I am back! Just like the terminator.
Of course with no intention of saving anybody.
Where was I?
Well, know if you must, I was happily stuck in the mountains.
Another day about that.
Today I am writing to do a bit of soul searching. Identity searching to be precise. No, I haven’t lost one. I am just confused about which one to choose!
I am somewhat shaken as well.
I come from Bihar. My family has been in Bengal for four generations. See where I am going with this?
So, what does that make me?
A Bengali Enchantress?
A Bihari Enchantress?
A Toxic Bangalan?
A Toxic Enchantress?
Spoilt for choices I am! And enchantress is such an intriguing term. I am drawn to it already!
Well, you don’t have to be a genius to know where the reference is coming from.
Years and years ago, when Calcutta was the British capital, people from neighbouring states would flock the city in search of work. They’d leave their women behind, who when hit by pangs of lonliness and grief would sing songs of separation and melancholy; the subject of the song being how the husband should be brought back to the safety of their homes and how they should be kept away from the “Bangalan” who was capable of wooing their ways into their life.
First all of all, who were these men with no self control?
Second of all, I didn’t make this up, I swear. Some article went on for 2000 words about it.
So, ever since I enchanted my way into this world, people have been somewhat confused about where I belong. And here, you must always belong.
I have been the “probashi bangaali” for many because of the strange accent when I speak the language.
I have shocked the daylights out of my now friends who thought Malyalam was my mother tongue.
“Are you from Kerala?”
I have also shocked very many with the fact that I am a true-blue bihari.
“But you don’t look Bihari?”
How does one look anything? I mean should I start prancing around in a red-white saree with a country-made gun? Will that do it?
Or should I loaf around with a packet of banana chips?
Or should I just recite Tagore while I fill my forehead with orange sindoor?
Sure, we all have our nuances and customs and food…Oh food!
Do I prefer the bhapa ileesh over the litti-chokha or the roshogolla over the ghee-soaked seviyan or the keema golis over the kosha mangsho or the coconut prawn curry over prawn malai curry?
I do not know. I do not wish to choose. Ever. Although I could go on a food rant forever.
I do not know if I am a true blue anything.
A bunch of half-wits have also asked asked me very many eye-rolling questions.
“Do you speak Bengali at home?”
“Well, sometimes. But mostly Hebrew and French”, I have wanted to say.
” Do you eat fish and rice everyday?”
“Of course! What else there is in this world? I also eat chalk if you must know.”
“Why do you have a bengali surname?”
“Long story. Ask the father. Although I wish I could change it to Sartre.”
And the worst…
“Why is your hair so bengali?”
“Huh! Is the rest of the country bald!?”
I may be a lot things and I may belong to a lot of places, but what I wish to be is a true-blue enchantress.