|A is for Apish (Office). This is where the average Kolkatan goes and spends a day hard(ly) at work. If he is in the Government he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke an unfiltered cigarette at 2, break for tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 5. It's a hard life!|
B is for Bhijon. (As in teli-bhijon) For some reason most of the Bengalis don't have good bhijon. In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing spectacles all the time. The effects of this show in the city.
C is for Chappell. This is the Bengali word for the Devil, for the worst form of evil. In the night mothers put their kids to sleep saying 'go to bed, or Chappell will come and take you away.'
D is for Debashish. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali Child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere and trying to get creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debnath and Deboprotim thrown in.
E is for Eeesh. This is a very common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that on an average a Bengali uses eeesh 10,089 times every year. (That's counting eeesh and other eeesh-ish words).
F is for Feesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are a favourite food of the Bengalis. Despite the fact that a fish market has such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not, he will say 'eeesh, what feeesh is theeesh!'
G is for Good name. Every Bengali Boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Shontuda, Chonti, and Dinku. While every Bengali Girl will be Paromita or Protima as well as Shampa, Champa and Buri. Basically your nickname is there to kill your good name.
H is for Harmonium. The Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles!
I is for lleesh. This is a feeesh with 10,000 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which the Bengalis eat with releeesh!
J is for Jhola. No self respecting Bengali is complete without his Jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in. Even as you read this there are 2 million jholas bobbling around Kolkata- and they all look exactly the same!
K is for Kee Kando. It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando's agent is trying to hire Bipasha Basu).
L is for Lungi. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt. Everest.
M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living daylights out of Formula 1 race drivers.
N is for Nangtoe. This is the Bengali word for Naked. It is the most interesting naked word in any language!
O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to earache (oil in the ear), to cough (oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where!)
P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are Mohunbagan and East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop.
Q is for Queen. This really has nothing to do with the Bengalis or Kolkata, but it's the only Q word I could think of at this moment. There's also Quilt but they never use them in Kolkata.
R is for Robi Thakur. Many years ago Rabindranath got the Nobel Prize. This allows everyone in Kolkata to frame their acceptance speeches and walk with their head held high and look down at Delhi and Mumbai!
S is for Sardarjee whom Bengalis are very envious of because he is born with a semi-monkey cap on.
T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Of course if you are in a hurry it's faster to walk.
U is for Ambrela. When a Bengali baby is born they are handed one.
V is for Violence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent people around. When an accident happens they will shout and scream and curse and abuse, but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1979.
W is for Water. For three months of the year the city is under water and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this!
X is for X mas. It's very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit up.
Y is for Yastarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali.
Z is for Jeebra, Joo, Jip and Jylophone.