An old Agarwal friend of mine left a comment on my blog pointing out how even he of the A clan knows that bhaapa is steamed, not baked as I had so heretically mentioned. I look back and think of the Khemkas, Guptas, Jhunjhunwallas, et al with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing my schoolhood with and realize that some of them are far more bong than I ever will be.
I grew up reading Hardy Boys, MacLean, Sudden and brown paper wrapped James H Chases. I have never ever read a page of Sukumar Ray. I have read Pheluda in English (does that count?). I listened to the Beatles, Doors, Dire Straits and made fun of my sister’s Robindrasangeet and harmonium.
I have no interest in sweets and only recently discovering the pleasures of STEAMED Ilish . Was never a fervent worshipper of the great Cal Puchka. Or for that matter Nizam’s beef roll. I liked the Park Circus Biryani and that too as it had lots of aloo and meat. What I really looked forward to was my mom’s Sunday mutton. That was the peak of my gastric cravings.
My friends call me a Bihari, alluding to my five years in Bokaro Steel City. Where the game I came to love was hockey. Hockey! Imagine a Bengali hockey player. I tried my hand at chess and carrom. Was a disaster. Tried table tennis and stopped when a nine year old thrashed me. And I suspect he was being respectful. I was no good at quizzing and all I did was sip beer at DI and eye the pyts.
All through college I wore blue jeans and fake Lacostes. Admittedly, I sometimes brought out my heritage by matching them with blue bathroom slippers. But that was about it. And as recently as last Saturday at a party at the castle, a Gourisaria walked in wearing kurta, jeans and chappals. A bong if you have ever met one.
I hear Bong rock groups are reviving Rabindranath’s lyrics. I have heard a few strains. Could recognize the lead and the bass. Sounded like the Rolling Stones.
Maybe there’s hope for me yet!