As the millennials, Gen X & Z sit staring at the neon geometric signages, stretching across the faux upholstery, consuming caffeine by the minutes from pristine porcelain, devouring the bruschetta and meat pies with sparkling steely cutlery and a final brush of the crumbs unto the embossed tissues. The perfectly prepared coffee from around the world, the Barista, the Starbucks, and closer home the Café Coffee Day, Olive & Thyme, did we say olives, the ubiquitous amla or was it the jujubes, the amlokhi? As the aseptic environs reverberate with the laughter and the cries, we see those caviar wishes and cocktail dreams floating in these modern day coffee houses, the sellers of a dreamscape..
Dreams were sold even then, so what if the environs were the ramshackle eatery, selling the soggy tawa roasted toast, omelettes garnished with coarsely chopped onion, stinging green chillies and coriander leaves, filling the space with the stench of stale mustard oil, the flower children devoured with the same intensity those dalda dripping Mughlai porotas washed down with the endless glasses of milk laced, strongly flavoured “chai” served with love and a lot of vigour by Milon da, the dream seller, selling single piece Charminar cigarettes and the beedis by the packet. His eyes always glowed a deep red, in congruent with the burning end of the coconut rope tied at one end of his chair to offer a light to the perennial smokers flocking his eatery from dawn to dusk, less to eat and more to dream, while listening to the campus grapevine through Milon da’s gossip traversing all genres from the sex life of the professors to the winds of change underlying the political scene, off and on campus.
A leftist by birth and ideology, Milon da was a champion of free speech, his eatery buzzed with an atmosphere fuelled on socialism, Vietnam, Karl Marx, equality, Neruda, The Animal Farm, Picasso, Fidel Castro, the dry fields of Naxalbari and he always thought that Che was over rated – proving his point by throwing the choicest “gaalis” at anyone wearing a Che tee or cap. Some days Milon da would be seen in deep conversation with the comrades and though these sessions would always be lulled, a few days thereafter the chancellor always got locked in and Milon da would go “missing” leaving his boudi ruling the ground with his minions. A fortnight and he would again be back in action but with a sadness in his eyes. Some evenings he could be caught watching the fireflies in the dark near the fiddlehead fern bushes, a melancholic sight, perhaps drained out of selling dreams against the winds of change.
But then this basic eatery built by Milon da arose each morning to the strains of Robi Thakur with the dreams of changing the state and the society, reverberating along the makeshift walls of this cafe of yore which was always more than just an eatery…perhaps it was a phase of life….of an idealism of creating a revolution to change the world…#the_cafe_mofussil #thedreamsofyore
Communism today is a 100 years old says a thread on twitter, #100yearsofcommuniststruggle…..
The Communist vision has been based on the vision of a secular democratic Republic, which eventually moves in the direction of converting our political independence into the economic emancipation of all our people, possible only under socialism.#100YearsOfCommunistStruggle pic.twitter.com/iXMlYZORjY— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) October 17, 2019