I don't believe in stereotypes but some of the things in the following 'forwarded email' do ring true. If you are Bengali, you are free to retaliate with a harangue against Kerala (the state to which I belong). And if you are not, am sure you have a Bengali friend who displays some classic Bengali behaviour. Ki bolchi tumi?
A is for Affice. This is where the average Kolkatan goes and spends a day at work. If he is in the Government, he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke an unfiltered cigarette at 2, break for tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 5. It's a hard life
B is for Bhision. For some reason most Bengalis don't have good bhision. In fact in Kolkata most people wear spectacles all the time. The effects of this show in the city
C is for Chappell. This is the Bengali word for the Devil - for the worst form of evil. In the night, mothers put their kids to sleep saying 'go to bed, or Chappell will come and take you away.'
D is for Debashish. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere. Sometimes, to be creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debnath and Deboprotim thrown in
E is for Eeesh. A common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that an average Bengali uses eeesh 10,089 times every year. (That's counting eeesh and other eeesh-ish words)
F is for Feesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are the favourite food of Bengalis. Despite the fact that fish markets have such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not he will say 'eeesh what feeesh is theesh!'
G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Shontuda, Montu, and Dinku. Whereas every Bengali girl will be Paromita or Protima as well as Shampa, Champa and Tuktuki. Basically your nickname is there to kiil your good name
H is for Harmonium. The Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles
I is for Ileesh. This is a feeesh with 10,000 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which a Bengali eats with releeesh
J is for Jhola. No self-respecting Bengali is complete without his jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in it. Even as you read this, there are 2 million jholas bobbing around Kolkata - and they all look exactly the same
K is for Kee Kando. It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando's agent is trying to hire Bipasha Basu)
L is for Lungi. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt Everest
M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half-buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living daylights out of Formula 1 race drivers
N is for Nangtoe. This is the Bengali word for Naked. It is the most interesting naked word in any language
O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to earache (oil in the ear), to cough (oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where)
P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are Mohunbagan and East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop
Q is for Queen. This really has nothing to do with the Bengalis or Kolkata, but it's the only Q word I could think of at this moment. There's also Quilt but they never use them in Kolkata
R is for Rabi Thakur. Many years ago Rabindranath Tagore got the Nobel Prize. This allows everyone in Kolkata to frame their acceptance speeches and walk with their head held high and look down at Delhi and Mumbai
S is for Sardarjee whom Bengalis are very envious of because he is born with a semi-monkey cap on
T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Of course if you are in a hurry it's faster to walk
U is for Ambrela. When a Bengali baby is born they are handed one
V is for Violence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent people around. When an accident happens, they will shout and scream and curse and abuse, but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1979
W is for Water. For three months of the year, the city is underwater and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this
X is for X mas. It's very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit up
Y is for Yastarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali
Z is for Jeebra, Joo, Jip and Jylophone
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