Categories
Index

Borderless July, 2021

Editorial

Reach for the Stars… Click here to read.

Interviews

In conversation with an American poet, Jared Carter, who has received multiple encomiums like the Walt Whitman Award, the Poets’ Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship and much more. He tells us of his life and how he writes a poem. Click here to read.

In conversation with eminent academic and translator, Radha Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Translations

Two songs by Tagore written originally in Brajabuli, a literary language developed essentially for poetry, has been translated by Radha Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Balochi poetry of Akbar Barakzai translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Korean Poetry written and translated to English by Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read.

Poetry in Bosnian from Bosnia & Herzegovina, written and translated by Maid Corbic. Click here to read.

Translation of ‘Dushomoy’ by Tagore, from Bengali to English by Mitali Chakravarty on behalf of Borderless Journal. Click here to read and listen to Tagore’s voice recite his poem in Bengali.

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Suzanne Kamata, Lorraine Caputo, Rhys Hughes, Kinjal Sethia, Emalisa Rose, Shahriyer Hossain Shetu, John Herlihy, Reena R, Mitra Samal, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Shubham Raj, George Freek, Marc Nair, Michael R Burch, Jay Nicholls, Jared Carter

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In The Scottish Homer: William McGonagall, Rhys Hughes assays into the times of this bard known as the best of worst poets! Click here to read.

Nature’s Musings

Penny Wilkes takes us Down the Path of Nostalgia with a mix of old and new photography and prose and poetry on how a decade after the end of the Second World War, she started her love affair with photography and nature. Click here to read

Musings/Slices from Life

Summer Studio

Jared Carter writes of a childhood in mid-twentieth century America. Click here to read.

Three Men at the Lalbagh Fort

Marjuque-ul-Haque explores Mughal Lalbagh fort left unfinished in Dhaka, a fort where armies were said to disappear during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Click here to read.

A Stroll through Kolkata’s Iconic Maidan

Nishi Pulugurtha journeys with her camera on the famed grounds near Fort William, a major historic site in Kolkata. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Managing Bookshelves, Devraj Singh Kalsi cogitates with wry humour while arranging his book shelves. Click here to read.

Adventures of the Backpacking Granny

Sybil Pretious concludes her adventures this round with a fabulous trip to Generous Indonesia, a country with kind people, islands and ancient volcanoes. Click here to read.

Essays

Peace: Is it Even Possible?

Candice Lousia Daquin explores war and peace through history. Is peace possible? Click here to read.

Corona & the Police

Subhankar Dutta reflects on the role the police has taken in a pandemic torn world. Click here to read.

A Prison of Our Own Making

Keith Lyons gives us a brief essay on how we can find freedom. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Richard Hughes: The Reporter Who Inspired Ian Fleming, Bhaskar Parichha showcases a journalist who wrote globally, spicing it up with humour. Click here to read.

Stories

Flash Fiction: Horizon

Tan Kaiyi evokes the spirit of the Singapore National Day amidst the darkness of spread by a deadly virulence. Click here to read.

Flash Fiction: Ice Storm

Niles Reddick tells a weatherman’s story with a twist of humour. Click here to read.

Mr Roy’s Obsession

Swagato Chakraborty spins a weird tale about an obsession. Click here to read.

Magnum Opus

Ahsan Rajib Ananda shows what rivalries in creative arts can do. Click here to read.

Adoption

A poignant real life story by Jeanie Kortum on adopting a child. Click here to read

The Literary Fictionist

In Scarecrow, Sunil Sharma explores urban paranoia. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

The Parrot’s Tale, excerpted from Rabindranth Tagore. The Land of Cards: Stories, Poems and Plays for Children, translated by Radha Chakravarty, with a foreword from Mahasweta Devi. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

A Sense of Time by Anuradha Kumar reviewed by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read.

Murder in Daisy Apartments by Shabnam Minwalla reviewed by Gracy Samjetsabam. Click here to read.

The Third Eye of Governance–Rise of Populism, Decline in Social Research by Dr N Bhaskara Rao reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.

A Special Tribute

Dilip Kumar: Kohinoor-e-Hind

In a tribute to Bollywood legend Dileep Kumar,  Ratnottama Sengupta, one of India’s most iconic arts journalists, 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.

Categories
Stories

Mr Roy’s Obsession

By Swagato Chakraborty

I knew about Mr. Roy’s obsession, ever since that day on the beach. We were out to attend a meeting, and at the end of the day we decided to unwind at the beach. In the dying light of the day when the horizons of sky and the land unite in the distance, I saw Mr. Roy suddenly rushing into the sea. He lowered himself in the water and stopped for a moment, before thrusting his hands in it. After a second or two, he pulled out his hand holding a fish.

The whole thing happened so swiftly that it left me flabbergasted.

“Mr. Roy,” I said. “What are you doing?!”

He looked at me with a riant smile on his face and said “Look!”

I looked at the fish. It was wriggling in his hands, struggling, grasping for breath.

“What about it?”

Mr. Roy pointed me to stop. He ran his finger along the spine of the fish. Then, not giving me any time to prepare, started to dig out the flesh with his bare hands. I saw the fish wriggle out once and then fall limp, but it did not stop Roy. Soon, he had finished his work and triumphantly held the fish bone in front of me.

“What is going on?” I asked, bewildered.

“Well,” he explained demurely, tucking the bone in his pocket. “This is my hobby.”

On the train back the same day, I came to know more about Mr Roy’s ‘hobby’. It seems some time ago, at lunch, he had been served a preparation of hilsa fish. While savouring it, a bone stuck in his throat. Rather than trying to get it out or be frustrated, Mr Roy was enamoured of the situation. Since then, he had started collecting fish bones.

“So, you are interested in ichthyology?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “This is just a hobby.”

 However, by the way in which he described the incident, it seemed to me more like an obsession than a hobby.

Some days passed and I forgot all about the incident. One evening, while preparing to leave work for the day, Mr. Roy asked if he could walk with me to the station. He wanted to head to the general store, and it was on the way. I agreed.

It had begun to drizzle by the time we were on the street.

“What do you make of the weather?” I asked looking above.

“Fine!” He said, “Good for fishes.”

“Yeah, I too like –” He did not let me finish. Mr. Roy ran to the nearby bin. A cat was trying to look inside but Roy gave such a squeal, that the feline ran for its life. Roy put his head inside the bin and then stretching his hand inside, retrieved a fish bone.

“A pomfret bone,” he said. “The cat was about to run away with it.”

“Mr. Roy what–”

“I am sorry,” he declared, “I need to store the bone safely in my home now.” And he left me dumbfounded on the street.

A month later on a busy day at work, a parcel bearing the name of Mr. Roy arrived in the office. It was a large box and piqued the interest of more than one of us colleagues. We kept guessing what could it possibly contain – books, computer parts, perhaps a new juicer-mixer? When Roy arrived, we surrounded him with questions about the parcel.

Pleased, Mr. Roy gathered us around his table and unsealed the box with a paper-cutter.

Immediately, a putrid smell engulfed the room.

Inside the box, wrapped in a plastic bag, were dead fish. A few of them were in skeletal form, but most of them were in a state of rot.

Mr. Roy seemed happy and remarked “Just as I wanted them.”

Mr. Roy’s obsession with fish bones had another aspect. When one day he called in sick, I was given the task to deliver some important files to him.

Roy thanked me for my help and invited me in.

“You know,” he said. “I am not sick…it is just an excuse.”

“Oh!” I exclaimed, intrigued. “Do tell what the real reason is.”

He told me to wait and retreated into his kitchen. It was then that I got a chance to look properly at the walls. On each wall, in a series, were framed fish bones of all shapes and sizes.

“Hey!” Mr. Roy called me from behind “I see you have discovered my collection.”

“What is all this?” I asked.

“Well,” He said demurely “Just my hobby. Anyways, here is why I called in sick.”

He placed a large tray on the table. In it was a large, half skeletal fish. Beside it were several tools – scalpel, forceps, knife, a fork, and a small motor drill. Then, with great enthusiasm, Mr. Roy explained to me why he needed them. Apparently, just any fish bone was not sufficient for him. He needed to replicate the same bone that stuck in his throat on that fateful afternoon. Equipped with these tools, he first retrieved and then shaped the fish skeleton, to make it into a skeleton of the fish that held his desired bone. Any fish bones that failed to achieve this form would be thrown out without consideration. “They are vile and useless,” he explained.

“I have a lot of dealers,” he said. “Who give me a steady supply of fish-bones.”

“Why do it at all?” I asked.

He fell silent for a moment and then said “I don’t know. Perhaps because that primal bone was the best of all.”

“Huh?”

“That bone” He whispered “Was superior bone. All others are inferior.”

How can there be a ‘superior’ and an ‘inferior’ fish bone I could not figure out. I did not know what he meant and neither did I wanted to know.

Shortly after this bewildering visit, Roy left town to attend a meeting. It was on a hot afternoon that we received the word that Mr. Roy was dead. Apparently, he had died from choking.

The official report was that they found him dead in his hotel room. He had swallowed a fish bone, which the authorities thought was intentional, given that no trace of any other fish or food material was found in the room. In his belongings was found some medical equipment – scalpel, forceps, knife – strange things to be discovered in an office worker’s suitcase.

Mr. Roy had found his perfect fish bone. The same ‘superior’ fish bone from the afternoon. However, it cost him his life, much like all those fish. At the end, Mr. Roy, the fishes, and the ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ fish bones, were all equated the as same at the sunset of their lives.

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Swagato Chakraborty is an undergraduate student from Kolkata, India. He is currently pursuing a BA degree in English Literature and has had a nag for writing since childhood. His work has been published in Aphelion Webzine. 

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