NEW DELHI: A new collection of short fiction by women writers explores how life in the subcontinent is so unerringly uniform and identical that it is difficult to draw lines.
The sufferings and celebrations of humdrum life are so unmistakably similar across the region that the political divisions and the harshness of borders seem unreal.
Short stories by several prominent and upcoming writers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are featured in the latest edition of The Equator Line magazine.
Life, playing out in the narrow lanes of Karachi, Lahore's elite milieu, small-town India and the cyclone-swept coastal Bangladesh, has a single focal point - simple men and women struggling hard to make an unjust arrangement a little more bearable, the editorial says.
Human situation gets replicated but really alters.
It is one whole narrative being spun all across the subcontinent to absorb a long range of emotions and aspirations typifying the region.
The Indian authors featured in this issue are Meghna Pant (The Oleander Girl) and Neeru Iyer (Falling Stars).
Works of Pakistani writers dominate the edition - Sabyn Javeri (The Date), Nwa Abbas Rizvi (Life in Fog), Sheba Taraz (The Talking Tree), Zoya Anwer (The Missing Man), Arooha Hijazi (Another Man & The Ghost's Voice) and Firyal Kauser Soomro (The Morning Resolution).
Noted Bangladeshi author Selina Hossain has contributed a story titled The Cyclone Survivor.
There is also a chapter The Sublime and the Street, which has paintings by Dua Abbas Rizvi.
Women in Dua's paintings are conveyors of ideas, viewpoints and seeds for rain.
For her, rain, seeds and radicalism as ideas are close, almost merging into each other.
Another common thread in these stories is the struggle of women.
"What really comes as a surprise is the empathy you feel for the women in these stories no matter where they are. You share a common cause with them, feeling their predicament and emotions.
In a moment like this, borders fade away, political divisions seem an artificial construct, writes Bhaskar Roy in the editorial.
He adds that with their courage and suffering, the women wipe out the imposed and unreal divisions.