Today, I did not want to write this post. I did not want to steal the light from The President's Health Care bill or from Apple who intend to end economic woes by bumping iPhones with the rich & famous. But then I am pro choice and if my readers choose to know "What is a Bong", or "Why I am a Bong", so be it.
In my 3& 1/2 years of blogging I have got several spam comments asking the same question, I have got e-mails which I have already answered and I have seen this blog being mentioned with "not what you are thinking" within quotes. I had decided to lie low and not come up with a clarification as to Why a "Bong Mom's Cookbook". But I think the time has come for you to know that I am NOT a hookah smoking, dopey Mom who cooks when she is not high and writes when she is. You might be disappointed by the truth but I can't help it.
To satisfy your curiosity my readers, this is a sketchy guide to a Bong, as known in the Indian parlance
Bong commonly refers to the Bengali Homo Sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"), the only extant member of the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family, native to the historic region of Bengal (now divided between Bangladesh and India) in South Asia.
They are considered an Indo-Aryan people although they are also descended from Mongolo-Dravidians, closely related to Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian, Assamese, Sinhalese and Munda peoples. As such, Bengalis are a homogeneous but considerably diverse ethnic group with heterogeneous origins.
Yeah, that helps a lot. If still interested please read this.
Why Bong and Not Bangali or Bengali ?
A Bangali used to be proud of being a Bangali and called himself thus in the times of Satyajit Ray, Chuni Goswami and even Tapas Pal.
With the Dot Com boom and bust, call center gimmick, Dadagiri and Bipasha Basu, The Bangali got westernized and decided to call themselves Bongs. This I think happened only with the people native to West Bengal. The people of Bangladesh still prefer to call themselves Bangali.
What do Bongs eat ?
Anything and everything as long as it is being followed up by Gelusil, Pudin Hara, Joan er Aarak or Nux Vom 30.
To know more about a Bong's staple diet you should visit a traditional Bong home on weekday morning between 7:00AM to 9:00AM. The Bong Male is forced to eat garam bhaat, dal, alu seddho, uchche bhaja and maach er jhol all hot off the stove before he leaves for opish. That is supposed to be the Bong's staple diet and it is a sacrilege if the earning member of the house leaves home without being fortified with this diet.
At all other times you can see this species grazing on phuchka, alu kabli, egg roll and tele bhaja.
How would I know if the middle aged Homo Sapien male I met today morning is a Bong (or a Bangali if you so prefer) ?
If any of the following is true, you have met The Bong
(a)This species was at your local fish market where he was very carefully analyzing the anatomy of various fishes through thick rimmed glasses
(b)The species on his first encounter regaled you with stories about his ambol(acid reflux) and choan dhekur( more reflux) all the while munching on the greasy egg roll that he just bought from a roadside cart.
(c) After being done with the fish or the egg roll as the case maybe, the species proceeds to enlighten you about the current state of Politiks in his state and discusses how Obama's healthcare bill is going to solve water problem in Midnapore. He might also point out how Mamata is going to protest against this with a Bangla Bandh.
How would I know if the middle aged Homo Sapien female I met at my daughter's school is a Bong (or a Bangali if you so prefer) ?
If any of the following is true, you have met The Bong Moms
(a)On first day of the kid's school and even later, this species was at the school an hour early for pickup or rather she was standing there from morning, waiting for school to get over looking harried, worried and visibly distressed.
(b)The species on her first encounter regaled you with stories about how her daughter/son refuses every morsel of food that is offered and how hard it is to feed her/him.
(c) The species then proceeds to inquire whether your child learns Robindro Shongeet and takes Math tuition, both being high up in the Bong parenting realm.
How would I know a Bong Blog if I read one ?
If any of the following is true, you have met The Bong Blogs
(a) The blog will usually be about food, if not a food blog it will mention food, adda, politiks, phootboll , cricket and food in that order
(b) The blog will have a lot of bh-a-a-t, which means lots of talk in thin air, none of which is of any use to anyone
(c) It might look like this
For a more detailed explanation read this Complete Guide by Dhoomketu.
This post will be up there on the Right side bar and so please refer to it when ever you wish. For now satisfy yourselves that I am a regular Bengali Mom from India who lives and blogs from the US.
Update on 03/24/2010: I did not know about the fire at Park Street, Kolkata until late last night. My deepest condolences to those who lost their lives in the Stephen Court Fire.