We Bengalis have migrated out of West Bengal and moved to different parts of India, mostly to earn a living. Wherever you go in India you are likely to find at least 1 Bengali in a 10 meter radius around you (especially in Bangalore, where one 335E bus might sound like a 3D/1). Basically we have done to India, what we Indians have done to the US or the UK.
But irrespective of where we are, stereotypes never seem to be far behind. And most of them are so damn cliched that it pisses the hell out of most of us. So here goes, the top 12 stereotypes we Bengalis are sick of.
1. Ami tomake bhalobasheeeeeee…
Yes, thank you. Glad to know that you know 3 Bengali words that every other Indian also knows. Thanks to one Kishore Kumar song, you know how to say I love you in many Indian languages. But if you are a 40 year old uncle coming and saying that to me in a weird accent, honestly it’s a little creepy. And if you really want to say it, at least learn the correct pronunciation, since it’s easier than the French you’ve been trying to learn forever.
So my dear, thanks, but no thanks.
2. You must make good fish curry!
No I don’t! Does every Sejal Patel you know make killer Dhokla? Does every Happy Singh cook up crazy ass Tandoori Murg?? Neither do I. I don’t know how to cook Machher Jhol, hell I don’t even like Machher Jhol all the time!
3. Hey, Happy Durgoo Pujooo
Okay, stop it, right now! You don’t have to put unnecessary “OOO” at the end of every Bengali word. Thanks for your wishes. I agree, we do make a big deal out of Durga Pujo. Please remember to wish every Tamilian on Pongal, every Asamese on Bihu and every Punjabi on Baisakhi too.
4. Bengali = = Communist
YES-NO-MAYBE! Toke bolbo keno?
Yes we were ruled by the reds for far too many decades. But that does not define us.
Are you from Delhi, that must mean you wear a muffler and cough 24/7. From Chennai? Where is the Amma picture on your wall?
5. Why aren’t there Roshogollas in your fridge?
Sorry, just finished the last dozen for my midnight snacking. Well, to be honest, I would have a “haanri” full only if we had a friendly neighborhood K C Das outlet everywhere on the globe. But, diabetes is actually a thing to be worried about, you know.
6. The Ulu
So you have seen Devdas or Kahaani. Wonderful! We do the “Ulu” to hail a happy occasion & to ward off any evil. But let me make it clear, it involves only your tongue and your lips. No “fingers” needed. Please stop being Ashutosh Rana from Sangharsh.
7. Bengalis are intellectuals & feminists
Proudly! We are the literary type, we like our Robindro Songeet, we don’t ask for dowry, we don’t frown upon pre-marital shenanigans and love marriage is not a taboo. We don’t ask our daughters-in-law to stop working after marriage nor do we expect them to be “ghar ki Lakshmi” or “kitchen queens”.
Both Jana Gana and Vande Mataram were written by Bengalis & that is just the headline of a long list of our intellectual impact on this nation’s cultural heritage. So yeah, don’t brand us – emulate us! “snaps fingers”.
8. Where is your red and white bangle?
They are called “Saankha Pola” and are a part of a married Bengali woman’s attire. But, even post marriage, we are not bound to wear anything, there is something called choice.
Where is your Choora and Mangalsutra, woman ?!
9. You really don’t drink at your weddings?
Mostly we don’t, but sometimes we do. You just need to know the right person to ask for it at our weddings. But yes, we don’t drink uncontrollably, go berserk to a DJ playing Biri Jalaile, puke and pass out at our weddings.
10. Tumi jol khabo?
Okay I get it. We literally “eat” everything. Food, water, cigarettes, jhaar, ador (cuddle) . We even say “chumu khabo” (chumu = kiss)! But please come up with a new one. Other wise I will snap your neck and “khabo” your head!
11. A Bengali and you don’t smoke?
Just cause I am a Bengali doesn’t mean I have to smoke & smoke up. Some of us also like fresh lungs and have other ways of getting high (Darjeeling cha!) and gave up smoking once we realized what it had done to our lungs! The same way that every Punjabi doesn’t have a sharab-di-gaddi, not all Bengalis breath nicotine!
12. Lazy babu-culture
Yeah yeah. We know how bandhs and communist rules are equated with bad work cultures in Bengal. But while everyone goes crazy about the Italian habit of siesta, we Bengalis get a bad rap for our bhaat- ghum. We Bengali take things slow and love going through life at a pace that gives most joy – not most profit. So, a little lyadh is fine by us, an evening’s adda is what we need and a mellow life is what we enjoy. And we wouldn’t be bagging all the Nobel prizes if we really had bad work habits.
Have more stereotypes we missed? Let us know and we’ll keep adding!
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