Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Quintessential Bengali / The Khaati Bangali:

Often stereotyped by the entire nation as the ‘Intellectual geek’, a typical Bong is multi dimensional and much more than just the owner of the superior grey matter. :P

*P.S: Following points are found only in the ‘TYPICAL’ Bengali *

- You can’t ask the Bong to ‘BE A REBEL’:
A true Bong is always a Rebel from within. For us, the war of independence is still on.
A very common scenario: When the Government raises the bus fare (Maybe a slight difference of a rupee or two at max.), the Government also must be ready to pay for 5 to 6 buses the very next day as the rebellious bong will burn down the buses. The dormant revolutionary within us wakes up at the minutest spark. 

-The Concept of Single Child is missing in Bengal:
It’s been a couple of decades now that no Bengali house is entitled to a single child. By birth, each Bengali gets two bonus siblings- like it or not! You have no option but to accept them.
We have our ‘DIDI’ - Bengal’s ‘world famous’ icon of ‘Change’ and ‘the promoter of noise pollution’ while Dada is the only man who has managed to make every Bengali proud with his bare-chested act at Lords’ pavilion. (Even Aamir’s Ghajini avatar and SRK’s six pack OSO look failed to have that impact!)

-Supernatural Voice Recognition Software:
Married Bongs have a special way of addressing their better half – ‘Eije’, ‘Ogo’& ‘Shuncho’.
During their marriage, the Universe gifts them a unique voice recognition system which makes them discern their spouse’s call even in a sea of people where too many ‘OGO’s are heard at the same time. But, Bongs miraculously respond only to their ‘Ogo’ and only to their ‘shuncho’. :P Now, this is what I call SOUND hearing.

-Name says it all; not the Pet Name:
The longer the toddler takes to memorize the spelling of his name; the better is the quality of the name.
Length definitely matters.  For instance: Lopamudra. Why can’t she be called just Lopa or just Mudra? No. That’s not how a Bong thinks. They need to punch two names into one. Here are some more - Shom-Shubhro, Arka-Prabha, Deb-Aditya, Moni-Deepa! :D
Anyway, when it comes to nick names, Bongs don’t really put their thinking caps on. Our Nick names are weird- Potol, Pocha, Tia, Ria, (PAARLE KAKATUA O REKHE DEBE!) Babaan and almost every second house on the lane will feature one of these names.

-Saree : the Guilty Pleasure:
Every Bengali house is a mini ‘Trader’s Assembly’ (Humming – Gariahat er Moder Shobha..Trader’s Assembly. – Amader kono shakha neyi! :D), ‘Adi Dhakeswari Bastralaya’,‘Priyo Gopal Bishoyi Grandson’, and Kenakata’r Anondo Niketan – SriNiketan! :D
And every Durga Puja adds a brand new ‘Ikkat’, ‘Dhakai Jamdani’, ‘Toshor’, ‘Kanjivaram’, ‘Muga Silk’ and every year, mysteriously some new variety of Silk emerges out of nowhere. (Last year’s Debut Silk was Tissue Silk which is Heavier than Me!!) Yet, Bengali Ladies cannot get enough of them. :D

-PNPC: Poro Neende, Poro Chorcha!
(For the Non-Bengalis, it means Gossiping. Remember: Whoever gossips to you, will gossip about you! Ha ha. I know that’s scary !)
Like it or not, PNPC is every Bengali’s favorite past time. Degree may differ from person to person but it definitely rejuvenates the Bengali soul after a long day’s work.

-Second Homes:
‘Puri’, ‘Digha’, ‘Sunderban’, ‘Darjeeling’ and in recent years, ’Dooars’ have comforted every Bengali during their weekend outings. A typical Bengali has visited these places so many times that they even know the name of the tea stall where Pocha Kaka sings ‘Lok Geeti’ every morning.

-A simple Bengali meal attempts to alter the definition of ‘simple’:
In case you are full and your Bengali friend invites you for a quick lunch and you say, ‘keep it simple!’. I warn you to watch your words. The Bongs define ‘Simple lunch’ in a not so simple manner.
Simplest Menu:
You will be served with a plate full of rice – ‘a mini Mt.Abu carved out of rice’ surrounded by ‘bhaja’ on one side (ranges from Brinjal Fry to Bittergourd Fry!) – Dal on the other side (Sour mango Dal, if it’s summer) – Tarkari – and a separate bowl for the delicious Fish Curry! Ah! That’s not where it ends. You have curd coming your way too. (Bongs generally prefer Mishti Doi which has a very peculiar colour! :D)

-We are EXTREMISTS and have a patent EMOTION too:
Bong love is one of a kind. It is immense, blind and celestial.
Out of this immeasurable love has emerged the emotion that has no English equivalent (Perhaps Samuel Johnson, the first English lexicographer and his successors never felt this way!)- ‘Abhimaan’. It’s not about Ego neither is it being Pricey and it transcends the power of translation. 

-Bhai vs Bhai:
Mumbai defines ‘Bhai’ as the local wannabe Don or the major underworld mafia tycoons.
While for a Bengali, ‘Bhai’ is the most affectionate way of addressing almost everybody – Sweeper, Taxi Driver, Milkman , Cobbler…and the list goes on and on.

A true Bong has an emphatic sense of self respect and does not generally accept any non-sense. Most importantly, a Bengali will be the last person to ask for any favor of any sort. What attracts a Bong the most is the sense of satisfaction that you feel after achieving success at your own right.

-BUSINESS is not a Bong’s cup of Tea:
Perhaps, we lack the simple tact and diplomacy needed to run a business empire successfully and hence, we have no ‘Banerjees’ or ‘Senguptas’ like the ‘Tatas’ or  ‘Birlas’.

-Adda:  The Ultimate Breather:
Addia is defined as the local ‘round table conference’ run by the youth which exists round the year. Mind you! ‘Adda’ is not a breeding place for Eve Teasers but gives birth to Artists, Poets, Leaders and Great Debaters. It’s the mini ‘Coffee House’ where the likes of Ray, Tagore, Sunil Ganguly, Buddhodeb Bhattacharjee ,‘Didi’and ‘Dada’ make regular appearances. :D

-It’s 6 by the clock:
A Bengali is a toddler as long as he doesn’t officially turn 18. :D
The child is expected to be home and at least pretend to study before the Man of the house, i.e., the Father returns from office and the sun sets. Late night parties and Night outs are a STRICT NO! (Night Out? What is that now? NIGHT is the time when EVIL of all sorts come OUT in the open and apparently attack ONLY BENGALI KIDS! :P)

It’s not just about the language. We are undoubtedly the sweetest people you will come across in the entire world (French may give us a stiff competition, but in vain!). Even the reprimands and angry outbursts are sweet to hear as an outsider, as long as you fail to comprehend the words because in disguise of those syrupy words reside pain and temper which is not all that pleasant when you comprehend the passage. :P


-We are PROUD and we have ENOUGH REASONS TO BE SO:
The cultural lineage that we have behind us involuntarily sets us apart from the milling crowd and every Bengali is well aware of that. (Agreed, some are extra aware of that fact. :D)
With heavy weight cultural icons like Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Ritwik Ghatak, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Satyajit Ray, Jamini Roy, Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Gautam Ghosh and too many more, I wonder why won’t a Bong be proud?!?!?!

In case, you don’t know who they are, please google and enlighten yourself and continue to Brand us as the Intellectually Superior Specimen of Humanity! :D That certainly doesn’t hurt! 

Random Thoughts and nothing else !


Happy Reading !