Skip to main content

Dr. Shalini Mullick’s Stars from the Borderless Sea is a collection of three stories that stands out as an unconventional take on relationships. Peppered with quotes from Rumi, this book is a soulful read. 

What is love? Is it purely physical, or is it emotional? What happens when there is no camaraderie in a marriage? What if a woman seeks companionship outside her relationship? These are the questions that are asked and answered through the eyes of the protagonists as they embark on their journeys of self-discovery. The three stories are Sayonee (soulmate), Humsafar (companion), and Humraaz (confidante). All of them have a common thread running through them. 

The central characters are women, and each one is trapped in a loveless relationship, but with a soulmate outside her marriage that renders her capable of finding happiness. There are plot devices like newspaper articles that link the present with the past, rendering it a certain old-world charm. As the Malai Chai described in one of the stories, one is filled with the warmth and the aroma of nostalgia.

Sayonee is the story of Geetika, an erstwhile royal who is forced to start from scratch when her alcoholic delusional husband dies and leaves her in debt. Her correspondence with Shekar, her collegemate, invigorates her and propels her forward.

They just took in the distance life had put between them; a distance that seemed infinite yet non-existent.

Humsafar is the story of Rachna, a doctor who is in a good space professionally and personally. There was a time when her marriage to Rajat was on the verge of a breakdown, and she had sought comfort from a friend, a fellow doctor. Do the ghosts of the past come back to haunt the present?

Their lovely life. It all felt fragile. Was it a heartbeat away from shattering into a hundred pieces?

Humraaz is the story of Mahima, who endeavors to carve an identity for herself despite her narcissistic jealous husband’s attempts to thwart her. Sanjay, her boss, is the one constant that allows her to grow and blossom.

Wasn’t that typical of all of our habits? Vestiges of the past, which we are too lazy or sentimental to change; we keep repeating them, until they become part of us, without our knowing why.

The protagonists are as real as they get. These women are smart and independent yet trapped in abusive or lonely relationships. Are they flawed? Yes. But at some level, the reader resonates with them and roots for them. It is easy for a reader to judge or ask why they did not walk out, but the answers are not all black and white; they are shades of grey, in a borderless sea.

The language is beautiful, and the pacing is fast. Once you start reading a story, it is unputdownable. The plots are predictable to a degree- you know what is waiting at the end, but the journey in itself, and the growth of the character, are what makes the reading experience one of a kind.

Excited to see what Shalini comes up with next!


Leave a Reply