Making assumptions about a community or religion based on your pre conceived notions does not make you cool. As a Bengali, who has forever lived outside of Bengal, I’m tired of every other person coming up to me with their bag full of opinions and thrusting them on me. Here are things Bengali girls hear all the time.
10 stereotypical things Bengalis hear and are now sick of them
1. Who’s your favourite author, Rabindranath Tagore?
Bengali literature is not limited only to Rabindranath Tagore. There’s a plethora of authors you should know about to understand how diverse the art and culture of Bengal is. Have you ever considered asking whether we read the works of Mahasweta Devi, Suchitra Bhattacharya, Nabaneeta Deb Sen and others? No, because you are yourself unaware of the masterpieces they produced in their lifetime.
2. Why do you people have such funny nicknames?
Our parents love to have an informal relationship with us. So they give us names that make them feel closer to us. The daak naam. We can’t imagine our parents addressing us with our formal names at home. That’s why they literally create new names for us everyday and I guess that is beautiful. Am totally cool with Bubla, Fulti, Tikli, Bondu or any other. What I am not okay with, is you making an issue about that.
3. Hey, it’s so cold, where’s your monkey cap?
I am repeating this for the last time now. Grrr. All Bengalis do not wear a half sleeved sweater and a monkey cap to beat the cold. How I want to deal with the falling temperature is my personal choice. You won’t lose much if you just don’t interfere or make presumptions.
4. I got some roshogolla and mishti doi for you
To your disappointment, I like neither of them.¬† Now that you have already purchased them, why don’t you enjoy them yourself? I’ll go and get something else. May be some tiramisu. From next time on, don’t forget to ask what I would like to have before you place an order.
5. Bengalis eat too much of sugar
And that is why we are so sweet (giggles). Jokes apart, every cuisine has a speciality. What’s special about Bengali cuisine is that it is different from all other cuisines in terms of its sweetness. But no matter what, you cannot deny that we have got some of the country’s best delicacies. You can’t say no to the dhokar dalna and payesh coming from a Bengali’s kitchen.
6. I’m sure you love fish
No, I don’t. Ilish (Hilsa) is an exception. It’s time you stop applying the tag maachhe bhaate Bangali¬†(fish and rice make a Bengali) on everyone. All of us have different food preferences and we do not survive on fish. I know this truth bomb must have come as a shock to you but we are done hearing this time and again.
7. You’re such a Grammar Nazi
Oh yeah. You know why? Because my parents spent on my education. They made sure to send me to a good school. If you believe, my ‘Bengali’ lineage makes me correct your language errors, so be it. Is it just me or the Bengalis reading this get to hear this too?
8. How come are you so fluent in Hindi?
The ‘things Bengalis hear’ list can never be complete without this. Dear Indians, Bengalis CAN speak in Hindi. Some of us can speak other languages as well. Not all of us pronounce ‘A’ as ‘O’. Nor do we mix up genders and if at all, someone is not fluent with the language what right do you have to bully them? They might have never been taught Hindi and so cannot speak it well. Why make it an issue? We don’t tease you for your lack of knowledge in regional languages.
9. I’m sure you must be very talented
I wouldn’t lie here. Most of us do attend music, dance, drawing and theatre classes. Bengali households want their children to be all rounders. But this surely doesn’t mean that we are all ‘talented’. Most of us didn’t even complete the courses we joined.
10. I believe your parents pamper you too much
And I think all parents pamper their children up to a certain age. Why do we ‘villainise’ the ones who do? Having overprotective or overbearing parents can become annoying but contrary to the popular belief, Bengali parents aren’t like that. They know how to deal with children and do not need lessons from others.