Background: I’m a Bengali living far away from my near and dear ones for the sake of my job. That “far away” is still in India but this part of the country barely has any similarity in culture, language, food habits with my background. This is Hyderabad, my current “not”-home. Bengalis are known for their unparalleled love for fish, festivals, literature, art, football and passion for food. But definitely there’s more. But today, I will put that topic aside to adhere to the point. These are the few things I feel I am doing/have done in other way than my community.
When I moved to Hyderabad, it was the first time for me to get exposure of such cultural diversity. I was a fresh graduate, so were my fellow trainees. There were 8-10 Bengalis in that training batch and rest were from all the other parts of India. In such situation people are most likely to hang with the ones they have even the slightest connection. I had already 3-4 college friends there. Nevertheless I hanged with other people. None of my friends were Bengali, rather there were Marathi, Odiya, Bihari, Kannad, Telugu people in my squad. English was our only common tongue, many of ours English wasn’t fluent but somehow it turned out to be a great experience for me. I have seen the Bengali squad to grow bigger, avoiding much interaction with others. They had their own world, I had my own.Maybe that makes me less Bengali!
After training was done, all of my Bengali peers applied for transfer and flied back to home. Eventually I stayed in Hyderabad. I could never find a solid reason to do the same except for the fact that it was my comfort zone.
Fish and rice are part of our daily diet. I know there are parts of the world where fish is not popular as food. The thing that we got in abundance in my hometown could hardly be found in Hyderabad. The fish that I got here, was frozen and of unknown species. In restaurants also, I never showed much love for fish, rather it would be the last option for me. Hyderabad has a good taste for kebabs and biriyani. So I didn’t try to search for what I liked back in my place, I accepted the best that I could get here. I don’t rant about the things I don’t like. Maybe that’s so obnoxious of me.
Durga Puja is the biggest festival for Bengalis. It does not limit itself in worshipping goddess Durga and Hindus. Over time people are getting more artistic, more innovative in making pandals, idol of Goddess, decorating the streets with colourful lights. I have witnessed people from all religion to be part of the festive mood. Dressed up in the best apparel, all will go for pandal hopping. Last year during Durga Puja I couldn’t manage to visit my place. My Intagram, Facebook, Twitter didn’t flood with my missing-home posts. Maybe that’s completely unacceptable.
I could have written this post in my mother tongue. Rather I chose to communicate with the people from all over the world. Internet has made it possible to bring the world closer, how could I miss this chance?
I don’t talk about my background very often, I don’t show how badly I want to return home and lie down on my own bed, have lunch and dinner with my family. My mom would caress my hair and say how much she has missed me everyday when I was away. Moving out is never easy. Adulthood responsibilities are neither. I have done what I had to but my root will always be there. I am proud of my identity, so should you be. Love that, embrace that in you no matter where you go, what you become.
Stay well, peeps! Much love xo