Intellectual Cravings of the Bong..

If there’s something I could ever be guilty of, it should be eavesdropping.

Yes, it so happens that I find it extremely pleasing to my curiosity. Eavesdropping can become quite a hobby; or what many may stretch to call, a habituation. And I’m the addict here. In a cosmopolitan campus such as that of my University, you get to hear about ten different languages easily, and not all of them are strictly Indian. Adding to that, my being a Bengali gives an added advantage towards my mother-tongue! Unsuspecting Bengali couples in the campus (everyone agrees to it: we bongs, are everywhere!) fight, talk, or even do their typical coy-stuff, while I immediately tune my ears to that frequency..

Yesterday, I sat beside one such couple in the Food Court – one of those intellectual kinds! And over the entire meal, this is, but everything they talked about:

Him: ‘Hey, I saw Abar Byomkesh yesterday! I’ll pass on the movie to you tomorrow..’
Her: ‘Aah! The great Sharadindu.. But I don’t understand how you still herald Satyajit Ray and his Feluda in the highest honor! He’s for them kids, you should really move on to Kiriti and Byomkesh now.’

Byomkesh Bakshi, Kakababu, Feluda a.k.a. Prodosh C. Mitter and Kiriti Roy are perhaps the greatest detectives in the history of Bengali and subsequently, Indian literature. They’re absolutely on the par with those of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Father Brown! Popularly, they’re referred to as the ‘da’s of Bengali literature – ‘da’ is a way of affectionately referring to a person in Bengali, who is 'just about' older than oneself. Anyway, point is, look where the conversation is going..

Her: ‘Don’t you think Satyajit Ray was undervalued in his own country?’
Him: ‘Well.. I think they were just way ahead of their time. Like the movie No Smoking, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Premendra Mitra’s Ghana da?!

To talk about the da’s of Bengali literature and to miss the likes of Tenida and Ghanada, would be a crime worthy of a punishment! I’m not much familiar with Tenida, so I’d stick with Ghanada or Mr. Ghanashyam Das – a mild-mannered, middle aged man living with a couple of residents in an all-boys’ mess at the fictional Banamali Naskar Lane, and perhaps single-handedly responsible for the balance of power in the world! It is a collection of the most funny, yet very much accurate science fiction stories, where Ghanada is usually involved in some serious international business where the CIA and MI5 collectively need his help to infiltrate/dismantle some destructive secret projects run by the KGB! One such involving a bioweapons-project to develop mosquitoes, to be used as WMDs against the Western countries, and Ghanada being the one to kill the only mosquito that came out alive from it – be advised, that’s the only one he’s ever killed with his bare hands! His ancestors have brought about the Incan downfall, helped Sivaji’s escape from the Agra fort and he has even been to Mars.

Accept it, Curiosity! The Martian crater you landed on the day before yesterday, was maybe a remnant of his footfall.. Well, he’s is a class apart, and I can go on and on about him.
So, Must. Stop. Now.

Her: ‘You know, there used to be Indian literature that reflect the world history!’
Him: ‘Yeah, one man wrote the greatest adventure/thriller ever - ‘Chaand’er Pahar’ - in bengali and he’s never even been to Africa!’
Her: ‘You know, there are things lost in translation when people around the globe are reading them, that can never be fulfilled. Mother-tongue is such an asset! I mean, look at some Hindi, Malayalam and Marathi literature.’
Him: ‘…’
Her: ‘You know, you should try some Russian translations. Very left-bent, yes, but great stuff!’
Him: ‘There is one thing you should know darling, I don’t quite follow communism and hence, I don’t support it..’
Her: (Looking suddenly dejected) ‘Well I don’t understand it, and so I refrain myself from commenting.. and so should you too! All I can do, is but quote Arundhati Roy here - Communism is an edifice constructed by human intelligence, only to be undone by the human nature.’
Him: ‘Yeah, true that, but.. But, I wasn’t exactly commenting!’
Her: Another crazed look from her, brought the topic to an end. Thus giving fresh evidence to the much debated and hushed-about contemporary law, that states that women tend to have the last word.. and guys suck back at it!

The conversation further spiraled into the amazement that is science. The ‘Him’ talked about how math is actually a universal language of science and that ‘Biology’ is nothing but further culmination of physics and chemistry'. The ‘Her’ instead said, that math is an art and went on to quote Bertrand Russell. They went on to talk about what an irony it proves to be that Bertrand Russell suffered of Alzheimer’s disease in his last few years.

At this point, my cappuccino was more than just over and the sandwiches were being acted upon by them digestive juices. It was time for me to get up. But I couldn’t just leave like that.. After hearing all that I had to make a statement. And so I did. A typically ‘me’ statement.

‘You know, who my favorite author is?’
They looked discomforted and totally fazed. And I absolutely loved it!

‘Chetan Bhagat..’ said I, and got up.

I think they choked onto their metaphorical vomit upon my answer and suffered from a painful shock, at least for the next few hours. And of course, Chetan Bhagat was not my favorite author. What did you think? And the more I thought about what they were talking about, I jested at it lesser and lesser until I gave all of it, one serious thought. And then realization struck!

Dammit! The girl was so true! Math in all it’s reality, is an art.

Or the way I get it, ‘PASSING a Math exam is really an ART!’

1 comment:

  1. Math is the only thing people all over the world can agree upos