I hadn't seen a michheel in close to a decade. Until yesterday. Middle-aged Writers' Buildings officials, of Congress leanings, protested the attacks on Congress leaders in Burdwan saying that it was possible due to police apathy and negligence. There were hardly any banners, mostl slogans. Even as some tyres are deflated and buses burnt down in the heart of South Calcutta. The Congress is back with a bang, say the newspapers. These attacks have reinvigorated our workers. A Congress leader is quoted. A feeble identity that was getting increasingly engulfed by the grassroot diva of the state is now fed fodder. The good old pellet of political energy is back in fashion. The burning of the bus. I think of disparate scenes from Ray's Mohanogor, Gonoshotroo, and various Rituporno Ghosh films. Of middle-class dining tables, afternoon irritation, whining fans, chilled bottles of water, khuchro angst — the texture of all of it being sharpened by the din of a michheel in the background. Memories of gentry lives lived in their whole range of pains and pleasures — from khuchro prem on lake-er dhaar to political outrage to business rivalries — across a continuing din of cholbe na cholbe na. Protibaad is a less popular word on graffiti these days. The words okormonyota, noirajyo — and various other versions of abyss, impasse, stagnation, anarchy — find adequate representation on posters of all parties.

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