Somehow this blog is becoming very regionalistic …er…there is no word like that, so what I meant was I tend to write about the various regions that my batchmates belong to and their sweet quirkiness (this is to ensure I am not on any hit list). Well, anyways, the Mallus have made their peace with me. So here come the Bongs.
One of the important learning in all this research of festival-hopping, good-food-hogging and freebies-hoarding is that it has provided impetus to my new theory. It concerns the clan of the ‘psuedo-belongers’ . Now, the pseudo-belongers encompass those individuals who pretend to belong to a region or a state and claim fervently that they are the only people on this earth who can take the culture forward. Now, Pseudo-Mallu Shruti who claimed plenty of blogspace in my previous post is one of the forerunner for the Presidency of this clan. Alas, she now faces competition from a very strongly-built conternder. Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for Priti – PseudoBong!
For my international readers from regions of the street behind Hinjewadi and the Paan-shop owner in a region as far as Pune Railway stations, I would like to elucidate what a Bong is. Though my seven year old neighbour back home insists it is the sound of the doorbell (Bing Bong) and some South Indians tend to think it is the surname of the next revered Chinese Martial arts sensation, a Bong is of course, a Bengali. Bangaali, shout my Bengali friends. Well, all the same. My jaws are still aching from trying to pronounce ‘Raashogholla’ after a couple of them made their way to my stomach.
Psuedo-Bong Priti, firebong Polo, DemureBong Bidisha and SeriousBong Pramit were the leaders of the gang that made its way to the Pandaals. The Bong women looked beautiful in saris and with their poetic ‘O re baba’ and ‘Ki korchish’.
Anyways, after the Mallus in the college created enough hype and hoopla around ‘Onam’ by offering a sumptuous lunch, shouting Mallu slogans generally and creating a great Pookkalam, it awakened the great Bong spirit. And before we could say ‘Kolkatta Knight Riders’, coupons bearing the face of Goddess Durga had been thrust into our hands and a trip to one of the Durga Pooja Pandaals had been announced.
And so, on a sunny morning, after writing an exam on another Human Resource subject, 13 warriors (note the unlucky number) set out on a bus ride to pray and of course, eat some good Macher-Jhol. All was well until the group had to split to take autos to the Pandaal venue. God decided to have some fun and hence a Mallu, a Psuedo-Bong and a Punjaban ended up being in the same auto. Now, the address specified in clear crisp language to this myriad gang was ‘Congress Bhavan’. However, I tend to think it was the fault of the Mallu that the auto landed up in ‘Vishwa Bhawan’. It is not an unfair assault considering that one of the Mallus had sent a waiter to ICU after communicating or trying to communicate to him in Hindi a while ago.
Waiter : Sir, what would you like to have?
Mallu peers down at the elegant menu from left to right and then right to left. Then, he decides to finally use the weapon called ‘half-baked Hindi’ at the waiter.
Mallu (with a serious face) : Kebaab mein kaun hai?
Waiter is rushed to the hospital while the Mallu hunts for his Hindi dictionary to figure what exactly went wrong.
Anyways when this quarrelsome gang finally reached the venue, I must have heard constant chanting from the autodriver. Now that every one was on venue, we decided to proceed towards the main stage where the idol was placed. Or atleast, we tried to proceed. The only impediment was Arun Kumar, fellow tamilian and mad statistics freak.
Arun Kumar deserves special mention for two things. One for his love for statistics and another for his ability to single-handedly cause the extinction of all fowl, mutton and beef on this planet. We have often wondered whether the ragged jet black hair actually hides signs of being a carnivore. Hence, when Arun landed on this Pandaal and at once, his carnivore instincts were switched on and all the Bengali food stall owners began to stock up with trepidation. Finally, we left any hope of convincing Arun to pray and prostrate as he went from stall to stall, emptying ‘Chicken Laalipaps’, ‘Maacher Jhol’ and the likes.
After a bit of praying and trying to block images of tempting Rasgollas, we joined Arun on a sweet expedition. All of us took different sweets and tried to compare which one was better. Here is when Arun and Hazel, a firebrand from Punjab debate on the wars similar sounding words can create.
(Rasgollas are passed. See, if you have a problem with me not calling them Roshogollas, I really can’t do anything about it as this is the closest I can get to anglicized Bangaali. Anyways, the group is trying various types of rasgollas.)
Hazel : Hmm….
Arun : Hmm….
Group : Hmmm…
(Everyone enjoys the sweet moment. Then the war begins.)
Hazel : This is gud. (Note ‘gud’ is not a spelling mistake.)
Arun : No..no…mine is good.
Hazel : No, yours is sugar. Mine is gud.
Arun : Arre, everything is sugar in this sweet. But mine is definitely good!
There is a war between the tamilian and punjaban and when there is an impending war, one of us intervenes to tell them that the ‘gud’ Hazel is referring to is ‘jaggery’ in Hindi while Arun with his miniscule vocabulary of Hindi interprets it as ‘good’ as in ‘good and bad’.
Anyways, there is a lot of chortling and giggling, and peace prevails.
After the customary ‘anjali’ that was offered to the goddess, we returned to the college. One the bus ride way back home, we discussed the various traits of various sun signs and sang meaningful songs like ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ and ‘Yeh Kya ho raha hai’ from ‘Hum Kisise Kum Nahin’. The bus driver honked deliberately to drown our voices out but when you have ‘thunderbird’ Michelle on the team, it does give a sonorous effect.
P.S. Why is the post called ‘The Bong Conspiracy’. Because while we were returning to college, the Bongs had conspired and made their way to the next pandaal. Last, we heard, there were screams of ‘Get the B-School Bongs back to campus’ coming our way. Believe us, we are trying!
Special mention goes to Meera for entertaining the overtures of a hot-blooded Bengali Male who kept looking her way and finally hugged her. Alas, the five-year old was called back by his doting father.
Neeraj was very happy to receive a notice from ‘The Bangaali Marriage Bureau’ that was distributed free. I heard he had collected quite a few of them and he even posed for a picture with them. Our best wishes are with him. But alas, Bipasha is away in Mumbai.