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Why AAP's Delhi win is a Bong wet dream

Deep Halder
Deep HalderFeb 11, 2015 | 10:31

Why AAP's Delhi win is a Bong wet dream

Growing up in Kolkata during the '80s, life's biggest lesson was explained in simple words: Men who quote Marx get laid more often than the ones who pump iron. Women fell for the regulation kurta, rusty jeans and dusty chappal-types who would gladly miss a job interview to catch a screening at the Nandan theatre. Nandan, where the state's chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya would spend time chatting up other bhadraloks and translating plays, refusing to move to the designated residence of the chief minister, in honour of party patriarch Jyoti Basu, and continuing to work from his one bed-room Lower Income Group government quarter at Palm Avenue. We, meanwhile, while not discovering romance in corner seats of dingy cinema halls and pay-by-the-hour hotel rooms, were burning buses to protest hike in the price of university admission forms, mouthing anti-US slogans and taking out processions after the Iraq War in north Kolkata's skinny alleys.

Elsewhere, far away from the heady rhetoric of the Coffee House addas over endless cups of tea and cigarettes, farmers were getting poorer, unemployment figures were rising, and the few industries still in business in the state were moving out. By the time we realised this, the Left was in its last legs, and we had no option but to become economic migrants.

But even as former comrades dissed their old skin for the pin-striped, cookie cutter corporate garb, the romance remained. In Facebook posts and dreams of ghar wapsi to union rooms of the Students Federation of India, in sly tweets and dog-eared books of Nabarun Bhattacharya that introduced to us the infamous Fyatarus, "a subaltern breed of men-boys who sit about the neighbourhood rock... smoking, drinking tea from narrow glasses and commenting on everything and more."

Bhattacharya's Fyatarus are the underclass that Kolkata, its politics and its culture vultures have ignored down the ages. A people that have been betrayed by the very party, the CPI(M), that had once vouched to speak for them and have now reposed faith in Mamata Banerjee.

A bunch of nonsensical nobodies, the Fyatarus have the power to fly. They use it to attack the bourgeoisies. They crap and piss on them, beat them up, give gaalis, sit on dharnas. Sometime drops garbage and, hold your breath, brooms from the sky! They smoke up, drink and ogle. They hate the corporates and the corrupt. Irreverent, irrational, interesting, Fyatarus were a big hit among those who desired change in Bengal and then left in agony.

Nabarunda died last year. In his last days, as cancer spread, and he strained to open his eyes, he kept the dream of a subaltern uprising alive. If he was with us today, I would have called him up to say that AAP has won in Delhi, and that one is never too old to have a wet dream.

Last updated: February 11, 2015 | 10:31
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