Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

Reflection, Imitation, Experience

Death of a Poet


‘Never leave your dreams alive’

 I was too little to understand the meaning of these words. I was not a foolish; I understood that my neighbor, Bhabatosh was a promising poet. I had read a few of his poems and found him simply fantastic. He had a unique style of writing in simple language. In my town, a certain dialect is normally used among people; not only in my town, regions nearby the river Subarnarekha, (Border of Orissa and West Bengal) use to communicate in this special tone, A typical mixture of Bengali, Odia and Mahato language. One day, I was playing around and my dad called me, he gave me a small book, ‘Bhabatosh, just gifted me this book, check this out.’ Still I can remember the name of the book was ‘Kurkut’. He gave this language a name, ‘Subarnarekhia Language’. Kurkut was written in Subarnarekhia Language. I finished the book; his poems make the common people more prominent. His poems had simple love, love failure, life, dream and poverty.

“I was walking in the valley, suddenly I found Kamala with a baby, in her lap. Pointing at me, she said to the baby, ‘look, your uncle is here’. I was shocked. There was not a single day; I never thought about her, our decade old love has been turned into a liability by a simple introduction. I could be this baby’s father!”

One of the simplest stories of love failure!

This poem came to me as I have heard such stories many a times. I just joined schools and I was aware about ‘Love’. After dream, love is the next feelings, a human normally understands.

I loved writing poems from my childhood. Like five other Bengali, Rabindranath Tagore, Jibanananda Das, Sukanta had their own kingdom in my personal bookshelf. If life is the longest day, my morning days were truly romantic with them.

Bhabatosh was much older, even older than my father. When anybody sent us posts, normally they mentioned Bhabatosh’s name as the nearest landmark. Bhabatosh became a mandatory part of our address. I thought maybe the postmen of India, knew him. I felt proud of having such well-known person as my neighbor. I never wanted to be Tagore or Das, I wanted to be Bhabatosh!

Maybe, because I was a child and I only understood dreams and love. My dreams started facing the difficulties, when I started understanding the life. Love, has a power, it always focuses on the missing parts of life. Generally I understood, life needs money and I have already discovered that Bhabatosh is a poor person. In any middle class family, ‘poverty’ is the most hated word             .

A Few years later, I got a proposal from our local senior poet society. Yes! In Bengal you can find such societies till now. My town had one, may be more than one, but I got connected with one of them, a restaurant, just near the municipal court. Normally a major customer hour was the office timing, when the court is open and all the people from nearer villages use to have their cheap lunch at that restaurant. The writers’ social timing was after the office hour. When I expressed my wishes to join them, my dad asked me to wait for some more days. I was not in a hurry, I agreed. The next day my dad invited few poets at home. Older people with gray hairs, cheaper dresses… when dad introduced me with them, it was easy for me to call up their names. I read everyone’s poems and I liked them. Dad took permission from them so that I can recite a few poems of mine. They were not pleased but considering my age, they were excited. My dad narrated everything about my wishes, I have expressed to him a day back. They just told me, to focus on writing more and two of them gave me their address so that any time I can contact with them.

It was a golden period of my life; I had my own library with almost 50% share of others’. I use to visit their house and read stories, poems for hours regularly. I was on my fourth diary and suddenly when I read a few poems of my own from older diaries, I realized, those were not so good, in fact disliked those poems. I realized two things. First one was, ‘I need more knowledge on this’ and second one, ‘age and experience are the ultimate things in any art that makes someone perfect everyday’.

Suddenly my focus shifted to perfectness. It was getting more vast and tougher.  I needed a guide. I met Bhabatosh and asked for an appointment. He was very busy, as the election was coming. That day I realized the truth of an artist when I saw a politician was bargaining for a better poem, they can use in an election campaign. I hated the politician, not only because his face and attitude was like a criminal, but also, he was customizing the quality!

The scene was quite clear to me. All the poet society was badly dependable upon the politicians. In return of some monthly monitory pension, these poets were being used in meetings as a party ambassador and all the songs and slogans, placard designs; its creative stuffs were under their department, before an election.

I was madly in love with literature. I tried to ignore these factors. But Bhabatosh had no time for me. Few months later, Bhabatosh called me up from his room. He told me to come with my poems. I was excited! I took my latest diary and the previous one with me. He was lying on his bed and asked me to keep those diaries on his writing table. I did the same. He asked for two more days, so that he can go through my poems and can guide me in a better way. True! I agreed and returned.

I went to sleep at night but someone from the group of well-known poets was reading my poems! It was like the poems in those diaries were my daughters and they are performing a dance and drama in front of a renowned director.

Next day, it was too late for me to get up. I was surprised thinking how my parents allowed me to sleep till 10 AM! I was feeling hungry and started searching my mom. No one was there at home. I came to the garden and found so many people in front of Bhabatosh’s house. I reached there and found my parents in the crowed. Bhabatosh was lying on the floor. Some holy smokes and fragrances of white flowers on the white bed sheet around his body created some different type of smells. I never saw a dead person in real before. It took me much time to understand that he was dead. My diaries were as decorated as I left them previous day.

Bhabatosh had no-one in his family. So the later part was specific and simple.

‘Never leave your dreams alive, when you will return back to your older dreams, either you will find them changed or Junk.’

Few days later I stopped purchasing diaries.

I never asked anyone, how he died. May be I wanted to feel it later.


2 responses to “Death of a Poet

  1. Dipashri Bardhan November 21, 2013 at 9:52 p11

    Very nicely written, with expressions that touched the heart 🙂


    • pinaki pratihar November 21, 2013 at 9:52 p11

      Thank you Dipashri…


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