We wait…

7/12/71 it is heard, the siren of the night


we rush back into our burrows,

hollow compartments dug into the streets,

and sometimes an unclassified basement

made, in the otherwise grounded houses,

a little light lamp is all we have as

we wait, waiting to know what

is conspiring, pondering over

the question, whether there is

going to be a war in our region,

I have clenched my mother’s saree,

it is plain cotton, no embroidery,

as she has her eyes shut, and her hands folded,

invoking the blessings of gods to keep them safe,

and to hurry the sun-lord to rise,

and make it seem right in the brightness of day,

the men gossip their trades, still important

to be discussed, and sometimes I could catch

their hesitation, of talking about

the war, spreading through every border,

marked by silence, more shrill than

the temple bell… kids cry, as the illumination

of the lamp dims, due to lack of kerosene,

and we wait… we wait in our bunker,

shadowed by our unaware selves


we are waiting in quarters in candle lights,

waiting for the order from high command,

pondering whether we would also face the war,

a new package has arrived of artilleries, there

is a rumour, that the enemy would try to seize

the territory nearby soon, but we have to wait

and think, muse within our minds, I wonder

what my new born is doing back at home,

she would be nursing him… may be and

that brings a smile across my eyes,

I should, I must write a letter but what

would I write, my mind is frozen,

it is getting cold and colder, December

winds are piercing… ruddy thorns into

the skin and, that has made me thinking

of those hiding in the city, below the ground,

unknowing, blind to the action-less night,

may be there would occur nothing, and may be

things will be normal soon, I can hear my

comrades scratching their unshaven face,

and that gives me an itch in my coarse beard,

and I wait as others are waiting, the siren has

ceased its solemn tune, and someone switches

on the light… flickers and then is switched on,


and we wait…


years have passed, calendars have changed,

there was that war of 65 and 71 and also of 99,

and I wonder how many more wars would be waged,

there has been trouble at the borders this year,

the cease fire was compromised and I wait… wait,

with a hope that it would not happen again,

and just think of the stories told to me… and

in this black room, at this moment, I reflect

her expression as she had shared her tale, while

chewing over her tongue, the bell for the period had rung


A little explanation required for the ending… the tale of girl told from the beginning is inspired from the experiences shared by one of my teachers about 8 years back. She had told of her war story, of the underground compartments and that has paved the way for the poem… so the end marks the time when she had narrated it to her students. The wars are real but the narration is fictional… rather I would consider it imaginary because I have imagined the setting during the war of 1971 because of course, I was not even born then. If you are confused about something or if you have any questions, please do ask.

I was thinking of writing something about it but then, I was also inspired by dVerse Poetics prompt of Calendars today. I haven’t used the theme explicitly but of course, the time and calendar has a lot to do with it.

This is tagged as the post for 24 November for NaBloPoMo.

And before I forget, I wrote a guest post for Yeah Write, dated 23 November, which you can read here.

*The date in the first line is written in the format of dd/mm/yyyy.

Image source

33 thoughts on “We wait…

  1. what a story…how many more wars will we have…how many more soldiers will be wondering of those children at home…the war to end all wars just kicked off further wars….it never seems to end…nicely done sir


  2. How we live with and during wars is so powerfully told.. it connects to stories both for real and fiction… I especially like how your describe the breakdown of information being replaced by rumor… that in particular touched me in this powerful piece Anmol


  3. HA, your poem really moved me. There are always wars being waged. And the ceasefires are so often compromised. The fear and the sadness is there in your poem. As I said, It moved me.


  4. hypercryptical says:

    Powerful write HA. I think myself blessed as I have never experienced war and hope I never will. If only we could live in peace…


  5. anmol ~ as others have commented powerful words and images. I have not experienced War, as my parents did and as I read this – all I heard in my head were sirens of the bomb blasts in England…War is War anywhere….


  6. Very moving and profound poem, HA! All the more so as the persona’s mother, new-born and “she” are mentioned, reminding us that History is also an addition of personal histories.


  7. Abin Chakraborty says:

    Of course I understand the references and my parents and relatives did live through those wars and therefore I could connect with the stories as well. However, for us in the subcontinent, low-scale intermittent war is now a more or less permanent state of affairs.


  8. ….very well narrated, HA…. for quite a time, your words have allowed me to walk on those times of war and more…. it is scary to carry the ghost of war in everywhere and to know we can’t escape from it… i enjoyed this… smiles…


  9. Brendan says:

    A calendar of wars — of rumors of wars, of encroachments of fighting, of how it affected and afflicted loved ones—is the one that exists next to the calendar of jobs we worked and places we visited on holiday. Or is the inner one, or one of the inner calendars, writ by fears realized or not. Great meditation. – Brendan


  10. WOW! At first I thought this was one of the futurist poems written for the dVerse prompt and when I read that it was real, it knocked me out. Once again proving that real life is always more intriguing than anything we can make up. I liked the tales from the differing perspectives. An amazing write.


  11. I knew, too, the setting was what I imagine it must have been like, war defining the moment, the day, the month..whether in a ditch and bombs dropping all around or in the jungle not knowing who the enemy was…the fear and how our minds can or cannot wrap around the actual reality of it…amazingly well written.


  12. Anmol, your date may be fictional but very near the time of the birth of Bangladesh…..I have witnessed some scenes of the time…….. the siren, the black-out,and bombing…a part of my childhood days….your lines have triggered some nostalgic moments for me……..so nicely worded poem..


  13. The Indian/Pakistani conflict continues today. When will the world learn that peace may cost egos, the supposed supremacy of one religion over another, and one people over another? I mourn that day, along with so many more. Peace, Amy


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