Prateep Sengupta

Rookie - 30 Points (14th February / Digboi, Assam, India)

When We Learnt Not To Bow - Poem by Prateep Sengupta

Forty families in each apartment
Seven apartments in the complex,
The houses were mine and yours
The promoter had poetically
Named it Vibgyor.

He lived in one of the flats,
We all avoided him
Not because he came from the suburbs
But that he wished to be intimate,
He bothered for a social life.

He was our neighbour,
Many of us did not know
Each other's name
But he was known to all
For his efforts to make us live
A well-knit gregarious life.

They were all my neighbours
Many of us did not know
One another's name
But we knew the faces
And whenever we met on the approach road
Casual smile of acquaintance
On our lips gestured.

"I hoped nothing will happen to me"
This hope deluded me and all my neighbours
But he said it was time for collective act
Lest danger strikes any of us.
None of us actually bothered
Till, for no fault,
One neighbour was killed.
It was dusk and he was about to enter inside Vibgyor
When from our residential flats
We heard the sound of the blast
But none dared,
Either to go out a few steps
Nor opened the windows.
The fact that a neighbour was murdered
Reached us at night
When we were surfing the net.
It was among the trivial news indeed
There were global and national headlines
Recession in USA,
Hillary Clinton's visit, Taliban terror strike,
Rupee sliding to dollar and fuel price hike.

It barely made us to think of protest.
Though he came again
Calling each of us at night
That something must be done.
Most of us refused even to open our doors
Though internet widened the global horizon
Our minds narrowed and
Doors were shut for neighbours.

The eunuch in each of us
Reminded of our own safety
And we all refused to sing
To his scheme of collective protest and resistance.
The murder of a neighbour barely made us feel
The danger that ahead waited
For all of us.

The only man from the suburban life
Who tried to awaken in us
The sense of a social life and
The need of a collective fight
Was also killed three days after.
Internet was once again to reveal
Why was he killed,
We mourned but felt relaxed too
Nobody would now try to awaken in us
The need of a united fight against a force
Which for all is the common evil.

Hardly a week lapsed
In broad daylight our apartments were attacked
Loot and arson, bombs and gunshots
Our residential colony turned to a battle field
When finally with our back on the wall and nowhere to go
We learnt to stand by one another in the perilous hour
To jointly fight back the evil and never to bow.

Poet's Notes about The Poem

In most of the metropolis and big cities, the social life has changed as also the values. The poem above is based on some scattered experiences of such life, its curses and its failure to combat the common dangers collectively.

Comments about When We Learnt Not To Bow by Prateep Sengupta

  • (6/9/2012 1:57:00 PM)

    It is life in danger, it is life in so many lethal circumstances, I curse the day things came to be how they were, this Is something happening the whole world, big cities and some communities being exposed to so much harm, wonderful reflectional write,

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  • Neela Nath Das (5/23/2012 10:27:00 AM)

    Very true.We are now like islands.Selfish, busy doing our own work.We forgot that society was formed to fight against the oddities of life.Nice write. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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