Wednesday, 25 July 2012


The characters in the conversations are married to each other. P, the better-half (the woman) and J, the other half (the man).

P: Do I look slim in this dress?
J: Can I be honest?
P: No.
J: You look like an hour-glass.
P: Ok. Honesty is the best policy.
J: Plump.

P leaves for some work.
P: Bye. Mwaaaah...
J: Kiser? Joynogor er?

P returns.
P: Wassup?
J: Now that you are here, you know what is up. (winks)
P: Hey you remember that first time we met?
J: Of course. How can I forget that? (sarcasm to be ignored)
P: Tell me what was I wearing?
J: Nailpolish.
P: what was I WEARING?
J: Earrings.
P: I am not Kate Winslet.
J: Oh that reminds me. I had better things to check about you. Sorry didn’t notice what you were wearing.
P (singing loudly): “subhah hone na de ..shaam hone na de…ek dusre ko hum sone na de”…what do you think of the song? I love it.
J: It reminds me of our suhag-raat.
J: Lights off. Sounds off. Camera off. Action! (evil grin follows)

P (after watching Kahaani): I wish I was Vidya Balan.
J: You don’t need to. I find you better.
P: You sure? Or you drunk?
J: Sure. I mean she is way more beautiful and all. But it’s like, Beer works better for me on a June-afternoon, than a Blue label. Like that.
P: Whatever that means.
J: It means facts. Tui abar compliment bhebe phelish na. (Don’t mistake it as a compliment).
P trying a dark eye make up, a.k.a smoky look.
P: How do I look?
J: You look like Johny Depp.
P: Whaaaat??
J: Johny Depp. In “Pirates of the Caribbean”. (concentrates on the newspaper).
P seen here, wearing a dress which has all the colours of a rainbow and teased by random horny men on the street.
Men: Holi kaab hein? Kaab hein holi? (followed by wicked smirks)
P: J, they are eve-teasing and Eve is your wife. Stop them.
J (matter-of-factly): Tell them na, Holi is in March. Etobar jokhon jigesh korche (since they are asking so many times)
P: It’s so late. I don’t think we’ll get a Taxi.
J: Wait. I’ll hide somewhere. You stand alone on the street. Remember “akeli ladki khuli hui tijori ki tarah hote hein”. Taxis are bound to stop. Then I’ll jump in.
P: This is how you use your wife???
J:  Yes. Now do what I tell you.
P complaining.
P: Someone told me my nose resembles that of a PUG!.
J: Pug? Vodafoner kutta, you mean?
P: Don’t make it worse. Just Pug.
J:  Who said? Tell him or her, I like honesty.
J: By the way, that’s your cutest feature. And the comparison makes it cuter.
P: J

Similar conversation.
P: Your Mama (uncle) says my eyes are like a cow’s. Meanness is hereditary.
J: But it’s a compliment. Cows have beautiful eyes.
P: Never thought about it. Oh yes.
J: Told you. Better, do something about your double-chin before people start comparing it with that of a cow. (Gabbar Singh laugh follows).
P: Am I your Personal Secretary? Have you kept me ONLY to do all your work?
J: Yes. What else?
J: You can also sleep with me. Like Personal Secretaries. (winks away to glory).
They flip through their wedding album.
J: With so many of your relatives surrounding me, reminds me of something.
P: What?
J: Gulliver’s Travels.

In the midst of a serious discussion. P fuming.
J: You remember what was Oliver Twist’s best friend’s name?
P: How is that relevant? Anyways, whaat??
J: Master Bates.
P: If you ever had to have an extramarital affair, whom would you want it with?
J: Tor ta suni agey. (First you say).
P: Srijit Mukherjee, may be?
J: Bah.
P: You?
J: You.
P: J

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Banglar thhek...

“Bangalira thhek-ei sekhe”. True. Thhek/Adda or whatever you call it, imparts life’s greatest lessons on a Bong. To add to the above statement, “thhek ta jodi hoy maaler, tahole to kothai nei”…Hence this post. About “Bangalider banglar thhek”.
1.      Broadway Hotel: The day I heard about it, my first impression was “Hotel?? Decent na toh?” (I guess the term ‘hotel’ added to its name, makes one raise an eyebrow). And then one day, for a colleague’s farewell ‘thhek’, we chose Broadway. Standing in the heart of the office-para with Dalhousie Square at a stone-throw, the exact location is bang opposite Chandni Chowk Metro Station, behind Air India’s main office.
Huge yellow shuttered windows (‘Charulata’-style) are guarded with soot-laden screens. Long ceiling fans hang from soaring ceilings and their whining sound dull the busy honking exteriors of Ganesh Chandra Avenue. The walls are paneled in primordial dark wood. Cherry-red leatherette wooden chairs circle the old wooden table tops. The waiters have “matching” burgundy coloured outfits, except the chairs have more polish. However in places, the leather has worn out from them with sponge peeping their ways through.
The dull yellow walls, the oversized ceiling fans of East-India Company finish, the faded wooden exteriors gave me one impression, the last and the first. It’s the Coffee House for drinkers. It would not remind you of any faded grandeur; it will give you the feeling that it was like this for ages and there lies its grandeur.
 What classes Broadway apart is its choice of snacks. Alcohol makes you fat but the embellishments add to it. Broadway serves cucumber instead of peanuts and Bhujia (jhuri-bhaja). Chilled cucumber, sliced longitudinally into four with sprinkled black salt. Try it! Pure awesomeness.

2.      Blue and Beyond: Personally, my favourite drinking joint. It’s like, both Oly and this one were contenders and Oly lost one point for neatness. That way.
The roof-top bar-cum-restaurant of Hotel Lindsay stands tall on Lindsay Street, opposite Hogg Market (New Market).  No name could do more justice to it. Set on the 9th floor of the building, the view is breathtakingly beautiful. A picture of old Kolkata at its best. (Try the sunset) A bird’s eye view of the entire New Market, Corporation office along with Shahid Minar, High Court, Howrah Bridge, Statesman House, Birla Building, Indian Railway Office on one hand and Sudder Street, Ripon Street, a slice of Park Street on the other. The first time I saw my city from Blue and Beyond…the experience was of a thousand goose-bumps …totally.
There’s nothing to talk about the booze or the food, it’s just the over-all experience which snatches away the top position. I have been to B&B 180 times (plus-minus 5). On my first time, a senior in office was concerned and warned me, “It’s a Hotel. Men get girls drunk and then take them to a room. Be careful with whom you go”. “I am going with the gentleman I sleep with, everyday. I don’t mind sleeping with him one more time!” was my instant reply.
It’s infested with firangs and people assume that they pick up girls and use the Hotel for ‘ding-dong’ business. (The better-half says, “What Foreigners? Dekh bideshe ricksha chalay!”)
It’s true that these firangs often make passes at girls. It is the only place in the world where a man made a pass at me. And it added to the reasons why B&B is perceived with such great reverence. Had it not been for B&B, I would have never known my entire life, how to deal with such a situation.
Don’t be scandalised. If you haven’t visited B&B. you’ve missed a part of this city.
3.    Oly-pub: Technically the Olympia Bar & Restaurant (Daaknam: “Oly”) is considered one of the foremost watering holes of Calcutta. It’s not a hip place by any stretch of imagination and light-years away from being called a “pub”. But it oozes oomph like none other. Nested in the food-capital of the city, Park Street, it is the perfect destination to get real value for your hard-earned money (‘rokto-jol-kora rojgaar’), the greatest place to unwind for office-goers, students, first time drinkers, race-course bookies, poets, film critics, Ad-men, journalists and the like. It is said that Oly has been the breeding ground for some of the greatest poetries, films scripts and advertisements that Calcutta has seen. [Reminds me of the most common phrase at Oly: “Tumi ki koro bhai?” Answer: “Ami Creative”.]
Oly is without restrictions (except that the ground floor is only for men). You can sit there for hours, talk loudly, share seats with strangers and befriend them, not feel embarrassed even when the smoking section is positioned right next to the Ladies washroom and everytime you come across some ‘toilet-jokes’ shared by middle-aged men. If you are sharing a table with strangers, they will not ask you for your name, where you work or stay and how much is your ‘take-home’. You will bond on the basis of “Feluda, Neruda and Derrida”.
For the food. If Peter Cat stands for Chelo Kebab, Oly is synonymous with Beef Steak with pepper sauce. If you haven’t visited Oly, it’s an offence, but you have visited and not had their beef steak, it’s non-bailable. The other taste-bud-tickling items on the menu are Mixed Grill, Chicken ala-kiev, Chicken ala-oly, pork chops and ‘dalmut’ (the last one comes free with the alcohol). The French fries are delicious and it’s fun to share them with the friendly mice/rats when they pass below your tables occasionally.
For the alcohol. It is THE most generous alcohol joint in Kolkata. Not only in terms of price but in terms of the waiters (read angels) and their service. Pegs are measured religiously right infront of your eyes with a peg measurer as the waiter lets it spill over with your poison while being poured into the glass.
In addition, what sets Oly apart, is its non-pretence, earthy, no-frills approach. Check their ice-buckets! They are large, stainless steel made!! Oly is the perfect example of ‘All that is gold, does not always glitter’.

4.      New Cathay: It is surely not one of those places where you take a woman. It is typically a bar for office-goers, stags, college kids who have bunked college. I am being told by a Man, that New Cathay’s popularity reached such heights due to its close proximity to Regal, Elite, Society and Tiger. During their college days, men would head there for cheap booze after watching X-rated movies in the above theatres. Situated below the Grand Hotel on Chowringhee Road, it is a place which most will label as rowdy. ...filled with men who have X-Ray eyes.
But there’s a reason why it finds a place in my list. It is THE place where I first drank publicly. With college friends. We had to drink (for most, it was the first time) and New Cathay was the cheapest of them all. In addition, every place has its own specialties. Their liver curry and the fish-snacks are truly authentic and rare too. Also, the Nehru-cap clad waiters. Hard to find nowadays.
Rare also reminds me that they have live music! Live music, that lacks sophistication (unlike Someplace Else) and is way below Trinca’s standards. A little sleazy. But I loved it. Just like Old Monk never loses its charm in the midst of Jonnie Walkers. Like that.

5.      China Town: Situate in the eastern corner of Kolkata, on your way towards the Science City, is the China Town. Aroma of authentic Chinese food combined with the obnoxious stink of tanneries. That’s China Town/Tangra for you. Other than food and awesome quantities of it, you get booze in an amazing fashion. You can buy bottles instead of pegs. In any modest bar, a peg of an Antiquity or Royal Stag would cost you 150 bucks. Just imagine having/sharing 12 pegs. A flat 1800. On the other hand, here, you are given a bottle for 900 bucks. Those same 12 pegs for half the price! Isn’t that cool?    
There are more than 50 Chinese restaurants in China Town, the top picks being, Hot Wok, Beijing, Big Boss, Canton and Kim Ling. Most of them provide you separate rooms (for 15/20/30 people) if you are throwing private booze-parties.

6.      Shaw’s: Also known as Chhota Bristol and placed at one end of Metro-gali (off Lenin Sarani) the Shaw’s Bar does not encourage women, tyaansh pub-hoppers or snooty executives. In an age where drinking is often associated with sleaze and flesh trade, this bar claims to have kept its image Nirma-clean. The most humble of the bars discussed here, where tipplers share narrow benches (like tea-stalls) and hawkers hover around the tables ferrying snacks. Snacks include sliced ginger, aloo kabli, ghugni and chops. Oh yes, you cannot reserve a table here exclusively for yourself!!
Prices of alcohol are significantly low with an electric board displaying prices of brands on offer with relentless monotony. You have to pay for each peg as soon as they arrive your table, eradicating the chances for potential trouble-making once you are drunk.
I have heard that Ritwik Ghatak was a faithful patron. He would land at Chhota Bristol, whenever he was short of funds or was dissatisfied with a script.  
I have also heard that Shaw’s used to serve alcohol in earthen pots (“bhanr”). But am sure it’s a rumour. For that raw tipsiness, please visit.
     There are so many more. Someplace Else and Trincas are perceived by me with great admiration. However their failure to bag positions in this list, is because of the music. Wonderful to listen to, but unfit for addas, loud cheers and clatters, enthusiastic debates, inhibition-less laughter and fights.
      And, there are many more. Like Abcos, Triptis (my man affectionately call it ‘Strip-tease’ for reasons best known to him), Green Palace etc etc. Some other time, may be. 
     Till then, Cheers!!
Photo courtesy: Internet

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


As if enough has not been written already?
Nonetheless, this is an endless list. If we could brace ourselves and compile them in their entirety, we could put Rajnikant and the Sardars to shame.  However, this post is not about Bong-jokes. It’s about the words and phrases Bongs use here there everywhere, everyday. I think, there are things beyond “thanda lege jabe” or “chule keokarpin laga” which a Bong can be identified with. Our colloquial expressions have changed with time with a few expressions like “Boroline lagie ne”, “ki gorom poreche” and “Puri ghure ashi” finding their places in the Hall of Fame. But there is much beyond and here are some of my favourites:
1.   “Chap nish na”: (Take a chill pill): In the Bong dictionary of ‘most used terms’, this phrase ranks No. 1. With a Bong’s reputation of not finishing things on time, these words of assurance work like P.C. Sircar’s magic. There was a time when it was used only among ‘wong’ men, but its rising significance has bagged it a place in the Bong vocabulary of all ages, irrespective of sexes.  When followed by words like ‘Boss’ and ‘Guru’, this phrase reaches a different level altogether.

2.   “Lyath khachhi”: (I am lazing) : I asked a friend last Sunday, “Ki kheli dupure e?” (‘What did you have for lunch’). And her answer was “mutton and lyath”. A distorted version of “lethargy”, this term is perceived by Bongs with great reverence and admiration. It is a way of life and has risen to such standards that it is compared to food! After t-shirts reading “I love NY” or “I love Pranab Mukherjee”, it would be great to have some with “I love Lyath” scripted on them.

3.   “Ekta Jokes sunbi?” (Wanna hear one jokes?): The word “jokes” like ‘trousers’ is only used in plural when used by a Bong.

4.    “Ekta cold-drinks de to”: (Give me one cold-drinks): The other word apart from “jokes” which is used in plurals in all its manifestations.

5.   “Chol, maal khai!”: (Lets drink): The phrase itself makes you high, have you noticed? It is one solution for every occasion.

“Promotion hoeche/ maine bereche”.. (I have been promoted)
Reply: “chol maal khai”.

“O hya bole dieche” (She has said yes)…
Reply: “chol maal khai”.

“bou baaper bari geche”.. (My Mrs. has gone to her parents’ place)
Reply: “chol maal khai”.

“bou divorce debe boleche”… (My Mrs. has threatened divorce)
Reply: “chol maal khai”.

“bou divorce diechhe”.. (My Mrs. has become Miss)
Reply: “chol maal khai”.

6.   “Khawa!” (Give a treat): Just replace the replies in the paragraph above. Period.

7.   “Refuse korlen je? Number ta tookey police ke debo?”:  A Taxi in Kolkata is known for its high rate of refusal. If you stay in the outskirts of the city, like Behala, Budge Budge or Belghoria, taxi-drivers would make it look “Ki? Mars e thaken?” (You stay in Mars?). They know of three places (and ONLY three places): Airport, Howrah Station and Sector V. That’s it.

     In order to counter such misdemeanor, Bongs threaten that their registration numbers would be taken down and reported to the police. You get to hear this one phrase atleast 350 times a day out of which none gets lodged ultimately. ;) 
8.   “Bie-barir presentation kena hoeche?” (Have you bought gifts for the wedding?): If you are not recycling some tea-set, bed cover or an old Shawl, you have to buy a gift. And yes, you read that right. Gifts and presents are conveniently called‘presentation’! What kind?? Slide-shows? Powerpoint? Excel? LOL.

9.    Bibhotsho/ Jata/ Byapok: Words of ecstasy. Words of immense acclamation.  Bibhotsho literally means gruesome and jata means awful. However, Bongs have chosen using same words for diametrically opposite connotations.
Examples: “Ki bibhotsho gorom poreche!” (awful heat) as well as “Ki bibhotsho cinema banieche Srijit!” (awesome movie).
“Question paper ta ki jata set koreche mairi“ (awful question paper) as well as “jata namie dili to onsite project ta!!” (awesome job done).

Byapok’ does not have such nuances but its use is extensive. “Byapok mutton”, “byapok meye”, “byapok jayga” are some of the many.

10.  "Marketing korte jachhi": (We are going shopping): When uttered these three words, my husband’s instant reaction is “Marketing is something we do 13 hours a day in the office. For the sake of Gandhiji’s blessings. What you are doing is SHOPPING. And NOT Marketing (making it sound heinous). Please amend”. But we Bongs never make changes. Gariahat and New Market are all about marketing, right? (‘Poojor marketing’, ‘Bier marketing’ to name a few)?

11.  "Miss call dish" (Give a missed call): It is not a typo. We actually say MISS-call. Of the funny things we do with a mobile phone, (like treating it like a walky-talky, bringing it onto the mouth while talking), giving miss-calls is one of the many. We have a miss-call solution for everything. A signal for “I have reached”, an affirmation for ‘the movie tomorrow’, an indicator from the driver that he has reached your office parking, miss-calls are boundlessly useful.

12.  "Phone e balance nei" (There’s no talk-time in my phone): Inspite of surviving on missed calls, a Bong always runs out of balance. Always.

13.  "Ilish koto jachhe?" (How much is the price of Hilsa?) ‘Ilish koto jachhe’ is phenomenal. Just like “Sensex koto jache?” It’s true that a Bong is more concerned with the price index of Hilsa rather than of gold and stocks. Bongs make a comparative analysis of prices of fish (mainly this one) from various local markets and buy the best. A Bengali man’s claim to fame is through his efficiency in choosing the right fish and is considered at par with singing Rabindrasangeet by a Bengali woman. A Bong can even drive his way to Kolaghat from Kakurgachi for that one silver vertebrate. To add, you are not considered a Bong enough, if you buy fish from Spencer’s, Food Bazar or other retail outlets. It has to be from the local market after a detailed sensory perusal.

14.  "Anondobajar ki bolche?" (What are the views of Anandabazar?) Their ‘porte hoy, noile pichhie porte hoy’ campaign has affected the Bongs like no other. Reading Anandabajar is reading Gita/Quran/Bible. For the fear of ‘jodi pichhie jai r daak sune keu na ashe’ we often substitute our views with theirs. The invariable sign of a Bong-antel, Anondobajar is.

      My cousin who stays in Gurgaon, while asking about the reviews of a recent Bengali film, asked the same....”Anondobajar ki bolche?”. Sarcasm apart, such biblical is its status. Considered to be the most unbiased (barring Sourav Ganguly), this newspaper has a view about everything, above everyone else in the business. Dada, Didi, Pranab Babu, Prosenjit, Pinky Pramanik, Prince Charles, Leander Paes, Sunny Leone, fatherhood of Aishwarya’s baby…name one and you get all. (Achha, you can bunk the fatherhood part, ok?)

15.  Baal (some words are not meant for translations and for moms to read): I had read one SMS which had a detailed analysis on this widely used Bong term and its paisa-woosoolness. This term can be used as a noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, signs of frustration, happiness, despair, joy and the like. The commonest of them being:
·    Common Noun: ‘Tui ekta mosto boro baal’ (You are a good for nothing of   the highest order)
·    Proper noun: ‘Ki politics korte parish mairi. Tor naam ki Baal Thakre?’  (You are so good at politics. Is your name Baal Thakre?)
·    Adjective: ‘Baaler chakri sala’ (This job sucks!!)
·    Adverb: ‘Baal khello team ta. Go haran harlam.’ (Poorly played. We lost the game).
·    Frustration: ‘Dhhur Baal!’ (Sh*@!/ F*#@)
And the list grows happily ever after…

So, here were some randomly chosen, dearly loved and often heard Bong expressions/ mannerisms. “Case kheyeche”, “Pujoy south ta korbo”, “Suppose, dhor..”, “Dettol lagie de” (while putting Savlon), “Phatiye diecho ostad”, “Jhaari marishna”, “Apnar gari mileage koto dichhe?”, “Didi koddin tikbe?” are some more.
With Flipkart’s wide publicity during the IPL and when praised ceaselessly of its pocket-friendliness, my father’s observation: “eta ki College Street er cheyeo sosta?” (Is it cheaper than College Street?) This is one Bong statement. A Bong cannot imagine books cheaper anywhere else other than College Street. Bongs make lists of their favourite books from the Bookfair and then take the same lists to their favourite book seller in College Street and Bingo!! 

I heard something like this yesterday. “Uff ki figure!!..... Ami eager!!” (of course, not indicated at me).
No one beats a Bong in his wise-cracks. No one.