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Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan

(October 22,1972 / Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India)

Wind in the Afternoon


An assault of cabbage leaves on the pavement
Tries vainly to cover up the manholes;
Splattered egg yolk on the serrated kerb:
Two men look from the window. Wind blows.

A young girl throws a loose bundle
Of waste material from the upper balcony -
The red one is an empty tea carton;
And anything spongy white, thin and long
Could be a woman's sanitary napkin.
            I said, maybe!

More winds; howlings; frightened cows scurrying.
Unseasonal winds might lead to Sandstorm.
SAND STORM! You must close that window now, dear friends!

The empty tea carton rises in the air.
The two men watch it pass by, silently -
Shall it reach the balcony? the gable? roof top?

They are n-o-w closing the window.
They have shut it at last! Never mind!

The tea carton fails to reach the roof top.
The wind smells of cabbage soup.
No howling. No face in the window.


They must've had a glimpse of the stray dog
Nibbling nervously at the stained sanitary napkin.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, October 08, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I was looking out my window into the street when a dust storm was rising. Suddenly I saw my neighbour's daughter throw a paper packet into the roadside dust bin. The packet burst open after hitting the ground and I <em>think</em> I saw a crumpled sanitary napkin pop out of its content. That scene brought over me a deeply spiritual experience. The ideas that came to my mind I have described in the poem with the help of symbols.


The two men behind the window represent the majority of mankind who are afraid of taking part in the world's affairs, and are unsure of their own manhood. Instead of looking directly at the lovely young girl on the balcony, they vaguely follow the movements of the empty tea carton. The tea carton symbolizes 'vague hope' that has no direction.

The balcony, gable and rooftop symbolically represent the three higher Chakras (spiritual energy centres) Anahata, Vishuddha and Ajna in the human body as per Yoga philosophy. Instead of the sexual desire or spiritual aspirations of the two men getting sublimated at Ajna or Sahasrara Chakra, it peters out into worldly distractions.

Winds and 'howlings' represent public opinion and peer pressure, cabbage leaves represent old decadent ideas (sub-conscious mind) and man-hole represents one's own consciousness. The young girl represents noble human aspiration or a desire for Samādhi, while the sanitary napkin represents base sexual desire, which draws away human aspiration from sublime goals.

In the final stanza of the poem, the two men have abandoned their aspirations, as base desires have taken over in the form of vicarious pleasure of other people (stray dogs) .

Comments about this poem (Wind in the Afternoon by Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan )

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  • Yash Shinde (3/17/2014 12:02:00 PM)

    ....very interesting....somehow a deep poem...which requires you to read between the lines.......an incident, beautifully, n a bit humorously described....great wrk... (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (11/11/2013 9:39:00 AM)

    A very interesting poem indeed Dr. Pradham. Your observation of some of
    the things that happens in life is full of details. Your poem has a lot of sense
    of humor in it. But underneath it all there lies a truth in the human existence
    and its downfall. Another womans trash is another mans treasure. (smile) .
    Enjoyed this write. (Report) Reply

  • Sarah Jones (9/3/2013 10:30:00 PM)

    The poem made me think. rather disturbed me a lot. More than poem, I read notes given by the poet. Symbolism behind poem is extraordinary. It is almost a spiritual poem (?) although describes mundane things like tea cartons and that thing.... (Report) Reply

  • Prem Surya Kumar (8/21/2013 11:34:00 AM)

    Superbly crafted poem. Loved the poet's comments on the symbolism and the imagery. Surprising to see the poem has hidden meaning in yoga theory. I do not understand yoga. But poem in itself is quite captivating and extremely original. From first line to last, poem creates suspense. Ending surprising and unpredictable. Poet is able to compose a poem out of a stained sanitary napkin! Hats off, Dr! ! (Report) Reply

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