Growing up in Kolkata, surrounded by Bengali moms giving their kids sermons at every brown nook and cranny of this tea stall infested city, is an affair to remember. Having practically lived in the house of my uber Bong BFF all my childhood, I’ve been subjected to many such instances of righteous preaching. And after having gone through them all my life, I think it’s safe to say these eleven teachings have reached their expiration date:
1. “Chol Pronam Kor”
Translation: Pay your respects to the elderly.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to respect the older members of your family. But being asked to touch their feet in the middle of a jam-packed market or at the metro station (or even in the middle of a moving bus) is hardly feasible.
2. “Bore Hoye Gecho, Ekhon Ei Shob Korbe Na”
Translation: You’ve grown up, now quit behaving this way.
This is something you’ll hear even before you’ve outgrown your toddler pajamas! Expect to be hit with it for anything – from shaking your leg at the table to buying a bucket of ice cream now that you’re a working adult. The list goes on and on.
3. “Ei Tupi, Sweater, Jacket Porechis?”
Translation: Have you worn your hat, sweater, and jacket?
Especially when it’s 25 degrees outside, and you could probably do with a light layer? Yeah, Bengali moms, as sweet and protective as they might be, think it’s always tundra cold in December in Calcutta.
4. “Eto Thaanda Ice Cream Khaabi Na”
Translation: Don’t eat cold ice cream.
Wait for it to turn into a soupy molten mess, which you can then scoop up and drink like flavored milk. Yum! Not really. The logic, though? Cold things can make you catch the flu. Now beat that.
5. “Classey First Ke Chilo Ei Baar?”
Translation: Who came first this time in your class?
It comes from a good corner of the heart (Bengalis really care about education and academia), but expecting your kid to be the nerdiest nerd of all is quite a lot of pressure. Honestly. Grandma and grandpa’s double master’s degree notwithstanding.
6. “Rekhe Dao, Pore Kaaje Lagbe”
Translation: Keep it; it’ll come in handy later.
Want to throw away that ten-year-old t-shirt that doesn’t fit you anymore and has a thousand holes in it? Forget it! It stays. So does the emo poem you wrote at sixteen and the tricycle you rode at six. There’s no waste in a Bengali house. Just recycle and reuse.
7. “Chhuti Holey Pora-Shona Korbi Na?”
Translation: You think you’ll stop studying if the holidays are on?
A subtle reproach of your holiday laziness, this is the Bong mom’s way of guilt-tripping you into studying even if you’re on a session break after a long grueling exam and don’t have your new books yet!
8. “Maachh Khele Buddhi Hobey”
Translation: Fish is key to being brainy.
The secret to a super sharp mind is fish and fish alone! Honestly, though, all it takes is paying attention in class and doing your homework (and, of course, a balanced diet).
9. “Durgo Pujo E Baari Phirbi Na?”
Translation: You won’t come home for Durga Puja?
A blasphemy, to say the least! How can you not come back home for pujo now that you have a million assignments to do/an important deadline to meet/or an exam to give?!
10. “Kothaye Aachis? Kaar Saathey? Kokhon Aashbi?”
Translation: Where are you? With whom? When are you returning?
Whether you’re married or a teen in the same city – she’ll keep tabs on you like a human GPS you didn’t know you had tracking you!
11. “Shob Panjaabi Culture”
Translation: Blame it on Punjabi culture.
If there’s something about you she can’t quite comprehend (from your rajma-chawal eating ways to your love for alt rock music), it’s all “Panjaabi culture”!
Call them out for their idiosyncrasies all you want and swear to yourself you’ll never be your mama when you get there; you can’t help but find their staple dialogues all too endearing sometimes!