing into countless crackers that sends ripples
through the Prussian sky
We celebrate the festivals of our mind 
unknown to any calendar
uncharted by any astrologer

*different accents in Indian languages highlighting pronunciations

Light loses its equation on discovering the orifice
Yellow multiplies yellow, sprawls like an overnight rainforest
The amorphous supplicating the symmetry 
A beat erases from the history of her moment
Chest convulses under a string of lost screams
As if, an Atlantis was stolen overnight
-        She still doesn’t know the misery of her departure
Meanwhile, her face turns brighter
A wooden cottage caught in the web of sunlight
A chaparral waking up or -
a desert closing its eyes
while luminescence finds meaning
in its own circle
behind her


Fear is... 
            ...a shooting star from the deep 
            ink of unwritten possibilities

            ...a nagging piece of bulb that 
            blinks in an unilluminated sky

Fear is...
           ...a faint smile of pink 
              on a weary face with broken 
              eyes that forgot to forgive

           ...a sneering bastard that 
          gesticulates at the flesh 
          of your heart even when it is dripping, tense 

Fear is...
          a gash on the skin of hope
          a glitch on the contours of time 

Fear is... 
            a poem written in the underbelly 
            of two thoughts in a bid to slay

before it rebirths 
an unwanted child 

Sanket Mhatre has been featured at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival and Glass House Poetry Festival. His first book of cross-translated poems, The Coordinates Of Us won the prestigious Raza Foundation Grant after been shortlisted at iWrite2020 at Jaipur Literature Festival. Sanket’s poems have appeared in multiple anthologies such as Shape Of A Poem, The Well Earned, Home Anthology by Brown Critique, Poetry Conclave Yearbook as well as literary magazines such as Punch, Borderless, Muse India, Madras Courier, The Usawa Literary Review, Men Matters Online, Anthology by Querencia Press and many others.   


Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles


Twenty-One Days Later

By Sanket Mhatre

At the airport 

The ban has been lifted

Doors open. The first travellers are ushered 

The click of check-ins. 

Trolleys scramble, without any distance.  


I am waiting for you.

There’s one voice. Then another. Followed by many. Till there’s cacophony. 

Sign: The world has returned to normal. 


Counters fly open. Smiles flutter. Scarves swing into action. 

Luggage belts start with a thud. Leather rubs against leather. 

Gucci against Desi* against plastic without the fear of isolating. 


I am waiting for you. 

Food stalls open. There are complimentary desserts for the first travellers.


Air is sprayed with lavender fresheners. I think of you. Lavender is closer to mauve. Mauve is you. 

Outside, a plane takes off.   

I think of your eyes. What will your eyes think of this? 

Would they search and find me? Would I have to find them?   

Another thought surfaces: where are we flying? Where? 

I am still waiting for you.  

I have kept my face unshaven. Messy hair.  

I have removed the extra grey. Just because it’s grey. 

The world has passed through enough grey. No more grey now. 


You arrive at a distance. And stop. 

 Our eyes don’t have to search for too long. We placed ourselves well within our sight. 

 Your bags drop. A corner of your lip quivers with truth and remembrance. 

 You are wearing mauve. 

  I greet you as several planes take off in the distance. 

 “Where to?” I ask.

 “To each other,” You say. 

  Twenty One Days dissolve in an embrace. 

  And countless poems. 


Here, I am still waiting for you.  

It’s Day One. 

At the airport.


*Desi — of Indian origin

Sanket Mhatre is a well-known bilingual poet writing in English & Marathi. He has curated Crossover Poems. Apart from this, Sanket Mhatre has been invited to read at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Poets Translating Poets, Goa Arts & Literature Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival and Vagdevi Litfest.