I had Motor Dal for lunch today. No, it did not involve ingredients normally used to make automobile engines run better. No, it did not contain neurons of a certain kind mixed with yellow pulses. It was rather vegetarian. Green peas, I was told. The only metropolis where Motor (Peas) Dal is available – Kolkata.
Earlier in the day, I was asked by a security guard to declare a certain portable computing device in a register titled “Loptop Register” before I entered my office. The only metropolis where portable computing devices are called Loptops – Kolkata.
Amvigubous pronunication apart, this city has a charm.
Is it the ubiquitous mega large yellow ambassador taxis? Perhaps.
The Raj era ambience of Victoria Memorial, it’s manicured gardens, tree lined avenues and “Mallick and Company” fancy wagons pulled by animals that zoologists would have trouble identifying as horses? Perhaps.
Being a leftist state in a rightist country, preferring football over cricket, Saurav over rest of the team and Wills Navy cut over Gold flake. Perhaps.
But at this point, I must draw a line perpendicular to the radius of circle I am drawing. A few years back, I was sitting in a boat with 3 Americans and a boatman moving serenely in a picturesque backwater south of Kochi. It was one of those Kerala Tourism Development Corporation tours where they take you through the backwaters and show you how coir rope is made. The Yanks seemed very intrigued by the coconut trees. The boatman, who in true Kerala tradition, was a Class XII pass, gave them an extended introduction to the various varieties of the tree that gives his state it’s very name. It was then that we came upon a coconut tree with no branches, just the stem ending abruptly. Our boatman, marxist/socialist/leninist/red/scarlet to the core of his soul, just let sarcasm drip like the coconut oil in his head and said – “See that tree. It is like Iraq. No head. No leader. Dead. No soul”. The Americans had no clue how to handle sarcasm from a bony, shirtless boatman from God’s own country.
Now, why that tangent, one might ask. What is the connection between America, Iraq, Kerala and Bengal? It turns out, there are very many. They are practically first cousins twice removed.
Kerala and Bengal are leftist. They both play football. Keralites and Bengalis smoke. Keralites dring Visky. Bongs drink Ouisky. Leftists don’t like America. Keralites don’t like Coke. Coke is American. Americans launch shuttles. Shuttle Coke is what Keralites use in conjunction with a badminton racquet. Iraqi (and other) Arabs migrated to Kerala in the past and came to be called the Moplah muslims. America invaded Iraq and killed the local people. Collateral Damage. Moplahs invaded Kerala and married the local women. Dowry damage. Bengalis smoke. Iraq is smoking.
ps: One earth shattering difference does exist. Bongs prefer fresh water fish. Mallus eat everything that swims.
Please enjoy. Take one each and don’t fight. I believe in peace. Bengalis like peace too. But they prefer it fried with spices.