Over some stoned Bangali adda into the wee hour of the morning, an age-old Kolkata stereotype of neighbourhood sexual exploits resurfaced. The neighbourhood, popularly known as para, is incomplete without a protagonist- a parar dada. The unemployed youth of the 80s (not so much the 90s) with the rugged despondent masculinity. The protagonista- she could be the unattainably snooty English Honours student, the noveau riche belly-button-jeans nevermindthelovehandles item number, the demure Boudi(an erotic category- the older brother's wife) in a nightie, or the virginal high-school girl, braided and schoolbagged, with a dash of mischief in the corner of her eye.
These sexual entanglements are of a quaint nature. Mostly hidden in the shadows of intersecting boundary walls, underneath mattresses, inside covers of books. Never out in the daylight. Never in ice-cream parlours or Baristas. Sometimes in a niribili(deserted, technically speaking, but not quite- the word conveys a sense of cosy isolation) corner on Laker Dhaar. These are not sexualities of Boyfriend-and-Girlfriends. Or Open relationships. Or Messings Around. These are rampant. Vibrant. Nameless.Borderless. Sexcapades. Our braided schoolgirl is not Carrie Bradshaw, neither Bridget Jones. Nothing metropolitan about her.
Sometimes documented in angsty short stories of Sunday supplements of Anonodo Bajar Potrika, where English honours downtown diva has irrepressible lust for suburban Math Honours cousin. Mostly passed down through gossip sweet-nothings whispered across parapets of terraces by Has-been Boudis.
The visible metropolitan sexual liberations that I have witnessed in Bangalore and Delhi, fade in comparison. To the vernacular ones of Kolkata middle-classes. The politically cock/vagina-sure sexualities of Pecos and Four S, Strawberry Fields and GIR, CP and MG Road, Lodhi Gardens and Cubbon Park are empowering no doubt. But not half as mischief-making, not half as mysterious. The merrymaking too voluble to be seductive. The mischiefs too theorised. One will call me a jingo here, but I would pick a demure Boudi over an LSR liberate anyday. A despondent Jhontuda over a glib libertine.