Pratibimb / प्रतिबिम्ब

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“Have you seen Bhee for Bhendetta?”, a Bengali colleague asked me when he came to know of the vast movie resource which I owned.
“Sorry, I haven’t watched many Bangla movies, only Satyajit Ray ones…”, I replied.
And the very next moment, I realized what a grave mistake I had done. I immediately corrected myself, “….err….yeah…yeah…I think I have seen it. You were asking about V for Vendetta right ?”. He gave me a ‘Who’s this asshole?’ look and nodded his head slowly.

Well, that was a small and pretty harmless incident. But imagine what could have happened had it been my boss (if he was a Bengali) instead of my colleague. And this could happen to anybody. So for the benefit of all, here is a quick – reference guide on what to expect from a Kolkatan Bengali.

1. V=Bhee.

A long time ago, when the British came to Calcutta, an old English gentleman had developed some sort of a grudge against Bengalis. Maybe he didn’t like their preparation of fish. (or something else, who cares). So when he was given the enviable task of teaching them English, he taught them, ” …. Q, R, S, T, U, Bhee, W, X, Y, Z ..”

And indeed, great learners as we are, this knowledge was handed down from generation to generation, (like the Vedas). So today we see a Somnath Chatterjee, a Pranab Mukherjee, a Sourav(Bh) Ganguly, and my colleague Mr. X (name changed to preserve anonymity), exhibiting their knowledge.

2. Breeze = a game of cards, bridge= a gentle flow of air.

In my childhood, I took the above statement to be the truth. Anything learned as a child stays long, so it was indeed a rude shock for me to realize (in my IInd or IIIrd class, I don’t remember now) that it was actually the reverse which was true. Anyways, I corrected myself in time. So now I know that when someone refers to ‘Howrah Breeze’, he’s actually not referring to the gentle flow of air blowing over the railway station by that name.

3. WWW = Uaarld Uide Ueb

And similarly, Aishwarya Rai was Miss Uaarld, Sushmita Sen was Miss Eeunibhaars, and so on and so forth… Maybe the grudging English gentleman also taught us to over-stress the Ws and the Us.

4. S=Sh

“He’s shiting on his shit”, was the shocking reply which I got from one of the volunteers at an event at Jadavpur University, which I once went to attend during my college days. All I had asked of him was the whereabouts of the Convener of the event.

And he had said this so cheerfully, as if it were his favourite pastime.

5. अ = आ

Kolkatans cannot pronounce the अ sound. In English, they make it आ and in Hindi, they make it ओ.

Confused? Here are some examples:

cutting = kaatting; convention = kaanbhenshaan, bundle = baandle (or baandaal)

Sachin = Shochin. etc., etc., etc.

So I hope now whoever read this will be better prepared to avoid unwanted embarrassing moments, which might severely affect your good relations with your Kolkatan peers and bosses. 🙂

PS:: This post has been written in good humour. No ill feelings. I am a Bengali, born and brought up in UP. And I am tired of hearing the ‘My language is purer than yours’ taunt from the Kolkatans. So this is a grudge post, intended to give some back in the same coin !! 😀


Written by timir

March 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Awesome post man!! I have been having similar experiences in kolkata… Really you have inspired me to share some of those…


    March 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm

  2. eeyou fucking heepocreet. eeyou think eeyou can write aneetheeng about my felo countrymen and i ouill not retaliate. this time eeyou ouill feel the heet aun june 23rd, more than ebhereebhun else. get ready!


    June 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

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