Borderless, May 2023

Art by Sohana Manzoor


Dancing in May? … Click here to read.


Aparichita by Tagore has been translated from Bengali as The Stranger by Aruna Chakravarti. Click here to read.

The Kabbadi Player, a short story by the late Nadir Ali, has been translated from Punjabi by Amna Ali. Click here to read.

Carnival Time by Masud Khan has been translated from the Bengali poem by Fakrul Alam. Click here to read.

Desolation, a poem by Munir Momin, has been translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Loneliness, a poem, has been translated from Korean to English by the poet himself, Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read

Jonmodiner Gaan or Birthday Song by Tagore has been translated by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.


A conversation with Mitra Phukan about her latest novel, What Will People Say? A Novel along with a brief introduction to the book. Click here to read.

Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri converses with Prerna Gill on her poetry and her new book of poetry, Meanwhile. Click here to read.


Click on the names to read the poems

Michael Burch, Lakshmi Kannan, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Shahriyer Hossain Shetu, Peter Cashorali, K.V. Raghupathi, Wilda Morris, Ashok Suri, William Miller, Khayma Balakrishnan, Md Mujib Ullah, Urmi Chakravorty, Sreekanth Kopuri, Rhys Hughes

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In What I Thought I Knew About India When I was Young, Rhys Hughes travels back to his childhood with a soupçon of humour. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

A Towering Inferno, A Girl-next-door & the Big City

Ratnottama Sengupta writes of actress Jaya Bachchan recounting her first day on the sets of Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar. Click here to read.

Kissed on Kangaroo Island

Meredith Stephens travels with her camera and her narrative to capture the flora and fauna of the island. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In The Reader, Devraj Singh Kalsi revisits his experiences at school. Click here to read.

Notes from Japan

In Making Chop Suey in South Carolina, Suzanne Kamata recaptures a flavour from her past. Click here to read.


Rabindranath’s Monsoonal Music

Professor Fakrul Alam brings to us Tagore songs in translation and in discussion on the season that follows the scorching heat of summer months. Click here to read.

A Night Hike in Nepal

Ravi Shankar hikes uphill in Nepal on a wet and rainy night along with leeches and water buffaloes. Click here to read.

Moving Images of Tagore

Ratnottama Sengupta talks of Tagore and cinema. Click here to read.



Julian Gallo explores addiction. Click here to read.

The Whirlpool

Abdullah Rayhan takes us back to a village in Bangladesh to give a poignant story about a young boy who dreamt of hunting. Click here to read.

Look but with Love

Sreelekha Chatterjee writes a story set in the world of media. Click here to read.

The Mysterious Murder of Adamov Plut

A globe-trotting murder mystery by Paul Mirabile, a sequel to his last month’s story, ‘The Book Hunter’. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Aruna Chakravarti’s Daughter’s of Jorasanko describing the last birthday celebration of Tagore. Click here to read.

An excerpt from Bhubaneswar@75 – Perspectives, edited by Bhaskar Parichha/ Charudutta Panigrahi. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Meenakshi Malhotra revisits Tagore’s Farewell Song, translated from Bengali by Radha Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Somdatta Mandal reviews KR Meera’s Jezebel translated from Malayalam by Abhirami Girija Sriram and K. S. Bijukumar. Click here to read.

Lakshmi Kannan has reviewed Jaydeep Sarangi’s collection of poems, letters in lower case. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Journey After Midnight – A Punjabi Life: From India to Canada by Ujjal Dosanjh. 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

Notes from Japan

Making Chop Suey in South Carolina

By Suzanne Kamata

Courtesy: Creative Commons

In her heyday, my mother was a full-time homemaker, and an excellent cook and baker. She managed to have lunch and dinner on the table at the exact time every day, and there was always a homemade dessert. She followed recipes closely, something that I also have a tendency to do, which irritates my freewheeling husband. Mom had a box crammed with recipes handwritten on three by five cards, and a shelf of cookbooks, many of which were community compilations filled with recipes by the members of various churches she and my grandmother had attended. Occasionally, she made alterations which became notations in the margins: “Only half a teaspoon of sugar.” “Omit garlic.”

Several years ago, my mother, now in her eighties, lost her ability to follow a recipe. Although she can handle making a sandwich or opening and heating a can of mixed vegetables, she no longer makes meals. That task has fallen mainly to my father, but on my annual trips home from Japan, where I now live, I try to help out. On my most recent visit, I made a meat loaf using the recipe that my mother used exclusively, which calls for evaporated milk, chopped onions and peppers; Japanese-style curry and rice; and macaroni and cheese. I asked my dad what else he might have a craving for. He said “chop suey.”

When I was a kid in 1970s Michigan, chop suey was one of my favorite dishes, but I hadn’t had it in ages. Last I recall, Mom had made it when my Japanese husband had accompanied me on a visit. Her version called for chunks of pork, bean sprouts, and celery with some kind of sauce. This mixture was layered over rice and topped with crunchy chow mein noodles. I knew that it wasn’t authentic Asian cuisine, that it was more of an interpretation for Americans. But the dish still conjures memories of my childhood, those days of riding bikes and climbing trees until dusk, of no homework, and ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ on our black and white TV.

“Okay,” I told my dad. “I’ll make it.” I turned to my mother and asked her where the recipe was. Although she can’t cook, she remembers in exactly which cookbook certain recipes are located. But this time she said, “There’s no recipe. It’s in my head.” But she couldn’t tell me how to make it.

I turned to the internet and learned that chop suey had been all the rage in the 1950s, and that every American housewife had had her own way of making it. Some used chicken, some added snow peas and baby corn, but I remember my mother’s as being totally brown. She had never added anything green or any other color. The sauces were slightly different, too, calling for oyster sauce in one case, soy with dark molasses in another.

I went back to my mother’s cookbooks to see what I could find. Finally, I came across a recipe in a community cookbook produced by a Methodist women’s group at the church we had attended in Grand Haven, Michigan, when I was a child, before we moved to South Carolina. It was annotated in blue ink: “See p. 78 Good Housekeeping Cookbook.” I couldn’t find the volume in question.

“Maybe you don’t have it any more,” I told my dad.

He shook his head. “It’s there somewhere. She never threw anything away.”

I looked again. Nothing. Even so, the recipe I’d found seemed pretty close to what I recalled. I made a shopping list and headed to Walmart.

The grocery section at the local Walmart had a modern selection of Indian curries and Japanese Pocky sticks and Thai noodles, but I couldn’t find canned bean sprouts or those crunchy chow mein noodles. Was it due to a supply chain issue? Or maybe no one produced those ingredients anymore. Maybe, along with chipped beef on toast, chop suey was a relic of the past. Disheartened, I scoured the rows of raw vegetables; still, no luck.

As a last resort, I made a stop at Food Lion, which also had an international foods isle, heavy on the Mexican. Lo and behold, they stocked a few cans of bean sprouts and a bag or two of those crunchy La Choy noodles from my past!

Back home, after sleuthing around the shelf a bit more, I came across a thick old cookbook which had lost its cover. It turned out to be the Good Housekeeping Cookbook. Some of the pages had fallen out, and been tucked back in. I immediately turned to page 78 and found a recipe for “California Chop Suey” with further annotations.

My South Carolina version was a combination of the one found in the Methodist church community cookbook and the Good Housekeeping version. I had substituted fresh chopped celery and onions, and a can each of mushrooms, beans sprouts and water chestnuts, for the “canned oriental vegetables.”

Due to a variety of dietary restrictions, real or imagined, my mother declined to partake. She did peer into the pot and declare my concoction watery, but I didn’t want to add more cornstarch. I hefted the pot onto the table, along with the rice I’d cooked, and a bag of those crispy chow mein noodles. My dad had made salads.

We heaped our plates with rice, then ladled chop suey on top. Lastly, we sprinkled some of those chow mein noodles over the mounds.

Dad dug in with a spoon. “Mmmm! Good!”

I thought it had turned out pretty well, too. Maybe that chop suey wasn’t authentically Chinese, or any other Asian country’s dish, but it hinted at a flavour that resonated more deeply. My tongue recognised that chop suey as the taste of Mom.

Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She now lives in Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival, and winner of a SCBWI Magazine Merit Award.


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

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


Pandemic and more…

By Melissa A Chappell


Do you remember,
as the alarm bells were crying,
how we were silent in the sun,
our blood roiling red with the ruins of the sun.
Do you remember,
as the warnings were rising,
how we once lowered the moon
till it lay pale on our backs.
Do you remember,
as the virus spread across the world,
how once we curled, small, like a fiddlehead fern,
forgetting everything,
forgetting everything.
 I Walked Out

I walked out on a Sabbath day
into these woods that I have called my own.
In praise the poplars bare branches raise
In this their silvered wintry home.

I looked out over the crest of the hill,
to see, where, as a child, I wandered wild,
down to the now songless rill,
where the mysterious gray dusk once beguiled.

Laying my claim, here I call down my preening pride,
for I know that to me nothing has ever belonged.
Just the same, you were never mine.
For all that is dwells where the Lord’s graces throng.

I walked out--not even my body bore my name.
Empty hands, empty heart, room for all.
My human passions ever tamed,
the empty plenum, brimming with God, brings lauds.

The Cedars

Walk a while with me,

along this borrowed road

where courageous grows

the Queen Anne’s lace.

Let us speak of the

furious star

hurtling through the

door ajar,

our catechisms

and ponderings,


in the roaring

light of day.

Sit a while with me,

beneath yonder poplar tree.

I cast my seed into

the dark furrows

of your yearnings deep.

Perhaps they will

settle quiet

into their loamy rest

at the diffuse dusking

in the lavender west,

readying for the waking,

the cracking of the husk.

Lay a while with me,

on a bed of evergreen boughs.

As I brush the hair from

from your brow,

the gracious breeze will

caress every sense of ours.

Together in the fire struck night,

we die, one to the other,

rising, blessedly more human,

having loved beneath the cedars,

having loved beneath the cedars.

One-Tenth of a Percent

The long awaited DNA results

radiated sundry on my computer screen.

At the bottom of my long and

kaleidescopic lineage, there it was,

as if someone had almost forgotten to link it

to my motley double helix:

“Sudanese, one tenth of a percent.”

One infinitesimal gene, which, excitedly

laying claim to an exotic slice of Africa,

suddenly became a mountain of pride.

Lordly, I passed through my days,

knowing that in my blood ran the ebulliant,

ancient tribal songs and dances of Sudan.

Yet I thought not of a fractured nation,

perishing for an independence

cut out of its mountains and plains,

and the tortured alchemy of

bloodlust, power, and dulled machetes.

The blood of Sudan courses through humanity,

its lament rising from the ancient gene,

the lament of those everywhere who,

facing intolerable danger, flee away,

away to stranger shores, or to the wilderness,

where manna from heaven is only an old story,

where seeds and leaves are the sole food that

the only God they know can offer them.

My one-tenth of a percent was lost in the infinite ocean,

yet finally swam across a sea of plasma to reach

nucleic shores, finding refuge in the improbable

gene pool of a girl so white the sun is blinded by her.

She does not understand the faint, foreign chants

that she sometimes hears in the offing.

Yet one-tenth of a microscopic percent,

real as the blood that wails for justice,

dreams of flowering hills of daffodils,

where the blood soaks silent into the waiting earth.

Melissa A. Chappell is a native of South Carolina, USA. She contentedly resides on land that has been in her family for over 130 years. She has a BA in the Theory of Music and a Master of Divinity degree. Besides writing, she plays several instruments, including the lute. Music and the land are her primary inspirations for her poetry. She has had two chapbooks published: Rivers and Relics (Desert Willow Press)