A note on Urban Body : entrapments & releases

70 years after freedom, India is clearly an important part of the global development paradigm. The trajectory is gradually but surely moving, tending towards an universalized architecture of  urbanity.  Yet pathways to future seems to be determined but not self -determined. The position of liberties which freedom offers are constantly evolving through a continuous discourse amongst diverse forces.

The urban spaces meanwhile are mangled, chaotic, polluted, dystopian – much an result of sudden influxes and accidental growth rather than of planned development – merely factories and supermarkets of bodies in motion – plugged effectively to a matrix which is centralized and oriented towards productivity.

Urbanity – symbolic of progress is also the colonization of the body, mind & soul. It is the desecration of the soul, deconstruction of the body and remolding of culture. 70 years after independence the urban body is entrapped, colonized, by powers which are invisible yet more efficient.

Hence we look at writings which examines this entrapment and the quest for release – to liberate.   Writings which helps us to negotiate, envision and determine  – to love , to live and progress as individuals & as a collective, in and from – this urban dystopia.

Here we publish poems by Dr. Srimanta Das from the series of writings.

The Crisis

The long work hours

And the silent wife at home.

Tears flow down

The cheeks of an unborn child.

Alone in the smoky dim light

That flickers,

I wait

For time that never comes.

Camaraderie with mates

Is arduous at best.

The foggy sky is dark at noon

But it never rains.

The light goes off at ten,

While candles speak of

Unpaid bills.

Torn bed sheets cover

The quarrels of the night,

The unpaid attention,

The lost vision of a child’s tears.

The gazing begins.

Deep inside the dread gnaws

As I wait for the rise.


After the Rain

Under the rain washed sky

The race begins.

After a brief pause

And a frail spell of rain.

Man’s temporary break,

Nature’s meagre allowance.

The city clock reminds

With a whistle.

Its time!

Rain’s no more!

It has died a premature death,

Much to the city’s relief.

Its time

To move on.


The Games We Play

In a game I feed the snake

Till it grows to kill itself.

In another, it bites me at sixty nine

And sends me back to two.

The bus moves on


There is a point earned

For every signal he breaks.

While Death smirks,

Busy minding his own business.

In him my hopes lie as I watch

My pawns dying in a game of chess.

The Queen survives.

My trembling fingers

Conjure a poem.

It comes from nowhere.

Soon it will die,

In the absence of paper.

I move again,

Climbing the ladder,

To thirty three.

Shall I throw

The dice again?

The Queen is alive in another game.


The Relief

The zero power lamp

And a host of doubts.

Fear gnaws in every bone and, of course,

In the act of undressing,

There are hundred questions.

The alcohol I drink is cheap,

The cigarette smoke weed.

Together they destroy and create

An illusion of desire.

The moment flickers

But continues…and then ends.

Home seems a long way,

In the absence of my bike…

I lost it on my way to glory.

An illusion, of course,

Built of hopes from a dingy alley.

I lost it as I bled on her bed.

I walk.

And on the riverside

I see myself

Hopelessly mutilated.

I smile and walk away.

About the Author


Dr. Srimanta Das (32+) is currently associated with Haldia Government College, Haldia, West Bengal, India, as Assistant Professor in the Department of English. He has completed his Ph. D in English Literature, his area of research being Masculinity in Late Nineteenth Century British Fiction. His current research interests include Gender Studies and Ecocriticism.

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