They say dreams hold messages from the unconscious. Well, this one was loaded.
Disclaimer: Do NOT expect logic from a dream.
Here we go. The whole thing happened on Twitter.
PuLa Deshpande was alive and the first we came to know was when his blogpost went viral on Twitter. Went viral as in, went mega viral. It was classic PuLa. Hyper witty, sensitive, but a sharp commentary none the less, and had fleeting mention of Bal Thackeray’s death – maybe a line or two. But PuLa being PuLa, all it took for him to make his view clear was a line or two. Everyone loved the post, Shiv Sainiks on Twitter included. But newspapers were terrified to pick it up. They didn’t want their offices burned.
So on Twitter we were lampooning all the famous journalists and demanding they publish the letter. For some reason, TV show anchors and actors were also being treated like they could publish stuff in the newspaper. Stalemate. Everyone loved letter, no one wanted to print it. Shiv Sena leaders even went public on TV saying that PuLa was a Marathi Manus and asking the Shiv Sena mobs to please maintain order in the event the article was published. But on the unofficial word was that PuLa would be respected, but the paper who published it will get office vandalized. Cops were recommending not to take “unnecessary risks”.
For some reason, Anja Kovacs was keeping track of the whole thing (as always when it comes to fighting censorship) and I was asking her if she even understood what the article said. She was saying the article is very easy to understand and very funny and nothing offensive about it. Gaurav Sabnis had blogged a translation, though people seemed to be reading the original just fine.
Some people were trending it on Twitter with tags like #ArrestMeNow #CensorThis #StopITRules etc though it is unclear why, considering that the blog wasn’t blocked and going viral.
There were rumors of a new character sketch to be published in a few months and while no one knew who it was, everyone was certain it would piss off Shiv Sena. So there were a lot of tweets about how great people should be respected and PuLa commenting jokingly that one day he would be famous and get some respect too.
Pul La Deshpande was on Twitter (the Marathi Tweeple’s dream), though he just posted his one liners without interaction for the most part. There was a lot of scathing and hilarious commentary on state of current affairs without getting into bitter wars. People were becoming wiser. Salil Tripathi wrote an article about the article and got trolled on Twitter. Kanchan Gupta wrote a scathing rebuttal to people who use articles by great people to further their own agendas (but nothing against PuLa). I published a copy on my blog with great pride, and all the comments said that this needs to reach more people than internet readers. I was planning to stand on the street distributing printouts and the Pirate Party took on the project and we were planning to distribute about a lakh printouts in 6 states – wherever we have members. Other people were warning us to be careful or the party will end before it is registered.
For some reason, Shiv Aroor was pissed, but I never found out why.
Then Sachin Kalbag, Saikat Dutta and a few others and Barkha Dutt (for some reason) approached foreign papers without an office in Mumbai to burn and told them to publish it. So for the first time ever, Guardian had a Marathi article on its front page (I swear till then it was in English!). Some Shiv Sainiks were talking of this as the pride of the Marathi Manus.
Various plans were being made to distribute Guardian and other papers that published it in India so that people could read.
Then things kind of get hazy. Don’t know if the article actually made it to the Marathi Manus in the end. Nor was there any actual incidence of violence. I don’t remember what the content of the article was either, except that it was hilarous and irreverent and vintage PuLa and made a few comments on forced volunteering and xenophobic politics. So that kind of sucked. Imagine a dream about a PuLa article without the article… If I remembered the article, I’d at least publish it on my blog 😀