Café Copy Cat

Maskwaith Ahsan
Podcast, Satire, Story
Café Copy Cat

The city has become fond of the coffee culture. In American sitcoms, characters are often seen hanging out in coffee shops. So the city must also learn to hang out in similar outfits. Sitting in a corner with a laptop looks trendy. Facial expressions should also match the seriousness of Hollywood, but the desire deep down is to look like Manhattan.

Coffee here has to be more expensive than Rome or Manhattan. You can’t be seen talking about the cost of this beverage or one might perceive you as poor or as one with poor taste. What others think has always been the driving force of the city and being seen holding an uber-expensive cup of coffee is the first key in getting recognition. Life in the city is dedicated to the thriving race for status.

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Ancient cities of this area were divided by caste; Brahmins lived in the upper part and the rest in lower parts. That sense of inferiority genetically survived centuries before morphing into this city, forcing the upper part old-city dwellers to move to new quarters, named ‘high-end’.

To be part of these high-end dwellers, others must frequent Café Copy Cat. Most of the city, reshaped out of corruption revolution, dreams of being the big fat American; big car, big house, big wedding ring, big belly, big-sized children and a big mug of Coffee.

The last book they read in university and a few newspaper post-editorials afterwards have been the sole source of their enlightenment. It’s a relief that now they have the social media to follow. At least now they keep busy sharing videos and tweeting their opinions on everything under the sun; the highest intellectual exercise at Café Copy Cat.
Café Copy Cat also exhibited the work of an artist who recently killed himself as he could not meet the approval of the high-enders. Provoked by affluent neighbours, his mother was often seen and heard abusing him for not making it in the city.

–Stop this nonsense. You must try a corporate nine-to-five job. I want to have grandchildren. All my friends and relatives play with their grandchildren. Where are mine?

–Every piece of art I draw is your grandchild.

His mother took out her anger on his paintings and damaged a few precious ones.

Back at Café Copy Cat, big art collectors from high-end buy entire works of the dead artist, the same art collectors who in his lifetime rejected his work over and again. Now the poor artist’s death has become his biggest branding.

With the café full of big art collectors, all coffee drinkers become art lovers at once. A few long-haired art critics are there to help promising girls understand art. Some coffee drinkers decide to become artists overnight. YouTube is a reliable friend to learn instant art from, just like instant coffee. Originating from Café Copy Cat #ArtForRenaissance movement goes viral and turns the café into a center for art excellence.

All the while an old artist living in lower-end dies slowly. He used to work for a newspaper. The new Editor wanted to get rid of this rebel artist for not toeing the line. He got his wish when some Café Copy Cat girls, longing for #MeToo recognition, brought forth false accusations of sexual harassment against the old, ailing artist.

Whatever modernity is introduced in the city it finds its fate in the hands of the Café Copy Cat dwellers. Long-haired art critics criticize the old artist, art lover girls call him and his work a disgrace and #ArtforRenaissance dies a slow, unnoticed death.

Maskwaith Ahsan. Maskwaith Ahsan is an international journalist, educator and the author of over 14 books. His columns appear in several Bengali newspapers, magazines and websites across the globe. He also hosts his web TV show E-SouthAsia. With socio-political satire...

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