Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Biye bari -Part I

Just got back from Cal after attending two weddings and a mega family get-together all in
the span of a week! And my, did I have fun. All Indian weddings may be fun (tho' I have strong reservations against the Southie kinds; how can getting married at 6.30am be fun by any stretch of the imagination, man?) , but only Bengalis would know what kind of fun I am referring to (*wink, wink*). Now, if you are wondering why the weddings and family get together are two separate stories, the explanation is: weddings-N's family/friend; get-together- My Dad's family.
The last time I attended a wedding in Cal( again N's cousin) was back in 2003 Jan, when I
wasn't really in the thick of things as G was on her way and the paranoid gynae had
strictly marked the lakshmanrekha around my bed. So quite frankly, it was more like an
apology to "attending a wedding". What's worse, that wedding season (Dec-2002-Jan 2003),
most of the eligible bachelors and nubile nymphets in my Dad's family also decided to tie
the knot. So I just lay in bed and sulked while dapper N, as the dutiful representative of
the family (yeah right!! Hog that he is), donned his best attires and went wedding hopping.
That's when I promised myself I'd live it up next time anyone gets married!And,this time I kept my promise.
We landed in Cal in time for N's cousin, Boom's boubhat in the afternoon. Didn't really have time to deck up and be there in all my finery, so just walked in like a fish out of water in my much worn simple salwar suit. We were just in time for the kodi-khela and the . Boom and his cute wife were made to strew and the gather the rice and kodis amidst loud shouts of "Aeii, awaaj korish na, jhogra hobe" and "Cheating cholbe na." Then everyone waited with baited breath to see if the mona caught with the muni in the bowl of twirling water and stuck by it to symbolise the institution that marriage is--stand by the one you love through thick and through thin, rain and sunshine, through sickness and through health. These were lucky kids as the race ended in what will hopefully be a happy union.The games over, we headed staright for the food--the reason why Bengali weddings are worth every penny! For the uninitiated, it's usually a 10-12 course meal from starters to dessert and when the wedding is planned, who the catering contract will go to is usually a matter of huge family debate, with friends and relatives pitching in their two-penny worth. And in an age of shortcuts(read buffets), this opportunity of "pat-pere khawa" was just divine.
The menu too was lipsmackingly sumptuous, to put it mildly. Shukto, dal, alubhaja, bhetki
macher pathuri,kosha mangsho, plastic chatni (the only dampner), papad, doi and rosogolla. And this was just the beginning of all the eating to come! That evening was N's friend, R's
bachelor's bash. Chivas Regal, Smirnoff flowed smoothly while some more yummy food--kadai
paneer, again kasha mangsho amongst other things donned the table. This was followed by
cold coffee and icecream at The Atrium in Park Hotel( after dropping a sleeping G off home
with in-laws).3a.m: Returned home to the shrill cries of G and a stern "Eto ki modern
parents hoyecho?"
Was informed she'd been awake from the moment we lay her down in bed at 1.30 am and obviously was desperately seeking us!! Without another word, quietly slunk
away to the 2nd floor ans waited for N to bring G upstairs!! But must say I am probably one
of the few lucky people in this world to have a set of wonderful parents-in-law. Ok, as much as I'm loving this detailed account of my much awaited biye-barir anondo, I realise, if I punch in so much detail, this is gonna to be the longest post ever written in blog's history. So for those diligent readers, who have lasted this far, without getting bored, I beseech you to wait for Biye Bari - Part-II. Actually, that's where all the bawali, jharibaji aar udom masti really happened...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Catching the cold

I received the following as a fwd from a cousin-in-law and just had to post it! The idiosyncratic Bangali, no matter which part of the world he/she may be in, remains so. Cricket-football- crazy, khadyo-roshik (gourmet), antel or, at least, pseudo-antel(intellectual) and, of course, eternally afraid of certain illnesses, primarily the cold. And with the nip already in the air, this seems an aptly timed post.
So here's to all you cool bongs, pati bongs, honorary bongs, scared bongs, non-resident bongs and non-bongs,too...
One phrase every Bengali worth his sweater has grown up with is thanda lege jabey. It is
the ultimate warning of impending doom, an unadulterated form of existentialist advice.
Thanda lege jabey. Thou shalt 'catch the cold'.
'Catching the cold' comes easy to Bengalis. It's a skill that's acquired almost immediately
after birth. Watch a Bengali baby and you would know. Wrapped in layers of warm clothing
even if the sun is boiling the mercury, the baby learns quickly that his chances of survival in a Bengali household depend on how tightly he can wrap himself in cotton, linen and wool. Bengalis have almost romanticised warm clothing, so much so that Bengali art has found eloquent expression in a form of quilt-stitchwork called kantha.

I'm sure wool-shearers even in faraway Australia say a silent prayer to Bengalis before the shearing season (if there's any such season). I'm also sure the very thought of Bengalis sends a chill down the spine of many a sheep.
In winter, the quintessential Bengali's outfit puts the polar bear to shame. Packaged in at least seven layers of clothing and the head snugly packed inside the queerest headgear, the monkey cap, he takes the chill head on.
Easy lies the head that wears the monkey cap. With a pom-pom at the top, it's not just a fashion statement; it's a complete fashion paragraph.
I remember strolling down the Walk of Fame in Hollywood on a pleasant May evening. My eyes
scanned the glittering stars on the asphalt - each an ode to a Hollywood heavyweight. Suddenly, my ears caught the unmistakable Doomsday warning - 'thanda lege jabey'. I stood transfixed. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably the last place one would like to get caught 'catching the cold'. I turned around. There was this Bengali family braving the American chill. The young brat of the family was adamant that he didn't want any more clothing but mom wouldn't have any of it - "sweater porey nao, thanda lege jabey." I need not translate that. Mom won, and the family - sweaters et al - posed for a photograph.
For a race that is perpetually running scared of cold weather, Bengalis have a surprising affinity for hill stations. Probably, warmth of heart is best preserved in shawls, pullovers and cardigans.

In an age when you are judged by how cool or uncool you are, the warmth that the kakus, jethus and mashimas exude can melt icebergs. I wouldn't trade that warmth for any amount of cool. However, the monkeycap may look cool without the pom-pom.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Sevener

Ok Urmea, since I saw u have already penned down alot of things I plan on doing as well, I had to wrack my brains to find some others.The Kerala trip and Joyce (me stuck exactly somewhere arnd that page, too) were the most uncanniest "to do" things in common. Here goes my list.

Plan on doing

1. Learn Salsa
2. Go on long drives
3. Read at least 2 books a month (considering now it's down to zero)
4. Pamper myself more often at the parlour
5. Sleep till at least 9 am on holidays
6. Learn to cook some great moghlai and thai dishes
7. Spend more time with Madame G and teach her to speak " propah" English

Can't Do

1. Go to Cal anymore for hurricane holidays
2. Bake a decent cake
3. Keep my cool with G & N always
4. Sleep late
5. Change N's Cal fetish
6. Eat dal for every meal
7. Listen to U gushing excitedly abt her hectic social life, without feeling jealous;)

Say a lot

1. Gandu
2. WTF/FC (since it's very "unwomanly", am refraining from the expanded versions)
3. Mamma...Don't(what with G always doing just the things she's not supposed to)
4. Hi wassup?
5. Chole aaay(This one's esp for R and I know she hates me for it;) )
6. Oh pleeeez
7. Oshojjjhyo (with extra emphasis on the j)

Since no one reads my blog really and, as u can c, neither do I have plans to write more regularly, won't bother tagging anyone. But just in case you drop in, just consider tagged!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Once a Prince, never a Pauper

I may not be an authority on cricket, but am definitely a keen follower of the game (err...I mean the political kind). So here's something I chanced upon. And if anyone dare say anything about parochialism, I hope they read the name of the author first. Let's get real, people, for change. Here's the piece:

By Sanjay Jha
The Indian team for the last two ODIs has been announced, and expectedly, politics in selection has taken precedence over common sense and fair play.
Nothing else explains the bizarre and biased ouster of former captain Sourav Ganguly and the continuing prejudice against him by the new powers-that-be.
Let us look at bare facts objectively;.
1) If he had not been briefly injured ( just about 10 days) Ganguly would have been the captain of the Indian team right now. What a strange paradox indeed!
2) Ideally, even if he was not selected as a captain ( on account of the
injury) he should have been playing once the team was freshly announced after the end of the second ODI. But apparently, no one wanted to " disturb the winning combination". Fair enough, then why did they " experiment with a winning combination " by axing Tendulkar and the like in the Ahmedabad ODI ( an old Australian hangover of rotation which Chappell is attempting, which ironically enough, has been dumped as a virtual failure by the Aussies themselves)?
3) India is happily axing a man who has scored the highest number of runs in the world in ODIs after Sachin Tendulkar, who is now physically fit, in good form ( as his century in the Duleep Trophy showed) , willing to play under Dravid and coach Greg Chappell , and who has like a true sportsman taken the sudden reversals against himself with great equanimity.
4) Incidentally, since the ODI series has been decided already, would it not have been fair to allow Ganguly an opportunity to get into rhythm before the ODI series against South Africa and the Test series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan?
5) Are Greg Chappell and all of Sourav's detractors actually so naïve and stupid as to actually believe that they can finish his career off by deliberately keeping him out? Do they really live in a fool's paradise and are unaware that at some stage it will be as obvious as daylight that the farce that is currently being enacted is nothing but an internecine conspiracy?
6) If " performance" is the guiding criterion, how come Yuvraj Singh with 45 runs off 72 balls in 4 innings at an average of 11.25 is still being persisted with? Does it make any logical, rational , practical cricketing sense?
7) Have we all forgotten that Sourav sacrificed his high-run ideal batting position of an opener in ODIs just to accommodate Veerendra Sehwag, and that too at a time when Sachin-Sourav were the best opening pair in the world?
And is this the way the team ( including his own deputy for several years , Rahul Dravid) should now treat the very man who fought for them and led them to innumerable triumphs ?
It is downright repugnant and altogether unfortunate the way the Hate-Sourav Ganguly Club has suddenly emerged, a personification of vicious minds, warped thinking, myopic vision, wholesale ignorance of the game and driven by some small-time parochial thinking. One can either pity them or empathise with their wretched constitution. Or both. But I am fully aware that it will take just a couple of resounding defeats before the initial euphoria wanes and home truths sinks in. The Ahmedabad defeat may just be the beginning of establishing diplomatic relationship with ground realities for Mr Chappell.
And in any case, there is a long way to go!
At CricketNext , we have maintained a dispassionate and honest appraisal of everyone , including Chappell and Dravid on their on-field performance so far ( please click on CricketNext Verdict, Dravid, Good, Bad or Ugly and Chappell's Scorecard).. But it does not mean that we will not expose what appears to be a clear case of petty palace intrigues being played out to humiliate the Prince and destroy his confidence and self-belief. Even an innocent school-kid can witness the murky games being played in the name of Indian cricket.

Sourav Ganguly will be back!. And soon! Watch this space!

I'm watching a lot of spaces...those that are there and those that will be created...very soon.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Age of Innocence

Yesterday G did her first social service. She went and distributed some of her old clothes to a few of her "friends" in the upcoming half-a- crore worth flats opposite our garibkhana. Oblivious of caste, creed, race, the divides thereof et al, she smilingly handed over the dresses, cloth nappies and shoes to the mothers of her "(s)mall baby friends". The expressions exchanged are really hard to put down in words. The booty wasn't huge, nor was it pricy. But the joy of giving and the smile on the receipients' faces - priceless.
Two-and- a-half. This age is beautiful. And as M mentioned in one of her earlier posts... these are small things in life that make it worth living.