Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KYA KATTA CULTURE HAI

‘KYA KATTA CULTURE HAI…’
…Remarked my friend who had just alighted from the land of Laloo.
‘So cool yaar, just sit here and chill, while watching the babes!’ he enthused delightedly, thrilled at the prospect of getting within touching distance of the bevy of beauties who strolled past endlessly, hurrying to college.
‘Are you MAD?’ I hissed, glancing around worriedly, wondering if any of the ghatti gang had heard this imbecile. ‘The Katta’ I hastily explained to the migrant before he could get himself into further trouble, ‘is meant to sit, smoke and spout intellectual shop, not start an eve teasing club!’ But this incident did set me thinking…
The Katta Culture is a phenomenon unique to our city. Puneri Kattas have a deep, philosophical purpose that goes beyond simply parking your backside on a cold, damp slab of concrete while munching on a paan. Pune Kattas offer its squatters a safe sanctuary to socialize. A legitimate meeting place where one can hang out with buddies and bond between bunking college lectures and ogling at the female population with drool dripping down your T Shirt, all this and more, without really looking like a vella…. And while you read this and glare disapprovingly at the youngsters who have infiltrated every inch of the citys’ space, remember that Katta Squatting is a time honoured tradition, a rite of passage for almost every true blooded Puneite. But then, a rather strange thought struck me…What if these stones could talk? An icy chill ran down my spine. Every single pockmarked, cracked up Katta in this city would have more than just a rather interesting story to tell!. Just like the ruins of Pompeii, the older, more worn out the katta, the more legendary and scandalous must be the secrets that lay within those stones. My blood ran cold; my heart beat faster as my imagination took over. Take the FTII Kattas for instance. Many famous actors, directors, editors have parked their then- not-so- famous bottoms on these Kattas for comfort as they struggled to make it big in the industry. Think of all those wild, off beat, bollywood emotions the stones must be privy to over the years! Now, take your imagination further down the road, and stop at the hallowed ILS. These ILS Kattas are a totally different lot of stone. Stiff-upper-lipped variety listening in keenly to those legal eagles in the making, readying for Moot Courts, some on the path to become legendary Chief Justices…
But to me, it’s the College Kattas that still line many college canteens and certain eating joints that hold the mother lode of secrets. Many a Majnu on the verge of turning Devdas, has sat for hours on FC road trying to find a way to convince the love of his life that he is not a lukkha. The Katta has comforted him, perhaps even sent him some stone cold advice that gets him off his lazy feet, saves the day and wins his damsel! Then night falls, streets empty out, and everyone is happily snoring away in bed, when I sit up wide awake and wonder, how many secrets do these Kattas hold? Keys to unsolved murders? Booker prize winning stories? Tales of friendship? But whatever lies within these stones, there’s a comfort in knowing that the Puneri Katta is here to stay…