Posts Tagged ‘Bengali’

Red Marriage

Posted: October 1, 2016 in Laughing at life
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It was the marriage season. Everyone was either getting married or getting an invitation card that carried an invisible demand draft of at least Rs 200. There was, of course, this new concept of “not accepting gifts”. Though taken with a pinch of salt, this was a sure hit with those who preferred to remain perpetually “out-of-station” during marriage season.

Even I was getting married. That was my first marriage and, despite repeated attempts, remained my only one.

I always wanted to marry a tall, dark and handsome prince on a white horse. The reality was a lot different, though. And despite several feeble attempts by me to sabotage a gala ceremony and go in for a quiet signing of papers, my marriage was gleefully red and traditional. I was guilty of being the first born of my parents and my husband-to-be, the only offspring. And hence we were sentenced to suffer 10-long-agony-hours of a red, red, red marriage.

Everything was so surprisingly red about the marriage that I even wore a red bindi to match with a blue sari, during one of my umpteen catwalks that I had to do throughout the auspicious day. I was smiling so much that I felt stifled with the sweetness of the occasion. Everyone was smiling more than I did. My relatives, who last saw me when I was a baby, repeatedly said: Look at you! You have grown up so much!!!

Of course I had grown up! That’s why I am marrying! However, they were too sunk in their self-created affection for me to realize that. Someone brushed a little hair off from my forehead while someone wiped a little extra kajal from my eyes.

The deadline arrived. I was wrapped in a 10-kilo heavy sari, bedecked with every kind of gold jewelery and finally, topped with a flower crown. I looked at the mirror and shrieked! “I LOOK LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE!!”

Everyone laughed. They were all so happy!

The bor finally arrived and everyone shouted! “Bor eshe geche! Bor eshe geche!“ (The groom has arrived! The groom has arrived!) As if he wasn’t supposed to. They ran toward the entrance. I was tempted to run too, only I weighed too much. Apparently my husband-to-be was looking like a prince!

Was it someone else? The last time I saw him he looked grumpy as usual. Did they make a last-minute switch? I was tempted to look.

Then they placed me on a very feeble square piece of terracotta called ‘pinre’ and lifted me in air. Some of my feminist, still-single friends clapped and joined in the fun. Not to mention, that was the last time I saw them feminist, single or having so much fun.

Even I was laughing. The bor was very glum.  (He later told me that he did not recognize me suspended in mid-air tinkling with so much jewelry and was tempted to change his mind). We exchanged garlands and ended our day of gold and red.Feb61995c

By Kaberi Chatterjee (Right after marriage in 1995. Originally appeared in The Telegraph October 10, 1995. A little edited.)



Posted: August 25, 2011 in For a thought....
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First please read the link:

Now that you have read the famous Erratica version of Bengalees’ accshent…, and you have laughed several time at the way she made fun of the Bengali accshent… let me now enlighten you with something I have experienced.
After I stepped out of the small ‘well’ called India, into a vast arena called global space, I underwent a massive transformation in the way I looked at people. Before this, I had the idea that you have to talk in the American accent in Canada and you had to know perfect English to be able to settle down in the foreign land.
But, the reality was quite different. Not only are people here not being able to speak English with proper grammar, they didn’t have any stock of words. For instance, if you spoke about a garbage-bin, they will understand you perfectly, but if you say ‘dust-bin’ or ‘rubbish-bin’ people will only stare at you. Simple words like ‘encounter’ or ‘disperse’ will make perfectly Canadian people with English as their mother-tongue look at you squarely and ask, “Sorry?” If you say, “Pardon” instead of “Sorry?” they won’t understand. They don’t even understand “Double P”. They would instead say “P P” while spelling a word.
I took almost two years just learning which words they use and how to incorporate just those words in my vocabulary, trimming my word usage to the minimum.
Moreover, there are several accents used in English language and the beauty of this place is that you are appreciated for your own accent. There are the Polish accents, the Spanish accents, the Caribbean accent and the Indian-Pakistani accent and many more. Far from criticizing them, if you actually try to copy the Canadian accent, they will actually say, “Sorry?” till you come down to your own accent and speak.
In fact, people cannot often remember my name and then I tell them, “You can call me Carey (omitting the ‘b’ in my name). But if I introduce myself to people as ‘Carey’, they will ask, “But Aren’t you Indian? How do have a Canadian name?”
It so happened that once my husband, whose pet name is Rony, was calling a Canadian and said that his name was “Rony”. The person on the other side said, “But that’s your adopted name, right? What’s your real name?”
So Rony said, “My good name is Aniruddha, and my REAL pet name is Rony.”
The person refused to believe it and gave a lecture at how different names and accents from different cultures and countries sound so beautiful.
In fact, the other day, a Polish lady, Irja, came to my house and saw my gods and goddesses, asked curiously about them and was enthralled at my religion. We spoke at length about our skin color differences and religions and accents and how this array of cultures is making Canada such a global meting pot.
Well, when I landed here I spoke about India being a cultural melting pot too. But after reading such immature articles in such renowned newspapers I feel ashamed. India has such biased and narrow-minded writers like Bachi Karkaria… I wish Karkaria would come and stay with me in Canada for a year. I am sure she will go through a metamorphosis and be able to write better in future.
Thanks for reading.