Friday, 16 February 2007


Yes, that would be the Bengali version of your local marketplace. I realized today that I really love Bong market places. The overcrowded, but not jam-packed, busy, buzzing, suburban morning market place with vegetable and fruit sellers with their sheets spread out on what would have been the sidewalk in another country. There were even some with flowers spread out this morning.

The thing that really distinguishes Bengali bajaar's from any other for me is the fact that this is the only kind where I know for sure I can understand everything that is being said :). Growing up like I did in Asansol, almost on the border with (then) Bihar and with more than half the population actually non-Bengali, I actually pretty much caught on to Hindi quite early 'cos you had to know at least some to get around. (Couldn't speak it too well tho :P.) But in Kolkata, especially a suburb as far up north and away from the city proper as DumDum, you don't even need to know Hindi, much.

I think since I got to Mumbai, and to a greater extent while flitting in and out of KL and Oslo (oh and Japan!!) I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that a lot of the conversation in the background will remain indecipherable. But in these parts, everyone more or less gives the entire world and their aunt (plagiarism acknowledged :P) the implicit right to know every detail of their lives. I mean every one can hear everyone from like a mile away! And it's good fun to be walking along, tuning in and out from one bizarre crazy conversation onto the next...

Okay, so after having scared the crap out of myself by coming up with the above draft earlier, (I was pretty sure I hated all kinds of markets!! Though that might have something to do with my non-existent bargaining/haggling skills.) I ended up taking a trip down to Howrah. And there are some major qualifications to the above mentioned bajaar scenario. It has to be small enough so that no one living more than maybe half a kilometre away would bother to land up! Anything any bigger is a mess! I mean just take a look at central Kolkata! I hate that place!!

Anyway, what was good was the fact that I was on a teena bus. Usually I'm the one cursing and swearing from one of the tiny cars trying to get past the super slow load of junk that would royally stop in the middle of the road to drop off passengers, leaving a long line of drivers fuming on it's tail :P. Also, there's the sense of security, given that you're actually in the bus instead of anywhere in it's path. Till the driver bakes so hard you almost fall out of your seat that is.

Then of course the train I was waiting for got delayed by an hour and a half. And of course Howrah station provides no information on delayed trains. You just wait. So I ended up walking by the Wheeler's store a few times before picking up the book I've been avoiding for a while, just because of the title. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Does no one else feel just a teeny bit scared when they pick up a book called that? Now I hope it takes a while for the respective authors to come up with the last of the Inheritance and Game World trilogies :P.

Feeling: guilty :-S
Listening to: Norah Jones - Shoot the moon


histrionix said...

Where did you plagiarise 'your aunt' from?

kray said...

:)) right, like u don't know!
given that u are the only I know who uses it.

Vinod said...

Marquez is at the bottom of my pile also. I am not scared by the title. Just have so much better to read!
And I have never noticed Histrionix do that! :-/ Atleast not in English!

kray said...

I dunno abt better, but I do have a lot to read before I can get around to 100 Years :-<... I should get back to reading :(

and.. well if you've really never heard her mention the world and their aunt, you can either take my word for it, or ask her urself /:) and yes, it is English.. can't imagine it sounding right in Bong, there are too many kinds of aunts :P

histrionix said...

I figured it was probably me, just that you acknowledged that you plagiarised it, just not from whom:P (yes I am an attention seeker:P)