I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Bong

"What the horns are to a buffalo…deceit is to the Bengali. Large promises, smooth excuses, elaborate tissues of circumstantial falsehood, chicanery, perjury, forgery, are the weapons, offensive and defensive of the people of the Lower Ganges." said Macaulay about my brethren.

, this and Bee's description of the Tambrahms forced me to write this. It has taken me over a month, and would be grateful if you let me know what I must have missed out.

There are two kinds of Bengalis that I know. Probashi or Expatriate Bangalees, a fairly large and diverse group about which I can't write as I am one of them.

And Bengalees who are from Kolkata. This group is incorrectly known as Bongs, as they are merely a subset. However, this is the only group which matters. Gokhale told of them, long years back, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." To which Rene Descartes responded, "I think (today), therefore I am (Bengali)." Like all other Nobel Prize Winners, Oscar Awardees and most successful Indian cricket captains, Rene Descartes was also a Bong (this fact is not known outside of Kolkata).

Physical Description:
The Bong has a large head, glasses, glistening hair and dark skin. Older Bongs develop an ample stomach to balance their large heads. This happens by the age of 25. They smell of Keo Karpin. The average life expectancy is 65 years. What is even more impressive is what they do in those years.

Outside Kolkata, regardless of weather, sex or age, Bongs can be seen in Monkey Caps. This is a must-have accessory as well as a sign to recognise other Bongs. (please see second update for more)

The Bongling can often be recognised in either over-sized or under-sized school uniforms. The Bong mother's second biggest fear (See diet for the biggest one) is that the "porer bochor o lomba hoye gele abar notun skirt kinte hobe!!" or "Next year, if you grow taller, we'll again have to buy a new skirt!!". Thus, the school uniform is selected to last at least three years. Thus the uniform sits as conspicuously on the Bongling as the plumage of a macaw.

Early Years:
While most Bongs are born with innate talents in singing, dancing, painting, film-making, cooking or embroidery, their creative talents are honed even before they can start speaking.

Frequent meets are organised between infants and their successful ancestors and other relatives. MA degrees (preferably from Cambridge, at least from Presidency or Jadobpoor) are displayed over the cots. The infant is exposed to the best of Bengali thought - Marx, Bentham, Kalidas, Tolstoy, Chekov*. This increases the sizes of their heads and the height of their ambitions. Similar examples, though rare, can be found in European tradition as well, like in the case of Mozart. In India, however, Bongs have the sole preserve on such activity during infancy.

Soon, when they grow up a little, their characters are honed in the best of schools. Here, I am not referring to the South Points, La Marts, Don Boscos and all. They are important in the nurture a Bong child goes through. What is even more important are the schools the Bong child passes through before school and after school. Many a Bong child wakes up at five o'clock in the morning to attend swimming classes. After one hour of swimming, he attends tennis coaching before rushing off to one of the South Points, La Marts etc. mentioned above. School finishes by two or so, from where he scoots along to Singing/ Instrumental Music/ Dance Classes, then tution (for atleast three of all five subjects). He rounds off the day with coaching on either Debating or Quiz.

Many a Bong mother will carry the child along through this day, feeling equally energised. This behaviour is again not restricted to Bongs. It also seen within kangaroos in Australia who rush along from one clump to another bush.

Growing up:
Soon the Bong attains adolescence, doesn't find friends of his age (since everyone is competing for the Nobel Prize or the Indian captaincy) and finds intimacy in conversation in his/her parents and poems of T.S. Eliot and Pablo Neruda.

When school ends, they move on to the good colleges- Presidency, Xavier's or IIT Kharagpur. The best of them, though, move straight to Joo (Jadobpoor). However, in recent years, Dilli (Stephen's obviously) is becoming the preferred destination for some escapists. In colleges, they decorate their rooms with books or portraits of Robi Guru (Tagore). On the opposite wall, men would have posters of Che/ Maradona and women would have Enrique Iglesias, thus expressing solidarity with Latin American culture. All of them share equal interest in the Bong-Rock (Bhumi, Chondrobindu, Cactus, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple).

Later Years:
Bongs mature early. Critics have said that they grow old early, but that is nothing but old hat. Years of toil and Eliot would obviously bestow wisdom. The reason they look older is because the sole purpose of a Bong's life is to win the Nobel Prize or the Oscars (and in recent years, captain the Indian team). With great responsibility comes great age. Add to it the chlorine in the swimming pools and you know why Bongs grey prematurely.

As far as their mission in life is concerned, they have been very successful at it. Every Indian Nobel Prize winner has been Bong. So have the Oscar Awardees. And most succesful Cricket Captains. And Bipasha Basu.

Once Bongs have kids though, their mission on life changes. The only raision de'etre for them is making sure that their progeny achieves the heights that they could (or couldn't). Hence, they (mostly the female of the species) are mostly found outside of schools, colleges and tution classes.

The male of the species doesn't stay behind. Not only do they contribute to their child's success by polishing their Black shoes (Mostly Bata's Bubblegummers) every morning, but also they create a culture of achievement and challenge. Every morning, they wake up around five-thirty or six to run to the market. The best fish has to be found and somehow, every Bong family gets the best fish in the market every morning. This fish sometimes helps in making murighonto or brain food, which can't be explained to non-Bongs and doesn't need to be explained to Bongs.

The other way the Bong creates and maintains a challenging environment is by standing in lines and gathering in groups. Many a Bong father has refused to go to the office on entire days, if he has spotted some michil (literally, a rally; mostly, six people standing in a line), on the way to work. They will instantly join the line at the end and start protesting or challenging. Sometimes, they find that the others in line are not alligned to the cause. A famous 'challenger' stood in a 'ration shop' line for two hours, protesting against atrocities in Vietnam all the time.
Some Bongs also get to start such movements. Everyone will claim that they did. This is analogous to finding the best fish.

Diet is as important as Robindro Shongeet. There's nothing that a Bong can't eat. However, they prefer protein over other food groups. The largest source of protein for them is fish, then meat, and then mishti (sweets) made from milk. More than fish itself, it is the knowledge of fish which is coveted and enjoyed.
Carbohydrates are tolerated if they are fried in oil or if it is accompanient to fish. Luchis (somewhat like a Puri), Telebhajas (pakoras) and Phuchkas (Paani Puri) are the favoured source of carbohydrates.
The young Bengali though invariably always has Farex, Lactogen and Waterbury's Compound.

As far as they most important meal of the day is concerned, please do note that what dieticians have been saying in the last few years, Bongs have known for centuries. Breakphast/ tiphphin is an occasion where the entire family comes together, to watch the office-going Bong male and school-bound Bonglings eat. The Bong woman's biggest fear is that "Shokale bhaat dal mach bhaaja na kheye beriye gailo" or "In the morning, He went out without eating rice, dal and fish fry." To round off the calories, Dal is often accompanied by aaloo bhaate, aaloo bhaja, potol bhaaja and various other heartily fried stuff. Not for the faint-hearted.

Mating and procreation:
A few Bong end up being in relationships, which lead to love marriage. This is sometimes shown in movies and song. However, most do not have any such social malignancy and end up marrying the woman of their mother's dreams or men of their father's choosing. This results in mixing the right genes for the next cycle of Bongs. Love marriage, by its very nature, is random. It sometimes results is tragedy, like marrying into another country (like India). Hence, it is avoided, wherever possible.

Social Life:
Adda, robindro shongeet and cha. Repeat. Do note that the young Bong doesn't have a social life (at least not till he wins the Nobel or gets a Government job).

And phootball. The Bongs have had an illustrious history of achievement in football. Every para (neighbourhood) has stories of when they won the World Cup at the expense of the next one. The last time it happened in my parent's para was in 1986, when Argentina won in Mexico. Diego Maradona, who looks Bhodrolok enough, give or take a few lines of coke, scored famously using his hand, a skill which he learnt in Kolkata. Over the last few years, Brazil has been gladdening the hearts of many Zicos who were born in Kolkata around 1982-86. The only team which is not Bong is Germany as they play with more efficiency and no creativity, which thus is not amenable to adda.

Do not ask of a Bong doing anything on the phootball field as then the Bong will keep you occupied about Jakarta, 1962. "Chuni Goswami je Ball tule dilo PK ke. Match-er aagei bolechilo, "Ekta Ball debo. Daam kore maarish. Gol hobe"." Chuni Goswami put a football up for PK (Banerjee). He told him before the match itself, "I will give you one ball. Hit it with a bang. Goal will happen." Obviously, it is also the crowning moment of Indian phootball.

While you may find a Bong in other places (like occasionally in offices), the best time to observe a Bong is in his natural habitat - the best of colleges, the best of schools, the best of coffee houses and the best of culverts on top of drains or on verandahs on the side of roads (aka the Rock). It is here that he will tell you about Balzac while she will recite poetry with gay abandon. To mix in with the Bong, apply Keo Karpin to your hair and carry a jhola. Hopefully, they won't notice your small head. Do not worry about not knowing the language as the Bong likes being heard.

A Bong's language is Bengali, which is amongst the top 10 languages in the world. However, it can be asked, as corrupted by CLR James, "What do they know of Bengali who only Bengali know?". A non-native speaker can make the mistake of asking "How are you?" to a Bong. In most non-refined languages and cultures, this is a question which is answered by aFine or a Sehr Gut or a Getting along. To a Bong, the question is an invitation to a discussion on logic and philosophy. And the state of the digestive system.

The Bong will not say, "Bhaalo Aachi" (I'm good) to "Kaimon Aachen?". Instead he will tell you about his piles, his pituitary issues, the prawns he ate last week and the stress he is going through at work which is the cause of his mother-in-law's ulcers. Frequent mention will be made of "Amasha" (dysentry) and "Ombol" (Burning sensation in the stomach). These are not to be taken lightly, in life and in conversation. Hence, if you want to get in the good books of the Bong, carry a strip of Gelusil or Pudin Hara, or even better, a bottle of Jowaner Alok. At the very least, drop those names frequently. Soon the discussion will reach rarified heights of Hegel and Kant.

Famous Bongs:
Many famous Bongs have been referred to in this extract. Hence, this section is used to debunk that big myth about Bongs. People believe that Bong men can't be hunky.

If so, then what about Abhishek Bachchan (via mother), Saif Ali Khan (via mother), John Abraham (via girlfriend), Hritik Roshan (via grandmother) and Tapash Pal (photo attached)?

Bongs in Literature, Film, Art:
Everywhere you care to look.

Closing Word:
Being Bong at the end of the day is a state of mind. Or, a case of being discovered by them. Best of Luck.

Find out about the adda here.
Find out about why you should also use Keo Karpin here.
Read the reason for the Monkey cap here (Scroll down a little).
For Jadobpoor University, visit their website. It says that it is University with Potential for Excellence. Soon, to be turned into performance, I believe.
Find useful uses of protein here.
Find useful Bengali terms here. Includes gems like Dishpenshari.
Find language speakers data here. Bengali does well.
Finally, find out about the kangaroo here and Mozart here.

Big thanks to everyone who has suggested improvements. I wish this could be made into a wikipedia entry and people could add their thoughts without moderation. However, since this isn't (yet), I would like to add that I will keep on updating my entry.

First update: 'Letter sets in the Alphabet' is a phenomenon strictly dedicated to Bongs. Till now, two examples have been found - P and M. These sets stand for a few things a Bong can't do without (Phish, Phootball, Phestibal, Mangsho (meat), Mod (alcohol)) and a few things a Bong wishes he can't do without (Phuck, Maagi). More details in comments.

Second update: Another way of identifying the young Bonglet is that he/ she will carry a water-bottle and an umbrella for the afternoon sun. This is similar to the Monkey Cap as it will be carried regardless of weather. I have mentioned in the comments that a Bongling's mother will wait outside schools with replacement water bottles and umbrellas. Except for during tests and exams, when the replacement water bottle is replaced with daaber jol (tender coconut water), which is to a Bongling what a Bhindi is to a Tam Brahm child.

Third update: I have been asked to write about phootball. Now, we can actually write many blogs on phootball. Hence, I decided to leave it out (other than a passing reference to Maradona). However, with popular demand, phootball is now featured within the social life section.

Fourth update: Two things have to be mentioned. 1) Rockbaji, which is confused with adda, but isn't. 2) Bisshojit, who is the father of Prosenjit, who slept with Aishwarya Rai and Raima Sen in Chokher Bali, in the hunks section. Bisshojit himself was the inspiration for such cinematic drama when he kissed a 15-year old slob called Bhanurekha way back in the 1960s. This was even before Bhanurekha turned Bong in Parineeta. Two things should be known about Bisshojit - firstly, he was quite a looker and second, he was always overshadowed by Uttom Kumar** (literaly Best Adolescent) as you can see in the photo attached. Bisshojit is wearing the white shirt and is not smiling.

Fifth update: Need to include terrific suggestions made by a reader. Diet section now has a special section on breakfast/ tiffin while physical description has been updated with a description of the Bongling at school.

Sixth update: Need to mention the Bong constitution which is under constant attack from pathogens and what Bong fathers do while Bong mothers run around a Bongling. Thanks for the tips. Am waiting for someone to update me on AP-gun snow and 'bangali cheler preme pora''.

*This is not a recent phenomenon. In 1877, Bankim Chandra described the complete Bangali:
"When we meet this character in the drawing room of the hero of the novel we find him opening his conversation with social and political topics, turning the pages of Shakespeare Gallery, discussing the characters of Desdemona and Juliet as well as the characters of Indian classical literature like Sakuntala, Sita, Kadambari, Vasavadatta,, Rukmini and Satyabhama. Next he takes up ancient historiography and gives a masterly exposition of classical historians like Tacitus, Plutarch, Thucydides and others. Contemporary philosophers and thinkers like Comte, Mill, Huxley, Owen, Darwin, Buchner and Schopenhauer also form the subjects of his discussion."
** Do not ask me write about Uttom, for there are waters that even I fear to tread. Well, not really.


Blogger maverick said...

bravo bravo!

eigulo to bhule gele:

Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:02:00 AM

Blogger Vikrant said...

bheri beheri funny...

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:10:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hilarious but unfortunately the breed described in this post is a fast disappearing one - these days in kolkata the boys play with beyblades, the students just want to be seen at the Forum and if you ask a group of youngish bengalis about rabindra sangeet, they are apt to look at you strangely.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:25:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Maverick, Thanks. Knew I will miss out on some.

Vikrant, thanks.

Anon, sorry to hear that. But as they say, you can take a Bong out of a coffee house, but you can't take a adda out of a Bong. Hope that's what's happening in Forum? I like the word 'youngish', btw. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:42:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abhishk Bacchan is also UPite (via grandfather) - lookie you gotts to share greedy bong!

hilarious post btw =D

Thursday, April 06, 2006 4:14:00 PM

Blogger Nirav said...

Good one...

I think the famous 3 Ms of Bongs deserved a mention:
Mod, Mansho aar Maagi

Also, you could have added that in the growing up stage, the permanent accessories that a bong carries with him is a chhata (umbrella) and a water-bottle!

Was really hilarious :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 6:49:00 PM

Blogger bluesky said...

Hilarious !

Thursday, April 06, 2006 7:28:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Dee, Thanks. We believe in sharing obviously. Would love to share in any of your successes, though don't know whether Abhishek Bachchan can be calld one!

Nirav, Many thanks. How can I forget the chhata and water-bottle. Not only is the young bong loyal to these, his/ her mother would also carry replacements while standing outside his many schools. Definitely worth mentioning.

Bluesky, Thanks. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:49:00 PM

Blogger 13thpsycho said...

A truly 'Nobel Prize'-winning piece of work!

Ronny (Dips-er Bhai)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:01:00 PM

Blogger DiTtY said...

That was hilarious! :) Or should I say "phataphati"?! :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:05:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

13th, Thanks. I recognised you the moment you landed, by the way. Write more for the ballgame, will you?

Ditty, :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:47:00 PM

Blogger doubtinggaurav said...

No mention of Maidan???

Are you really bengali ? ;-)

And now a random snetence.

Sonar Gachi Ami Aschi

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:09:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Gaurav, sorry. I haven't spent more than 12 collective months of summer vacation in Kolkata and thus, hang my head in shame.

Can you tell me more about the Maidan? All I could see there were some Bonglings playing phootball and some old Dadus taking walks.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:37:00 PM

Blogger Falstaff said...

dhoomk2: good stuff. not to quibble, but shouldn't there be more football though?

Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:44:00 PM

Blogger doubtinggaurav said...

"All I could see there were some Bonglings playing phootball and some old Dadus taking walks."

Horror , horror.

Thou shall not take name of phootball in suc frivolous way.

OK, I am not bengali or ever lived in Kolkota, but from I have seen of Kolkata, Maidan used to have a prominent place in Kolkata society.

I think even today Maidan is very popular


Friday, April 07, 2006 12:06:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Falstaff, added phootball.

Gaurav (or is it doubting?), I can never be phrivolous about phootball. I have added an entire section on phootball now to help prove this.
I can, though, be phrivolous about the moidaan (though not in this post). Though not about the Lake.

Friday, April 07, 2006 12:23:00 AM

Anonymous dodo said...

"There are two kinds of Bengalis that I know. Probashi or Expatriate Bangalees,...And Bengalees who are from Kolkata..."

Dunno much friend, but i heard there is a place called West Bengal (apart from kolkata)where a few bengali still live...now i think i was misinformed...west bengal might be some paRa inside kolkata

Friday, April 07, 2006 1:47:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Dodo, you were misinformed. But that's okay. Bongs can forgive this rather common mistake.

Friday, April 07, 2006 2:01:00 AM

Blogger shub said...

hilarious! nice insight :D

Friday, April 07, 2006 2:17:00 AM

Anonymous rishi_roy said...

jhinku.....puro jhinku lekha....aami ishtanding ovation dichhi....uff hebi

Friday, April 07, 2006 2:49:00 AM

Blogger Mr. D said...

This is probably your most happening post so far.


Friday, April 07, 2006 3:08:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Shub, Rishi, Thanks.

Dibyo, what do you mean by happening? Do you mean most people have liked it (likely, but not sure), most people have visited (no, that was for a post on Chinese censorships which had Naked Women and Gong Li in the post!) or that you liked it most (in which case are you saying you didn't like wedding post more than this?). Please explain.

Friday, April 07, 2006 3:20:00 AM

Anonymous debanuj chakraborti said...

u need to post this to sum newspaper...its simply gr8...celebrating the bengali culture just in the eve of poila boishakh...u deserve sum awward for riting this....but can also mention the 3 M's...bong's rock...

Friday, April 07, 2006 3:49:00 AM

Blogger K said...

But almost everything you talk about is about Probashi's like me. End of the day, the moment you cut the umbilical cord with Cal you're probashi (no insult to those from Durgapur/Asansol/Siliguri etc).. Being Bong is a state of a mind that despite cutting this cord will always persist.
From someone who was once called 'Bong Bong'...

Friday, April 07, 2006 4:32:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Debanuj, if you have contacts in the newspaper industry which will publish such encyclopedic entries, please let me know. Others, same applies to all of you.

Bong Bong!! Welcome. I missed some of your point. I thought I was writing about my cousins growing up in Kolkata and relatives and friends I have observed. I agree with you on the point of the umbilical cord though.

Friday, April 07, 2006 5:01:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oorei phadar,ki dilen dada! this is one of the best pieces I have read on us. Having been born a probashi bong (a product of a love marriage - yes, my phader did dare to do so !!)- I have had similar experiences on our annual homage (read summer holidays)to bongland (read kolkatta). It has always been drilled into our heads about our "lineage" and achievements of our forefathers, thats the glory that my family still lives on !!

Keep it up - try and do one on the probashis too - a breed on their own!

Friday, April 07, 2006 9:21:00 AM

Anonymous Aloha said...

Bokachoda - what about "bidi" a.k.a cigarette ? And "Rock baji" ?

Friday, April 07, 2006 10:47:00 AM

Blogger Red said...

LOL at Taposh Pal. You should read Greatbong's post on Bengali women though http://greatbong.net/2005/07/18/hottie-hottie-bong-bong/

Friday, April 07, 2006 2:27:00 PM

Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

It's been ages since I saw a pic of the aloo-bhatey that is Tapas Pal. Bong hunk indeed!

But this whole "all Bongs are from Cal" is perpetuated not just by Bongs from Cal, but others too.

My mom was born and raised in Durgapur, and has never lived in Cal, and yet when someone would ask her in Delhi where she was going for her vacations, the reply would always be "Oh hum log to Kalkatta ja rahe hain"!

Friday, April 07, 2006 3:47:00 PM

Blogger Mr. D said...

I had thought this was the most commented upon in terms of quantity and width of readers.
The wedding post was simply a sublime work of art that not everyone can be expected to get. This is more accesible to junta.

Friday, April 07, 2006 7:24:00 PM

Blogger Mr. D said...

oh, and nice taposh pal touch.... how come bishshojeet didn't feature? how come gumboda didn't protest the exclusion of bishshojeet?

Friday, April 07, 2006 7:26:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Anon, Thanks. Probashi would be too difficult a task for me. I will have to rise above/ go down below my brethren and look. I agree someone should do it.

Aloha, Rockbaji can also be added, will be done. Thanks. Bidi?? I think that is a Pan-India phenom. Tell me more.

Red, have read the Greatbong. True insight there.

Thalassa, Similar experiences here. However, Bongs I believe also stay in Howrah. Have to find out more, I guess. :-)

Dibyo, understood.

Dibyo, Bisshojeet will be added.

Friday, April 07, 2006 8:29:00 PM

Anonymous wimpy said...

how can you even think of writing a post about bongs without a mention of the soottah?

Friday, April 07, 2006 11:09:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

onek din pre ekta bhalo article porlam..

Sunday, April 09, 2006 12:18:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about mothers buying school skirts for daughters which shoot below her knees because "porer bochor o lomba hoye gele abar notun skirt kinte hobe!!"
what about "shokale bhaat dal mach bhaaja na kheye kaaje berobe na...?"
what about mothers telling fathers "cheler juto ta PAALISH kore diyo"

Monday, April 10, 2006 12:40:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Wimpy, I just did. However, as I have said before, I am open to some suggestions on the sutta/ biri/ cighy section.

Anon, thanks

Anon, Thankings. Lovely insights (I can't believe I missed them). I guess I have to update my entry. Will be done, soon.

Monday, April 10, 2006 12:44:00 AM

Anonymous Joy said...

Y A W W W W N . . . .

Monday, April 10, 2006 6:44:00 AM

Anonymous Et2 said...

You forgot to mention "Kal-char" (Culture).... i.e. Bong's are the most Kal-charred lot and of course, Kolkatta the most Kal-charred city.....

Monday, April 10, 2006 10:44:00 AM

Anonymous Et2 said...

what about mothers telling fathers "cheler juto ta PAALISH kore diyo"


"Mer sandal taar BOKLESS (buckless) bendhe diyo !"

Monday, April 10, 2006 10:47:00 AM

Blogger wendigo said...


am plugging you.

Monday, April 10, 2006 3:26:00 PM

Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Very nice indeed, sir. Do keep updating and adding.

A lot of what you write about in this post has actually passed into the realm of nostalgia. On that note, you could add something on "Ap-gun Snow" (very popular even in childhood, though less so now) and the ubiquitous streaks of talcum.

Boroline and Jobakusum were probably more common than Keo Karpin.

The other thing - no self-respecting Bangali will say "Bhalo achhi" when asked "Kemon achhen?"

And how can you discuss Bangali without mentioning "amasha" and "ombol"?


Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:24:00 AM

Blogger incognito said...

In this context I wd also like to remeber "shokal chhotaye uthe bajaar kora" of all middle aged bengali fathers... playing carrom during office lunch time - 2 PM to 4 PM... and of course giving insightful political speeches standing on broken benches to a slogan shouting crowd of 20 odd people...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:24:00 AM

Anonymous Disha said...

I guess u missed out the 'bangali cheler preme pora' which i feel is an integral part of youngish bongs... a nice post indeed :D

Thursday, April 13, 2006 4:57:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Joy, ok. ghumiye poro.

Et2, kal-chaar! (now rolls his eyes and looks at heaven) Do you think I am capable of taking on the task of documenting kal-chaar? Okay, will do.

Wendingo, Thanks for the plug!!

Prufrock, Thanks. Yes, Amasha and Ombol will definitely feature. How could I miss this? Boroline, also. In my family there was a great regard for Seven Seas Cod Liver oil, which have posted here. That also perhaps. However, AP-Gun? I must ask my mother, now? When was your childhood?

Incognito, Thanks. Will write about giving speeches and attending speeches. I know of people who get down from their office buses, the moment they see a crowd/ line on the street. Just to participate. Such political ambition!

Disha, Thanks. I don't know this and what I am guessing is not making sense in the puritanical context. My cousins were prudish, I guess. Please elaborate.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:49:00 AM

Blogger nowheregirl said...

kolkata'r meye akhon bombey te probashi... next time keu jakhon jigabe "so you are a bong hahn", i am definitely going to send that person here... lol...

Friday, April 14, 2006 2:00:00 AM

Blogger The Hidden God said...

very very good article indeed. But every Indian Nobel Prize winner is not a bong. C V Raman is not a bengali.
write some about bengali marriage like
Paka dekaha, boubhat and of course Phul sajja.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:19:00 PM

Blogger HutumpaNcha said...

jompesh likhecho. re-read kore will give tipsh for improvement

Sunday, April 16, 2006 2:24:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

I am being lazy and not updating. Promise to do this tomorrow.

Nowheregirl/ Hutumpancha, Thanks.

The Hidden God, such travesty. Are you really a bong?!! Please go here for understanding how CV Raman is also a Bong. 15 years in Kolkata, please remember. Yes, Bong marriage will be written about. Especially, eating in the first batch.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 12:59:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing -- chaliye jao!

A good piece on amasha/ombol (Prufrock's suggestion, which I second) that might help you in your update appeared in the Hindustan Times, 26 Oct 2005, Edit Page. OFF TRACK by Tarini Desai (Title:STOMACH THIS). If you can't find it, I do have a text file somewhere.

Another phrase, equivalent to thanda legey jaabe, that I grew up with was "Jawl niye ghanta-gahnti koro naa!"

--- Carioca Probashi (the red dot in Rio on your ClustrMap).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 7:31:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Hi Carioca,
Welcome to 22nd floor! I couldn't find the article that you mentioned on the net. Will post it, if you can send the text file to me.
And I can almost see another post on Bong phrases. This one's getting too unwieldy!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 7:50:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hindustan Times 26 Oct Edit Page. OFF TRACK / Tarini Desai


It's no laughing matter. To learn that most of the pills we pop on a regular basis are "irrational, useless or needless" makes one feel rather foolish. The issue really is about how we use harmless pills to dull ourselves into believing that we just administered ourselves a dose of 'good health'. But to be honest, all that worried me -- after I stopped laughing, that is, whatever are my Bengali friends to do now? Lest this unleashes a wave of indigestion, let me assure readers that there is no offence meant here. But, it must be acknowledged, even if research has yet to prove it, that Bengalis must be thanked fortunes for raked in by Digene sales. And Gelusil sales for that matter .Agreed tht there's nary an urban household in India oblivious to Digene or Liv 52, but the world will agree, honorary Bongs included, that there exists an uncanny link between digestive medicine and Bengalis.
The morning rush hour in most houses is a matter of routine. For Bongs it is almost a ritual, for mothers of little boys, a harassment. I know of quite a few kids hoisted upon the toilet seat and made to sit there until....Little wonder that Bengalis grow up reading so much.
Even as I write this, a non-Bengali colleague (the world is divided between Bengali and non-Bengali people) chipped in with his tale.Marrried to a Bengali, he was a bit taken aback when he realised that a criterion to judge whether he, as a guest, was comfortable in a Bengali uncle's home, was to enquire about his daily visitation to the loo and judge the experience thereafter. For a non-Bengali, this parameter can be a bit of a shocker. But as anyone visiting relatives in Calcutta (where meals have no name) will agree, the natural corollary to any post-meal protestation, is, "There's Digene". And imagine my amazement at a neighbour postponing his house being whitewashed because, hand on stomach, “it wasn't cleared today".
Bengalis would, of course, much rather talk of their forefathers in light of their contribution to things like drafting the Constitution, and it is but natural that there is little engagement on their collective weak constitution. But the fact of the matter is that a Bengali household, in some degree or the other, is conditional into making peristalsis, what else, a mass movement.
Many a heart was broken when Helicobacter Pylori took all the credit for causing ulcers. Stress, mutton cutlets and tele bhaja could no longer be blamed. But there was succour in the bottles that formed the gastric line-up: Digene, Aqua Ptychotis, Carmozyme. What are these men going to do now? It's not even a condition that you develop with age.
It may be interesting for geneticists trying to crack genome intricacies to conduct a survey of this Bengali condition. Does a protein sequence trigger it off ? Or, Dr Watson, it is all very alimentary? Maybe they can call the study "The Great Bengali Bowel Movement".

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:58:00 AM

Blogger Shreemoyee said...

Strip of Gelusil or Pudin Hara, or even better, a bottle of Jowaner Alok. -Yeah essestials of life.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 10:38:00 PM

Blogger Achtlandia said...

i am just wonderin why i wsnt here earlier dude...daroon! i am lubhing it! just 2 things i wanna add here:

i know u mentioned all nobel/oscar winners, but since u mentioned robi thakur explicitly, satyajit ray has got to be thr. come on man...pheluda is still alive n kicking for all who have been exposed to it!

one common complaint i get from other communities: how is it that u bongs eat everything? and that doesnt mean the wonderful part on the diet, but jol-o khao, hawa-o khao, ar cigarette-o khao? not just solids, but liquids and gases as well?

Friday, April 21, 2006 12:49:00 AM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

Hilarious! I sent this to a Bong colleague who is still in splits as I type this. When I queried him about CV Raman (who won the Nobel), not being a Bong, he said that since Mr. Raman studied in Cal, he is definitely a Bong. Seems he was called Romon-da.

He was also wondering if "thanda lege jaabe" can be included somwhere as an integral part of all Bong Mother worries about Bonglings.

Friday, April 21, 2006 3:12:00 AM

Blogger progga said...

Hysterical... and oh so true!
How about some Bong mothers who will stand at the bottom of a staircase while full-grown son is walking up to an exam, and call, "Babai, hishi korechhish?"!!
Not to mention Bong pride in Howrah Breeze (on nice days, there's a pleasant bridge obher eet too)?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:57:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

u missed out on photua pore kandhe jhole niye lake dhare hanta maybe gaarlphrend er sathe..

Friday, May 05, 2006 3:10:00 AM

Blogger corporate whore said...

You also missed out the semi - intellectual bong who is torn by the options of sticking to bibuthibushan and waiting for it to become cult OR embracing something more modern. And he settles for a clever mix of the two - colonoal literature like Tintin and Sherlock Holmes. (am yet to meet a bong who doesnt like either)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 9:16:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dada likhechho bhaloi kintu koyekta jinish to bangali shombondhe na bolle complete hoy na ... pujo aar pujoy thakur dekha ... bangalir intellectual festival boimela ... choitro sale-e phutpath theke shostay kenakata kora ... ei shomoy borolok hok aar gorib hok ... phhotpathe ekta durdanto deal na pele bangali grihinir chole na ... annandabazar patrika ... kolkata chharleo eta chharte parini ekhono ... aar tash khela ... kono bangali kerani shunechho je chhutir dine tash khele na???

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:32:00 PM

Anonymous vinod said...

Thanks. This was delightful. esp. for those of us who've left the adopted "matherland" years ago - I'm wiping tears. Hope to see this one grow.

Friday, June 02, 2006 12:34:00 AM

Blogger Saraansh said...

Simply brilliantly written.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 12:58:00 PM

Blogger karu said...

Ummmm...feeling sleepy...over eating...oily..crispy...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:30:00 PM

Blogger First Rain said...

Pode daroon laglo! Chaliye jao...

The atmospehere in Kolkata is quite undescribable at the time of a phootball world-cup.

Bhableyi kemni phootbole laati marte ichche kore :D

Thursday, June 08, 2006 4:10:00 AM

Anonymous Stolichnaya said...

*wondering* If a Bengali infant is termed as a Bongling and a Bengali child a Bonglet, what would you call someone who is a Bengali King? A Bongking!!!! Heh! Heh! Heh!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 5:16:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent post, kintu how can you miss khisti, lake, central park and nondon????

Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:54:00 PM

Blogger Dipanjan said...

Great stuff, dhoomketu. Some minor quibbles and a few additions.

1)Bongs have been great at cricket even before dada ruled the world, so the ambition to lead Indian cricket team is nothing new for us. I mean just look at the 83 world champions:

Kopil Deb
Amor Nath
Bheng Sarkar
Jash Pal
Gabhas Kar(his parents picked a non-Bengali first name to rhyme with Abhas and that's why he sucked)

2) Speaking of non-Bengali, have you ever heard of non-Oriya, non-Punjabi or non-Marwari? That proves something. I don't know what.

3) You must put some stuff on ghoti-bangal and Mohun Bagan-East Bengal matches in the phootball section

4) About bisshojit, don't forget Kismat. In drag he looked hotter than Babita. Now how many non-Bengali hunks can manage that?

5) Bong Hindi. We all know that Hindi, the language of the khottas, is a just a subset of Bengali. Just change the verbs a bit, throw in some accent, add some random hai and hua and you have hindi.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 10:47:00 PM

Blogger Joy Forever said...

Darun laglo pore, kintu Durga Pujo koi? Ar Boimela? Digha/Puri/Darjiling/Shantiniketan berate jawa? Ar half cup cha?

Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:28:00 PM

Anonymous adg said...

ei je guru ... aapni to dekhi daaroon kahani lakhen ... ei baar aamar moton probashi bangali der baare lakhen, nijer chestha-chorcha shunar moton kono anondo nei go ...

kokhono dekha hole besh jome adda hobe ... aar je dekhchi, brajeel tu fata-fati phorm te aache ...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:50:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant - Press on Regardless!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 8:18:00 PM

Blogger Oirpus said...

Needless to say that this is perhaps the closest one can get to a Bong description .... however the Bongs have this immense succeptibility to aamasha a perpetual nuisance that makes them run for the loo with a garu... and their immense liking for the Entroquinol (for obvious reasons)

Monday, October 16, 2006 2:12:00 AM

Blogger Shuv said...

boss..this was sheer genius..got this 'rochona' as a bulk forward and loved it so much that i used up all my blogosphere contacts to try and trace the author..finally landed here..permission to link it from my blog?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 9:36:00 PM

Blogger Loki said...

genius man! loved every bit of this post. although i'm not a bong but associated to them bhery bhery closely.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 2:27:00 AM

Anonymous Sandeepa said...

A very well written piece...kudos!!
You could had touched on:
1. Durga Puja, and the rush for "Sharad Samman", Asian paints is delegintly at it till date.
2. Bibekanondo park and the phuchkas, bhelpuri and chaat
3. Boimela

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:50:00 AM

Blogger Sonya said...

You missed out on Cantherdine and Jobakushum oils, phuckas and jhaal muris, Flury's and Moulin Rouge, Pujos with women laden with every piece of jewellery they own in spagetti strap blouses and unshaved extra hairy under-arms.

Monday, March 05, 2007 7:13:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also forgot forsha faces, at the pujos thanks to Pond's Dreamflower talc, running down the necks and ample cleavages in rivulets after a hard workout of bhog eating ceremony.

Monday, March 05, 2007 7:18:00 AM

Blogger Omar Cruz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, March 17, 2007 11:44:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bokachoda bangali bokachodayi royey galo. The mass murder by your Chief Minister proves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:03:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amra Bangalira nijeder leg-pulling eo noble prize pete pari.30yrs aage ja ghotechilo,ekhono sei hochhe!!!!bangalir unnati bangali e sahjyo korte pare na!!!

Boka***** dol!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:09:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toder matn kotogulo funtoosh bengali der jonyo ei amaader jaattar ei abastha.
Tor Baba bengali and Maa ta ki Delhi r GB road er kono basinda chilo

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 2:51:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is brilliant.. Don't know how I missed it for so long..
btw, have you noticed another guy doing a cut and paste job of this blog in rediffland.. and google search shows his entry first... maybe you should drop in a line or something...

Monday, August 06, 2007 8:03:00 PM

Anonymous sesh said...

Very funny! And I'm so happy to read something where Bong names are spelt correctly - often Bongs think that writing Biswajit or Prasenjit or Anurag when they actually mean Bisshojeet or Proshenjeet or Onooraag will somehow not be confusing for non-Bongs.

One thing I didn't see though - there is no mention of baari-r naam! You must be a true Bong yourself if you missed out on writing about that. Only Bongs can fail to see the humour in calling their little Bonglets Poogloo or Bimbo or Bebloo until they are middle-aged ...

Saturday, September 15, 2007 7:31:00 AM

Anonymous sesh said...

My girlfriend just reminded me that I should of course have written "daak naam".

And she told me some other stupid names too - from insulting ones like Pocha (rubbish), Bhombol (stupid) and Puku (I think - meaning insect?) to whimsical ones like Deem mamu (Uncle Egg) and Maakhon dadu (Grandfather Butter) all the way to the plain nonsensical Ghapu, or Gogol.

Saturday, September 15, 2007 10:26:00 PM

Anonymous anuta83 said...

hello, i'm a Russian. i run a site about bengali language in russian. may i translate this article and place it on my site along with the link of this blog? thank you

Friday, October 17, 2008 2:43:00 AM

Blogger calcuttakid said...

What You have missed out is that Bengali babus have been going for Body Building to the different gymns in the city like that of Late Sri Bejuda( Bejoy Mullick ) Gymn (Late Uttam Kumar was a desciple and so was yours truely )to get physically fit,put on a few muscles all around, just before getting married.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 6:27:00 AM

Blogger Nusrat said...

Bhai, no mention of bangals in this? You do mention that the Kalkatians are a subset, but somehow the ghoti/bangal, ilish/chingri divide need to be factored in for a more 'nuanced' discussion, don't you think?

Monday, December 28, 2009 1:34:00 PM

Blogger Meghpeon said...

Amazing! lol. What about the bong hottie though? the beauty with the brains who wants to be the next bonolota sen. :P

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:15:00 AM

Anonymous Anindya said...

I'm about four years late in discovering and reading this gem...this is a riot!

I salute thee.

But I can see that:

1. everyone has spelt Po-senjit wrongly
2. Along with Robithakur, Manik-da ( yes, there is always only one degree of separation between him and *any* Bong), no mention of our third Holy Cow - Netaji??

Had it not been for Gandhi-ji's and Beetees govt's machinations, wouldn't we have gotten our independence like, 8-10 years ealier?

Bhuley gechho sheshob?

Oh. Tripuri arr Horipoora eleksaan-e Gandhi-e sui-ey diechhilo guru...aar sei Presy's siri-te Oten byata ke thhaappor?

Ooff, gaaye kaanta deye (Jaanish, my grandfather was there when the slapping happened)

Also, along with monkey cap, I believe the "maaflaar" should find an honorable mention.

Also, the upwardly mobile aapaar mideel class Bong goes to Bheektoria not Dhakuria Lake for morning walks, passing Gorer Maathh on the way.

Again, while eating out - no mention of "Chow Mein", our national dish?

And proud mothers who would put an end to all after-school (Child-picking up time) conversations with the deathly "Anirban/Debashish ebaaro onko te 100-e 100 peyechhe"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 5:34:00 AM

Blogger Rhea said...

I just found this! Delightful read. :-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:30:00 AM

Blogger The knife said...

I came onto this from Bong mom's. I think your post has been a subject of email forwards but loved reading it once again.

How about adding a part to our reverence to cricketing dinosours, as Rakhi Mashi said, "mera dada ayega"

Talking of 'chhaata', what about 'chhok' at Victoria?

Thursday, March 25, 2010 1:51:00 AM

Anonymous Kirti said...

Really phani.... However, you missed the Bong's addiction to smoking. I mean, can you be an antel if you don't have a Charminar dangling from lips?

Thursday, March 25, 2010 6:22:00 AM

Blogger Debayan said...

Holy. Epic.

Thursday, April 08, 2010 7:39:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

shoot em all....

Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:00:00 AM

Blogger Priyanka Chatterjee said...

I see a list of praise there for you. But sorry to say..ur knowledge of bongs seems quite limited to what you have seen ..n not an in depth study. The concepts of "monkey cap" "Adda" n all does not explain bong community. Try checking out on other communities as well whose adda starts with food and ends in one line. And there are "youngish" crowd, other than bongs ,who have no idea of the person who has written their national anthem.

There are lot where Bongs excels and you just lost those essence in the crowd.

But definitely nice observations :)

P:S being a JUite can say one thing..oii "Joo" te onno jibon ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:27:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kolkatay sab akhon baler bangali thake...If u want 2 see actual bengali den u hv 2 come outside kolkata(village side).

Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:28:00 AM

Anonymous cheap football jerseys said...

hilarious but unfortunately the breed described in this post is a fast disappearing one - these days in kolkata the boys play with beyblades, the students just want to be seen at the Forum and if you ask a group of youngish bengalis about rabindra sangeet, they are apt to look at you strangely.

Sunday, November 25, 2012 7:19:00 PM

Anonymous subhorup dasgupta said...

I really like the discussion thread. It reflects the breadth of topics that bongs would normally discuss. Good example of how far one can go if comment moderation is disabled.

Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:29:00 AM

Blogger gaurimart said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

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Monday, December 24, 2018 12:37:00 AM


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