The Gaali that is Bengali


The Gaali that is Bengali

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar


here’s nothing sexy about being Bengali. We’re loud, pretentious, dramatic, and often argue just for the sake of it. We’re not famous for being particularly good-looking, and we aren’t much fun either. As a result, I spent my entire childhood trying to avoid my “vast and glorious heritage”, of which I was reminded on a regular basis by my Banglaphile (if that’s a word) Didu (naani).

Being a shehri bachcha, I was able to steer clear of all the Bengaliness on a day-to-day basis. All my friends were from different parts of India (far more exotic than Bengal), so most were ignorant about my regional peculiarities. Unfortunately, my maternal grandparents lived in Shantiniketan, house of all things Bengali, where watching the entire population collectively orgasm over some obscure Bengali poem or song wasn’t an uncommon sight. My mother forced us on to the Shantiniketan Express about three to four times a year for heritage-related indoctrination.