Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our world


"Remember how we watched three Uttam Kumar classics back to back that Saptami night? which year was it? Remember..Rintu was in college I think, it must be '96. And what about the saree shopping we did together on the gariahat roads? remember the crowd, and the phuchka breaks we kept taking. That year Pujo was the best, we were all together, the pandals, the dhunochi naach, the aaroti..."

It is at such moments when I see mamma go all nostalgic about her past, that I realize what a completely different life we bengali children lead here in Muscat. The set of kids that I mix with and also some others whom I see around have our own little culture, and we follow it to the core. Uttam kumar could be missing, and we might not have fond memories of gariahat road, but this post will give you all a peek into our culture.

When we, pre-teens and teens meet each other at the Bengali parties, that we are dragged to, or at pujas and other such social functions, do we greet each other like our counterparts in Calcutta? do we say, "Ki re kemon achish?" No!! we dont, we usually say "hey" and give a hi5 or just smile and say, "You alright?" The irony is not here, the irony is in the fact that in the same breath we greet our elders in proper unaccented bengali, we continue to eat bengali food without the slightest knowledge of its name or recipe, we continue to respond to the queer pet names we carry, and we continue to live in the little cultural domain that we have created in a faraway shore quite naturally.

We have no idea how great Soumitra Chaterjee was as an actor, or how beautiful Suchitra Sen. We think Mithun is a loser and feel bengali black and white flicks are a bore, we hardly know anything about Tagore, and yet we dance to his songs and even sing a few for social dos, we get the steps right, we get the tunes right, the lyrics, written using the English alphabets are easily memorized, we even manage the expressions, but we remain passionless about his emotions, we remain aloof to his sentiments. His essence is lost in us.

We buy clothes whenever we want or feel like, there is no excitement about new clothes during the festive season, we live typical NRI lives and yet return home on time to report the day's events in Bengali to our parents, our lives are a paradox that even we cannot explain, and yet we live it without any difficulty in this small world of the Bengali kids in Muscat.

This was a break I took between my exam studies. If my brother can become a hit here..why not me?? c'mon guys, I gave you a thought to ponder upon..let the comments flow in.

with love
Toshali

43 comments:

Mustaf said...

Did actually Toshali write this post!!! Ok, we must have something equivalent to "Bap ka beta" for "Mom ba beti" or something!! I am speechless, let the shock sink in well, then i will come again and comment properly :)

deeps said...

ohh Toshali ... you sure can ... welcome to the blog villa ...
it s so nice of you to be alive with your vivid but microscopic picture of Bengali dream that you all live out there ...
I hope it s only a window to the vista ahead in your blogging life …
tc

R. Ramesh said...

ya deeps said it, hope it's a window to the vista ahead in your blogging life …

Nikki said...

Cute. I totally second you here...Muscat and Mumbai...I have the same situation.

Kavi said...

I mean...well..she wrote all this ? If the answer is 'yes', well, then this comment needs to be deleted !

For all that i can muster on my blog will not get past the gate here !

Phew ! Such clear thoughts. And such clarity in the expression !

PURN!MA said...

Toshali, you cudn't hve put ur thoughts in better words. :) v nicely written.

Gymnast said...

did toshali really write this? Then i must simply say wow! , like mom, like daughter!

As for what you said, i can relate to the NRI teen life. whatever it is, it sure is fun!

And keep writing..

RGB said...

True. Most of us leave our hometowns, blend into the alien land with ease (they said: when in Rome, be a Roman) and switch between cultures, just like that, at the snap of our fingers. Enjoyed reading the post. Food for thought, indeed.

amrit said...

Life is weird. All the best for the remaining exams Toshali!

sujata said...

Hi friends this is me back again, this post was toshali's thoughts, her words with edits here and there from me.

Nazish Rahman said...

Toshali wrote this...great!!
All the best for your exams !!

Destiny's child... said...

That was really somethign to think about. People keep saying how kids these days have no regard for their culture or traditions. Well, this post is a very humble reply to all those who think so. You carry your culture in your heart, so much so that you don't have to be explicit abt it. That is what I feel after reading this.
Great post! :)

BK Chowla said...

You have expressed your feelings very well.Keep it up.

Butterfly Thoughts said...

I was shocked..did toshali write it actually.when I was reading it I was actually relating it to you Sujata. She is a genius. Such deep words and deep thoughts. Toshali you are already a hit sweetie:-)
and I culd relate to each and everything you wrote

puspita said...

Sujatadi this is such a real picture of our kids life.This is their world ,their way of living life.They are confident,focus,smarter than us in our time.They know exactly what they want from life and can be an example for us parents how to stay cool in most difficult situation.The only thing we parents can do is to provide them with informations of our rich culture and customs time to time.They are different but not all wrong.Last but not the least Toshali looks so adorable in this picture, love to her.

ani_aset said...

pardon ignorance..who is toshali? Well written post though..brings out the confused state of minds of current lot

Aparna said...

Unfortunately Ishita and Ayushi do not have Bengali friends and after coming to Mumbai have lost all connection to Durga Puja festivities and Rabindra sangeet.
Their Bengali is heavily accented and they have never seen a black and white Bengali movie except Gupi gayin bagha bayin.
Not very different from Muscat, right Toshali? Great job. I hope you will write more often, considering your mamma has now turned into a high profile career woman and has less time to blog.

Akshay said...

I was shocked by the intensity and depth by her thoughts. You have such deep thoughts, Toshali. You have expressed your feelings very well.

I personally remember "discovering" Soumitra Chatterjee in Anjan Dutta's The Bong Connection. I knew about Suchithra Sen having seen her in the Bengali movies which used to be played on DD7. Yes, I second you here when you say Mithun is a loser. Black and white Bengali movies are NOT a bore. I learnt so much about the Bengali culture after watching these movies. I remember listening to Tagore songs like Pagla Hawa. We are passionless about the intesity of the poems and his emotions, we remain aloof to his sentiments.

Toshali, you have already become a hit. Wish you all the best for the upcoming exams!! Looking forward to reading some more posts from you in the future.

Bhavya.B said...

Toshali , you made it a beautiful post .I'm sure you are going to be a hit.

SJ said...

I think its the same story with every kid. Every generation loses a small bit of their culture sigh.

Hey you are definitely more popular- you tried my pancake and all!!! :)
PS- I think you should totally take over this space and call it "T's chill out", your moms anyway not writing! This is not to be told to her :)

Meira said...

I totally agree. But then one needn't move abroad to undergo this. I am a tamilian, born n brought up in Delhi. My tamil is accented, I enjoy holi more than pongal, and can never imagine why a girl has to be laden with jewelery! But the life I lead is what I will be nostalgic about, in years to come. And I might be creating a masala culture for my kids, but a culture it is :)
PS: You write really well

Protege said...

This post is full of sentiments, expressions, words ad language that escapes me, but I liked it anyway. The photo is cute.;)
xo

अनिल कान्त : said...

Well written post
did toshali really write this?
Wow !!

R. Ramesh said...

hey friend..thanks for d humourous comment..one day i feel like writing abt some gr8 friends i made thru blog..lucky to have friends like u..learnt a lot..cheers and dont be so formal yar..

nsiyer said...

The rich Bengali culture and attachment to it is too costly to be lost. You are right . Its happening nowadays where we slowly are losing our moorings.

Sorry I was out of circulation for sometime and will be writing shortly.

Babli said...

My God! its unbeleivable that Toshali has written so nicely. Convey my best wishes and lots of love to her for her brilliant article. Keep it up Toshali. Ekdom Baba Ma r talent ta peyechhe. You must be feeling proud of your children.

The Holy Lama said...

So genes do matter. Good post, Toshali, chip off old block

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Vow Toshali! That’s one gem of a post, what you’ve said is more or less true of children of your age from other cultures as well. But the way you said it, the clarity…I appreciate.
Yup, Mr. Bond has already made an appearance. Of course, you can. Keep coming back.

Sumandebray said...

You are even a bigger hit here... your composition is very matured and thoughtful. My observation is that Bengali teens usually try hard in front of their friends to be as little Bengali as they possibly could manage. It is not only the NRI kids but also the ones who grow up in Kolkata. But they change over the time…. Most of them
One day we all realized that even if we try to establish ourselves as a global citizen, we need to have our characteristics. Every matter in this world has their own properties which makes them unique. We need to have our own. Our culture and beliefs are the backbone of our characters and that goes a long way to define our properties.
It is true that not many of us can sit through a Mithun da movie. But I was surprised when Farah Khan was talking about the shooting experience of the famous song with 31 stars. Apparently when Mithun da walked into the sets everybody ran up to him. To top it all … the camera man left the camera to his assistant and went to dance with him. See... after all he is not a loser in front of the people who know him... who worked with him.

kavita said...

Toshali and Sujata....its a pleasure reading you lovely ladies !!i love the way put your thoughts so beautifully in words...hmmmm,i need to take not one or two but many lessons from you little lady...GOD BLESS YOU MY DEAR.

Deeps said...

Toshali,first of all you've a beautiful name!
And your parents are bringing you your brother up amazingly well.I could make that out from your post. You have your own circle,your own way of life,much different from the ones your peers back home have, yet you are as grounded as them with values and morals imbibed in the right measure.

God bless you :)

(psst..psst,tell your ma to let you write and share your thoughts with us more often.if she doesnt,let me know,I'll open a blogger a/c for you :D )

Nona said...

Good post, Toshali.

The hi5 and the unaccented Bengali greetings shows your adaptive nature. This is good since you will be mostly living in a multicultural society. :)

Please don't be harsh on Mithunda. He has an national award and also made the nation go into a frenzy with his Disco!

R. Ramesh said...

muscat maam,,how r u? this is just to say hi...

ஷ‌ஃபிக்ஸ்/Suffix said...

Good Narration, All the best Toshali!!

sujata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
toshali said...

My exams are done today, I really cannot reply to each of you, but will say that thanks a lot for writing in and appreciating my effort, also will add that most of the words are mamma's, she kept sulking about my sentences and "editing" means she actually almost re wrote it!!

But the thoughts are mine completely. Thank you every body, I will try to appreciate Mithun more, I love to dance too

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

Khub bhalo! Bhishon Bhalo!!!

R. Ramesh said...

dost log ko bhool na jana..heheh

Indrani said...

So well written!
And such a sweet name, Toshali!

Jyothi said...

I was not able to post a comment when I read this post. So I am back. I really can't believe Toshali wrote it. Wow! Good job girl. In spite of being an NRI all my life, I don't think I could have put forward these feelings so well. All the best dear!

gaelikaa said...

Good for you, Toshali!

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Dear Toshali,

What a charming post! Thanks for allowing me a glimpse into the world of children who live in two worlds. I am amazed to read your observations. And you have a fine grip on your pen. Congratulations.

Do keep writing.

Ramirez said...

hey friend..thanks for d humourous comment..one day i feel like writing abt some gr8 friends i made thru blog..lucky to have friends like u..learnt a lot..cheers and dont be so formal yar..