Annie Proulx, one of the most original and brilliant short story writers from the United States, has finally made her debut in the world of popular South Asian literature. Desi Brokeback Mountain is her first Hindi masterpiece.
Ram Sharma and Muhammad Khan, two illiterate ruffians, one Hindu (meaning uncircumcised) and the other Muslim (read circumcised), come together when they are working as chai-wallas (chai – tea) in the Kake Da Dhaba Hotel (dhaba – cheap eatery) during a hot blistering summer of New Delhi. At first, spending steamy nights while sharing the lone string-cot on the chhat (rooftop) of the dhaba, the attraction is neat and brotherly but something deeper catches them later. It starts casually, involving a harmless locker-roomish foreplay of bites and gropes, with a little probing here and there, but the frustration soon turns carnal.
Both boys work half-heartedly, are kicked out of the job, and subsequently work in different dhabas. They even marry and have kids – because that’s what chai-wallas do! But over the course of many years and frequent marital bedroom crises, this relationship becomes the most amorous in their lives, and they do anything they can to prolong it.
In graphical and obscene prose, Proulx exposes the seedy, quickly-gratifying affair between these two chai-wallas that survive everything but their weakening mojos.
"My attempt was to find out if the clean passion of first-world cowboys could be translated into the dirty sex-games of third-world chai-wallas." Proulx said in a telephone interview from her ranch in Wyoming.
"It was a seamless transplant," nodded Taiwan-born film-maker Ang Lee. He has already bought the film rights and is reportedly planning a trip to New Delhi in search of location shoots.
Indeed, Desi Brokeback Mountain does some of the most satisfying things that a normal story could have never dreamt of achieving. It abolishes the old Kamasutra clichés, excavates and glorifies a certain kind of low life, and then almost makes you cum out with the sticky cockfights of its orgasmic climax.
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