The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Clarinets on Campus

By Nilesh Mondal

The shouting crowd of traitors
That filled the country
In the month of Partition,
And on the eve of cricket matches
or parliamentary handshakes
Ever since,
Are here too.
Getting drunk
on warm beer
Trembling in their glasses
Fucking behind every door
Littering the gutters with three thousand condoms
Every day.
The silent poet who would someday
Haul petrol bombs
To Parliament
Sits by the corridor reading Orientalism.
Outside the campus,
A scared man says,
“This is a dangerous place, Sahib.
Here traitors and terrorists hold meetings
And only last month
Fourteen students were arrested,
Taken to court,
Beaten up till they peed in their pants.
Here girls
Don’t want to get married
And men
Love men.
This is a dangerous place, Sahib.
And if I were you,
I’d stay away from this place too.”
But I find myself walking into the same
College grounds,
Where a group of young people
Play clarinets all day.
Where the police come
with sticks and anger
Every month
And takes away some of their friends
Playing clarinets.
“Even if the police came every day
Our clarinets wouldn’t stop playing,”
They promise.
And one of their friends died last month
In his hostel room;
One of their friends
Was rusticated because he chose to be
Too honest
For his time of existence.
One of their friends was tied to a motorcycle
And dragged along the road
For 2.5 kilometres.
But he smiles even today;
And I wonder how hard it is
To take away from someone
Their laughter
And their dreams.
The crowd of protesters outside grows
In numbers
And rage –
The police and the journalists and the party cadres
The clarinets keep playing
Loud, like a jazz band in old Southampton.
And I kept walking
From corridor to corridor
As the crowd outside grew
And the silent poet wrote a last letter to his mother
In another country.

Nilesh Mondal
, 22, is an engineering undergraduate by day and dabbles in poetry by night. His works have been published in Fiction Magazine, The Ghazal Page, The Hans India, Artrefurbish, etc. He works at Terribly Tiny Tales, a popular online storytelling platform.

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Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.


Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘The Book that Made an Impact on Me in 2015’, edited by Tikuli, poet and blogger, Delhi, India.

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