• How to Annoy a Bong...

    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.
  • A Gujarati Funeral

    A family in Gujarat was puzzled when the coffin of their dead mother (Ba) arrived from the US. It was sent by one of the daughters. The dead body was very tightly squeezed inside the coffin, with no space left in it when they opened the lid; they found a letter on top addressed to her brothers and sisters:

    Dear Chandrakantbhai, Arvindbhai, Neetaben and Varsha,
    I am sending Ba's body to you, since it was her wish that she should be cremated in the compound of our ancestral home in GUJARAT.

    Sorry, I could not come along as all of my paid leave is consumed.

    You will find inside the coffin, under Ba's body, cans of cheese, 10 packets of Tobler chocolates and 8 packets of Badam (peanuts) please divide these among all of you.

    On Ba's feet you will find a new pair of Reebok shoes (size 10) for Mohan. There are also 2 pairs of shoes for Radha's and Lakshmi's sons. Hope the sizes are correct.

    Ba is wearing 6 American T-Shirts. The large size is for Mohan.Just distribute the rest among yourselves. The 2 new Jeans that Ba is wearing are for the boys.

    The Swiss watch that Reema wanted is on Ba's left wrist. Shanta masi, Ba is wearing the necklace, earrings and ring that you asked for. Please take them off her.

    The 6 white cotton socks that Ba is wearing must be divided among my nephews. Please distribute all these fairly.

    Love Neeta.
    PS: If anything more required let me know soon as Bapuji is also not feeling too well nowadays...
  • Patel, Patel, Patel and Patel

    A firm of solicitors in Mumbai go under the name of Patel, Patel, Patel and Patel.

    The office phone rang and the voice at the other end asked, "May I speak to Mr Patel?"

    "Mr Patel is not in his seat."

    "In that case can I speak to the other Mr Patel?"

    "The other Mr Patel is out of station."

    "Then put me on to the third Mr Patel."

    "Sorry, the third Mr Patel has gone out for lunch."

    "Okay then, I will speak to the last Mr Patel."

    "Patel speaking."
  • Market Fluctuations!!!

    I was standing in a small queue. There was a laday of Japanese descent in front of me she was there to exchange Yen for Dollars. She was a little irritated.

    She asked the teller, "Why it change? Yesterday, I get two hunad dolla fo yen. Today I only get hunad ninty? Why it change?"


    The teller shrugged his shoulders and said, "Fluctuations!"

    The Japanese lady said, "Fluc you white people, too!"
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