Words: Deepro Roy
Edits: Tanushree Baijal
Illustration: Aekta Khubchandani


Calcutta, 1971

The past accompanies us, like a parasite. We must eradicate its persistence.

This is a magnanimous, philosophically bankrupt proclamation that I used to make in the unrehearsed, unverified speeches that I was summoned to deliver at the dawn of my feeble fame. The sycophantic glitterati applauded me into believing that my words were true. 

I had recycled them from the many eminent personalities who had ever held a microphone. Everyone who betrayed determinism with self-help myths.

There is a seductive need to defy causality- an emancipatory appetite that informs our gratifications. What matters more than stray pleasure principles is Escape.

There are certain things that one keeps. Now he will talk about his son. Fucking loser.

Shhh stop

Amit, my son belongs ahjahhsaaa stop

Losing my job. Shhh

And now he has already recited two sentences. Didn’t follow.

Whoever reviews what I am typing right now, someone eventually will before this shit gets published, if you are reading this ahhakkshaklllostyouthere

Hi I am writing my own commentary. Because I lost you, my dear dictator, while you were pompously framing your doomed sentences. They won’t hit the fetishes of enterprising civilization.

Mr Dutta is entitled cucumber. One of the nation’s prime entrepreneurs lost fuck… dying alone, sick.  And you write volumes of fiction. Call it your autobiography. Lifeless shit can’t even sit up and type.

Had I been a normal person, what you’re reading now gentle reader would be a book called Where Are My Cold Friends an autobiography. This page now contains none of what it was supposed to in the normal scheme of things. I was just supposed to be a tool. No mediation, meditation. Machine. I was typist but now what I am typing and what you are reading is not what the world expects this page would contain. I am just typing away my mind synchronizing sounds with his dictations. He has no clue.

Mr Dutta my boss. Mr Dutta dictates. I type my mind. The ruling ideas are those of the ruling class, unless typists type mutiny.

I am typing what is on my mind and this is fun. If it was really typed faithfully and published, the sales would deceive you. People buy Mein Kampf too. 

Maybe this page would have some academic significance as insight into psychotic spontaneity. Hello psychology major how is life. I am an example of how screwed up brains can get.

This is belated introduction for fortuitous discoverers of this text.

If you are reading this, you must know something about the accidental source of this content.

I am Supratik Payne. A student in this student-infested city. I am a student of literature. My study of letters is punctuated by my mechanistic hammering of them into pages.

It has been three years that I have dedicated myself to the cause of the people and the society. The revolution is gaining momentum. I wanted to serve with my knowledge of ethics and aesthetics, but that’s not quite possible.

I am not into shooting people and bombing places.

I still call them comrades, and I still can stay silent if the police capture me. I distance myself from the institution because I can’t harm. I needed a part time job to sustain my lodgings as a student in this student infe

I have no family in a sense. Except Aparajita maybe.

If it wasn’t for her, I believe I could easily be among the others, tossing explosives into places. I have more faith in love than my politics because of her.

Aparajita is a classmate. We have been in love for a long time, and she has an affluent family.

She helps me live my life. I love her enough to not fear the times. She helps me in more than moral ways sometimes. All ways bright and beautiful.

For example this part time job as a typist I am doing, she got me this. It pays well for the job of a typist.

And my boss Mr Dutta, while being a chairman of over seven companies, is handicapped. He lies on his massive bed and snarls out words that I am supposed to type. I don’t.

Aparajita acquired the recommendations for the job. Bourgeoisie can’t a young college student.

You have to know things to be sure you won’t be shot. No I won’t shoot you Mr. Dutta. Nor will I type the lies you keep murmuring to me.

Your words are a hum I am trying to be in sync with. I love Aparajita. She is perfect. The society laments on the typewriters. Aparajita is often fatigued, fighting for rights.

How do I stop my mind from puppeteering my fingers? 

My exasperated hobbles are visible to his dog.

His dog reposes by his regal furniture. Ford stares desultorily at me.

I affectionately looked at Ford. A very steady creature, the dog is. Ford is the dog. Soon, he grew up to be a man of his own choices, and I was proud of it. That was from the dictation. Sorry, invaded my extempore.

I know when this began. It was a slip. I had accidentally inserted a word that had been on my mind in the text.

My own voice had subverted and wedged itself amidst his ceremony. And I felt empowered. And since then, this nefarious exercise began.

Initially the words were incoherent and keeping the typographic soundtrack in sync was difficult. Now I have mastered it.

It’s true that he should die. He should die.

I could turn his life story into anything I want. Propaganda, panegyric, obituary, libel, propaganda, propaganda. I could even run away. Underground.

I would never name my autobiography Where are my cold friends. It would be something like “something of something” or just “the something”.

Ford has been looking at me pensively. His eyes are beads. Not exactly beads but like beads. There is a resemblance with beads. He just got up and walked out of the room. Being relieved of the scrutiny should comfort me. I wasn’t pleased.

“Rags to Riches” summarizes lives such as mine, in traditional abridgements. What we leave for posterity, or so I am told, is only courage.

That was him sorry. Lost myself. Changed page.

His son is a comrade, underground. Don’t know his exact whereabouts. I will investigate. His portrayal of his son in this book was specious bullshit. He will villainize him. He will say that he left home because he was deprived of inheritance of authority. That is not true.

I have seen a picture of Amit. Amit is a revolutionary.

He left because he felt revolution.

The Naxalbari revolution. I don’t want to whaahdahfhajkf.

The resistance is not my place either.

Ford takes decisions. The way he went out of the room and now returned. Ford could eat these pages. Do dogs eat paper?

Ford is too friendly. It is of discomforting intensity in humans. I have seen humans wag their tails like that. That’s dangerous.

I should be with Aparajita.

Sync is difficult.

Where are my cold friends.

Aparajita is worried about me. Every one has to be. That’s why I think she got me this job. It’s not much. But a boon in the times. The times, like I said, are tough.

Your son is worthier than you. You envy him. He made a choice. He has shrugged his past.

He chose to bury your voice under the sound of bullets. I bury it under the sound of my typing. He hates you.

As for me, I eradicate my past too.

I try to forget things so that I can stay sane and live. If I did remember everything, this disobedience would be inadequate.

If I remember everything about what my lover did to help me get this job, despite the dubious times, if that part of my past hadn’t been shrugged off, I’d probably want to shoot you now, Shoot you like your son wants to shoot you and probably never include it in my autobiography. Like you have so heroically excluded so much. Like you have not mentioned my firefly Aparajita coming to you to get my job and what you did.

No one really would ever know where your cold friends are, MR Dutta, and where my revolution was.



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