A hands-on education: Kolkata, 2013
Dear Mum and Dad,
There's absolutely no need to get alarmed by media reports about violence in Kolkata colleges. Everything is fine here. In fact, I'm very happy to be studying in Kolkata, I'm having a great time. You won't believe how much I've learnt here.
I've already become rather good at tae-kwon-do and kung-fu and have also started to learn how to wield the lathi, it's an awesome weapon. You'll be proud to hear I can smash pumpkins with one lathi blow. I'm moving on to smashing coconuts next and my tutor tells me after that I will be allowed to start breaking heads. I can hardly wait, I'm so excited.
Every day I go to the chemistry lab, where some seniors are teaching us how to make bombs. It's a fascinating subject and calls for a lot of concentration. I'm saving up to buy a country-made pistol, but I want to learn how to make pipe guns. I know that ¼ inch pipe will hold 9 mm ammunition, but I still don't know how to put in the firing pin. But don't you worry, I'll find out soon.
I must tell you about the wonderful fight we had in college last week. You see, we realised it's best to organise the political fighting. So we've arranged to have champions from political parties fight each other in a boxing ring, with proper boxing rules. That way, we can not only enjoy the fight, but also bet on it.
Anyway, last week we had this fantastic fight between a Trinamool student leader, aka The Terror and an SFI heavyweight known as The Hammer. The atmosphere was electric right from Round 1, when the Terror landed the first punch, going past Hammer's gloves to rock him on the chest. Hammer lunged at him, but Terror evaded that easily, dancing away. Round 2 saw a crisp right hand hit from Hammer, leaving the Terror stunned for a bit. I cheered wildly, my money was on Hammer at 3 to 1. Round 3 saw a full frontal attack by the Terror, but mostly he hit the gloves although he did slip in one to the chin. It was in the fourth round that things got lively. The Terror was on his back foot and the Hammer cornered him against the ropes with a left-right combo. The Hammer then retreated, willing the Terror to come forward and as he did so, a massive left hook slammed the Terror to the floor and it was all over bar the shouting and collecting the winnings. I think this is the politics of the future. Next week, it's the lightweight Congress versus BJP bout, not much fun.
We also gheraoed the principal yesterday and had a gala time blackening his face. I've become quite an expert at manhandling. Some seniors have kindly consented to teach me Elementary Extortion, Election Rigging and Political Posturing, I'm a bit weak in those subjects.
I can't write more frequently because I'm terribly busy. This week, for instance, I had to attend three party meetings, two dharnas, five political rallies as well as classes on how to make Molotov cocktails. Naturally, I haven't been able to study and have flunked all my papers. But don't worry, we're planning to start a violent agitation till they pass all of us.
With lots of love,
Your obedient son
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal