Motor Dal, Loptop registers and Kooeen Bheektoria

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.

vm.jpg

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.

yet another ps: Per Priya’s instructions, for the readers of this blog:

rossogolla.jpg

Please enjoy. Take one each and don’t fight. I believe in peace. Bengalis like peace too. But they prefer it fried with spices.

20 Comments

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  1. Brilliant post, and horrendous choice of rossogollahs! You and your wife will choke and asphyxiate trying to swallow this golf-ball-in-syrup monstrosity. Take a proper chetti, and ask them to pack it for air travel. And of course not from any Marwari shop! The bongs still do some things better than most, and one of them is, certainly, make sweets like rossogollahs.

  2. Hilarious!! And I can understand the state of the Americans in boat… sitting in a Leftist state. My friends had once gone to Kerala and unfortunately they reached the day Saddam was executed. Local parties called for Kerala Bandh instantly and they were left wondering why some event 4000 miles away affects this state with no relation to it (except of course the large population of Keralites in the gulf)

  3. I’m abosolutely clueless. Is this hilarious?

    Ashok: you’r Jalsa and Jilpa are getting more and more convoluted for a simpleton like me! πŸ™‚

    The boatman: “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 – β€œSee that tree. It is like Iraq. No head. No leader. Dead. No soul”.

    Felt like “Apocalypse Now”.

    //”Dowry damage. Bengalis smoke. Iraq is smoking.”//
    I apologize, but is this supposed to be humorous?

    Again, I apologize, but I seem to be a moron completely out of the picture failing to get the humor completely!

    Since my comments do not add anything worthwhile to this blog, I’m now wondering if I should comment at all? Your creativity leaves me speechless, your humor, when I get it leaves me laughing on the floor unable to comment, and when I don’t get it, what should I do? Guess, I’m Obleix on your blog, after all! πŸ™‚

  4. Nice post. As soon as I finished reading the post, the very first thing I did was trying to remember spelling of “Rasgulla” on Haldiram’s boxes that we get in Chennai !

  5. Mahendra,
    That entire paragraph was more of a stream of consciousness of vague connections πŸ™‚ Absolutely unfunny. Just contrived.
    The boatman compared the headless coconut tree to Iraq and hinted that Americans were to blame for that. That’s Kerala for you πŸ™‚ The average villager comments on global politics.

  6. “Leftists don’t like America. ”

    And what about the rightists, centrists, no positionists and Trishanku Swargamists?

    name okka country whose citizens, as distinct from governments, like the seppos?

    Enge, Enge, sollungo paarpom?

    BTW-pa, excellent comical stream-of-consciousness piece. Brought to mind ex Mr.Padma Lakshmi’s effort in the opening pages of Satanudaiya ShlokangaL.

  7. Brilliant…

    During one of my first few visits to calcutta ( ie when it was calcutta and not kolkata) it took more than a day for decrypting ‘Moitroi’ to ‘Maithreyi’ πŸ™‚

  8. Frankly, “Motor Dal” is a blessing when you consider the alternative. There’s a restaurant outside IIM Calcutta which features Piss pulao on the menu. Everybody knew what it really meant, but I don’t think anyone actually ordered it. “Why take a chance?” seemed to be the consensus of opinion.

    It’s a hopelessly anachronistic, crowded, dirty, noisy, chaotic city of at least sixteen million idiosyncrasies. But if you live there long enough, you can’t bring yourself to leave. And even if you do, it will never leave you.

  9. Sami, Haldiram RG’s are little bit rubbery no? Besides anyone who writes Rossogolla on a tin is probably a pretender.

    I hear KC das isnt the best either- wonder what is, cos I loooooove KC Das which is the only thing we get in Blr..

    Waill I want to go to calcutter.

  10. (A guilty) πŸ™‚ – since a part me is lol, but a small part feels guilty about laughing at other accents. But I am a big sucker for any comedy based on impression/mimicry – and this is sort of a written version of it.

  11. πŸ™‚ Arun, dJsJ will strive to poke fun at everybody, irrespective of accent, nationality, caste, gender, creed, size of shirt, height, colour of eyes, number of birthmarks, state, profession, DNA and university degree and most importantly, self. So rest assured, no guilt trips here πŸ™‚

  12. Reading this blog after the action is long over perhaps – but very apt and hilarious – only like to add as a die-hard bengalee smokaar – eet eej ouills philtar not Wills Navy Cut in Cal!

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