Eta koro na! Oita koro na!
Education goes for a toss when ‘Dida’ and ‘Kakima’ give you hostile looks if you have inflicted upon the family a lot of superstitious buffoonery.
You may be wondering, what could be the worst case scenario if you see a single ‘shaleek’ on your way to work. Yet, the second a pen falls off the desk and rolls over to your bosses’ feet, you blame the poor shaleek. Such is the irony of the superstitious Bengali who engages in everyday idiosyncrasies in order to weave an easier life and one devoid of devastation.
Be it before the exams and being pulled by the collar of your shirt to not step out on your left foot to being fed ‘doi’ (curd) before an auspicious event, we could sit down with a long scroll and run short of paper to jot down the umpteen number of weird and ridiculously funny superstitions being followed in almost every Bengali household in Kolkata.
Mind you, ever heard of the impact of fellowship? Punjabis, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Biharis and the entire Indian community based in Kolkata too have imbibed the idiosyncrasies. (And we can’t help but adore it)
So give your face a hi5 if you are one of the thousands cursing birds who mean no harm and waste salt by sprinkling it over your shoulders for good luck, the list of the weirdest Bengali idiosyncrasies will leave you scratching your head in awe and let out a giggle at the thought of having done one of these sometime in your life.
1. Don’t sneeze before leaving home, it’s apparently inauspicious.
Dare you sneeze the moment you step foot out, you’ll be called back inside and made to go against your set routine time in order to bring lady luck back into the days agenda. Defying all forces of nature and adjusting your body clock never seemed sillier.
2. ‘Jacchi bolbe na, Aaschi bolbe’
Where are you going? To hell? To heaven? To work? To school? FTW! Aaschi is the self consolation that ‘I’m coming home!’. ‘Ma ke Karan Arjun ayenge’ and no better way than to confirm the act by saying ‘Aaschi’ even if you’re going.
3. Don’t you dare have the audacity to call a person from the back
Keep in hand a few extra seconds to spare to carry out the ordeal of having to re step into home, drag a chair, sit, contemplate about the days breakfast and how the Uber guy won’t wait a second longer, and once your Uber has been cancelled by the driver out of frustration, you may then leave home as you need no car if luck is on your side!
This one has been eternal. The poor cats must be cursing themselves by now for being black as the humans spitting on the road, drawing crosses in mid air and breaking into fits of prayer not only scare the wits out of our furry friends but also let your inner ‘Kali Ma’ surface as you belt out angry statements at someone so harmless for just going its own way.
5.Dim = NO NO
Madhyamik knocking on the doors? If you wanna ace the test shut all your books and just remember not to say ‘Dim’ (egg) on the destined day. For that matter, intake of other forms of protein are absolutely cool except eggs as legend has it, you eat an egg, you get an egg on your answer scripts. Scratching your head yet? Wait up, there’s so much more. Uttering the words ‘Kola’ (Banana) and ‘Kachap’ (Turtle) might even get your answer scripts to fly out the window into the horizon. Crux of the matter? You’re failing my friend.
6.Thursday = No Money Day
If you thought there were specific days of the week for certain meetings, you’re absolutely mistaken. Gods have days and Thursday being the day of Lakshmi, monetary transactions being carried out are considered ill fated. Who knew the Goddess of Money would only prevent transactions on a certain day. It’s like the banks on a Bangla Bandh day.
7.Sun Down Hair Up
Now there is a brilliant story one must hear. There was once a girl who was married and the couple had no problems at all. The moment she slept with her hair open, a snake crawled up clutching on to her hair and bit her husband to death. Moral of the story? Sport the Halle Berry pixie cut, or as they say it, don’t keep your hair open after sun down. Don’t even fall asleep in that stance.
8. Marriage on your cards? Please don’t tell us you aren’t going ahead with the preparations as it’s Chaitra Maash?
If that’s not all, one cannot marry in the months that the bride and groom took birth, or the respective family members were born in. So here’s a quick trivia question- What if each family member were born on all 12 months of the year? Major dilemma!
9.Kool not so Cool!
Valentine’s day for Bengalis is the much awaited Saraswati Puja and if you are lying around like the kings in yester years and getting your girlfriend to feed you ‘kool’ (It’s a fruit, we know the spelling of cool), be prepared to have a break up or trip and break your nose. Having the fruit before the puja is a strict no-no.
10.‘Ek chokh dekhali? Toke petabo’
Bring out your Ray-Bans, as ‘Ek chokh dekhali? Toke petabo’. Showing one eye at the break of dawn or even as the day descends is a total bummer as it is considered hapless and a sin. What if I’m scratching my eye and you cross my path. No! Please don’t pelt me with stones, how is that my fault? Defy sanity mates as this particular one is the most common idiosyncrasy there is.
Phew! Exhausted? Has your brain reached the ultimate level of insanity?
If you are living in the City of Joy, superstitions are an everyday chore, yet take it with a pinch of salt and let’s shrug our shoulders and laugh it off.
At times, when the television at home goes off, a silly mistake turning into a superstition is the only show you’re going to watch and ENJOY all day!