When there’s a handsome intelligent young man around, there will be admirers. And when there are admirers, there will be die-hard fans from dedicated fandoms. We spoke to two such young women who waited outside the SBI Auditorium at the Kolkata Literature Festival to catch sight of their object of adoration, the ever-charming Durjoy Datta.
I noticed one girl outside a book store, tersely speaking to her mother. “Hurry up,” she said. “The session begins in fifteen minutes.” The blogging team catch up with the young lady, later as she nervously waits outside, and ask her why she likes Mr Datta.
“He portrays everything so well,” says Rupasmita Das, a class eleven student of Kendriya Vidyalaya. “I don’t understand how he does it. Has he faced these things? Does he know anyone who has? He mentioned that he could write in other genres, but he believes that he only ought to write things that he feels sincerely about. I think we believe his writings because of that. As a fan, I believe that I pass through the same situations that his characters do. Like in this book-” she holds up her already well-worn copy of a novel by him- “the protagonist has been raped by a boy. The trauma she went through, I felt like I could feel her anxiety and fears. I cried when I thought about the possibility of this happening to me. This is very special.”
Which is your favourite amongst his books, I inquire.
“‘Till The Last Breath…’” she says promptly. “This book too, I read it in two days. My mother thinks I will fail my exams because of this!”
What will you ask him if you meet him?
“How can he write so beautifully?” she says, adding, “And how can he look so cute when he smiles?!”
The situation is much the same with twenty-year-old student of Bethune College, Sumedha Paul. As she anxiously bobs up and down on the balls of her foot, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of her favourite author, she answers my questions readily, even gushingly. Why do you like him, I ask.
“Because of the way he’s able to relate to us, the readers, and the way I can relate to his characters. It is amazing how well he understands us and how vividly he can describe all that we feel.”
Probing further, I say, “Why do you think he can do this?”
“His age!” she quips. “He has gone through our experiences: falling in love, getting hurt. That’s a great reason to love him. I love him!”
Which is your favourite book by him, I ask laughingly.
“I haven’t read this yet,” she says, indicating his latest novel in her hands. “I just want to go and tell him to sign it for me. If I meet him, I will tell him how much I love him! When I got the news that he’s coming here, I lost it at home- jumped around, screamed, danced, I don’t even know. I hope I get to meet him. He’s very down to earth. My friends think I’m crazy.”
But clearly, she has company in Rupasmita and everyone else present in that packed auditorium that Thursday afternoon.
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