10 Things You Should Know About Bengalis

In India every community is special, has some wonderful traits of its own, share a rich tradition and culture and all of them together have made this country a unique one. But, at the same time, each possesses curious idiosyncrasies. Let’s discuss some of the quiddities of Bengalis.

• Every Bengali has a nickname. It can be weirdest at times when a 60-year-old lady is called “Khuku” (baby girl) by her close relatives and friends or a sombre looking bespectacled Bengali gentleman suddenly responses to the name, “Bhuto“. And, not to forget, our universal “Dada” is Sourav Ganguly and “Didi”,  Mamata Banerjee.

• Time is an irrelevant factor to Bengalis and punctuality is a word seldom found in their dictionary. Don’t think your wrist-watch is not working when your Bengali friend says,”I’m coming back in just five minutes.” and doesn’t show up for at least one hour.
Another common way to tame time is, “aadh-ghonta dhore bolchhi 5 minute er modhyei jachchi” ( For the last half-an-hour, I’m saying that I’ll be there in 5 minutes).

• Bengalis love their heritage and culture. If even in Antarctica, more than 10 Bengali families are together by any chance, you are sure to find a Durga Pujo Pandal there with beautiful ‘bong babes’ cooking ‘bhog’ (prasad offered to the idol).

1-pujooo 038

• Football is a game that every Bengali understands even better than José Mourinho or Louis van Gaal! It is in their blood and though they feel shy to show their talent to the world, they never restrain themselves to criticise each and every wrong move of Neymar or Messi.

• Bengali men are born intellectuals. They can help you understand everything from Game Theory to Goethe, from communism to deconstruction and everything on earth. You are sure to look at him with  magnanimous respect and awe until his mother calls him up and says,”Babu, baaire boshe thekona,thanda lege jaabe”. (Son, don’t sit there for long, you’ll catch cold).

• A Bengali (girl or boy) is forever a kid to her/his mother. An ideal Bengali mother keeps on persuading her kids on drinking milk mixed with Horlicks instead of cha (tea) and, on wearing the monkey-cap covering the entire head, ears, and half of the face till the last day of her life.

• If you have no idea regarding the differences between a rajbhog and a roshogolla, alukabli and alu chat, Padma’r ilish and Ganga’r ilish and most importantly, ghoti and bangal, don’t ever dare to confront a Bengali on these issues. If you mistakingly do, you’ll be in a thick soup.


• If you want to impress a Bengali girl, praise her father, her brother-in-law and gift her books; not the popular Chetan Bhagat or Durjoy Datta ones, that would ruin her impression about your choice. Go for Brecht, Kafka. Lorca, Nietzsche or at least Joyce. In case you are already feeling asphyxial by these names, play safe and buy a Rabindra Rachanabali.

• For non-Bengali girls, if you are in love with a Bengali guy, call his mother to learn the recipe of prawn malaikari and shukto, try it and serve it with tearful eyes saying, “I know your mom cooks way better than me, but you see, I tried”, and see the magic!

• Finally, as it is said, a Bengali can go out of Kolkata, but it’s never possible to take Kolkata out of her/his heart.

Last but not the least, this post is not meant to demean or insult anyone. Everything stated here is in good humour and must be taken with a half-serious attitude.

P.S. I’ll be back with more of Bengal and Bengalis. Till then, enjoy!

139 responses to “10 Things You Should Know About Bengalis

  1. Pingback: The Year 2015 On Scattered Thoughts: A Look Back | Scattered Thoughts·

  2. This is a very good insight post on the livelihood and attitude of Bengalis. This is my very first visit, selected randomly this amazing post of you Maniparna 🙂 Surrounded by many Bengali friends, i loved to read this lovely post.
    Happy Blogging :))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I learn a lot about the Bengali from your post, Maniparna..now, after reading this, not that I am going to attract a Bengali guy 😀 , but I am curious to taste and maybe to cook “Prawn Malaikari”..


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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Maniparna. You gave some great secrets away about how to win hearts. Sounds like compliment fsmily members and buy good, intellectual literature. You named some really interesting habits of Bengali people, both men and women. 🙂 I hope I may travel and use such fine advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I read the title, I pressed Ctrl+F and searched for Sourav Ganguly and Dada, then went on to read the post 😀
    I need more knowledge 😛


  7. Loved it, Maniparna! Can vouch for a number if things you stated. 😀

    A funny, accurate and by no means demeaning tell-tale attributes of a Bengali. Loved it to the hilt! Will await more!


  8. Wow! Loved this post of yours Maniparna, I can’t wait for more. And as Anoop said we have a lot of common traits. This post of yours reminded me of a certain bong friend I am kind of missing. Keep them coming Maniparna. 🙂


  9. Hi Maniparna,

    As a Bengali, what can I say of your post.

    With your permission, if I may add another aspect of the quintessential Bengali. And in all fairness that really has nothing to do about his process of socialisation or his environment. Which is about the absence of the alphabet ‘W’ in the Bengali script. Which leads to English words with a ‘W’ slant getting pronounced with a ‘V’. Ask a Bengali to say “Volume” and ” Volleyball”!

    Loved the post!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe..right..that’s the regional accent 😀 Also, not to forget about the pronunciation of ‘data’ as daTa,, as in sajne daTa 😛

      But, that era is gone, nowadays, almost every Bengali (forget the politicians and our Didi) has an impeccable pronunciation.

      Thanks a lot for dropping by and adding volume to the post… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bwahaha! I have known some wonderful Bengali people. It is true the men will floor you with their intellect and the women will floor you with their looks AND intellect! Been in Calcutta a few times as well, it definitely has some magic in it..wish some places would get a much needed face-lift though. And I have heard about the monkey caps that break out, the moment a cold breeze dares to blow across the city :p

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hahaaa…this is hilarious! Couldn’t agree more on all the points. 😀 ”Babu, baaire boshe thekona,thanda lege jaabe”. Impeccable humor! By the way, even though I am a Bengali, I never dared thinking of reading Goethe or Nietzsche after taing the pain of reading Kafka once. 😛 😉


  12. This post can easily pass off for the laughter – the best medicine of Reader’s Digest Magazine.
    Interesting and hilarious!
    All states have their own specialities…have you heard of Punjabis? No true Punjabi is a teetotaller and it is considered to be disrespect not to offer booze to his guests!
    They may have had a humble meal but would always boast of having had a feast!
    All punjabis have a sweet tooth and sweets are an essential part of their grocery shopping, even here in USA!


  13. Oh-oh. I was thinking a gift of Shakespeare’s sonnets or Wordsworth’s poems, but Kafka or Nietzsche? I can see that Bengali girls are a tough sell. And I have a legal question: how do judges like Bengali lawyers showing up an hour late? I wouldn’t want to try that before our judges. Yikes! BTW, French Canadians have a name for monkey caps: toques.


  14. These are some really interesting facts to know about a bengali. Always felt that Bengalis had a lot of commonality with Mysoreans, esp with the love of culture and food and the pomp and splendour, this kinda makes me too a little proud 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is exactly why I fell in love with Shreya Ghoshal, until she decided to break my heart and marry someone better. 😛 😛

    On a serious note, most of the traits are same as compared to Keralities. Even more intellectuals than our people. I have seen that many times before for national awards it would be a Bengali movie or a Malayalam movie. About football, they really are very passionate. Even more than Keralities, I must say. Van Gaal doesn’t know much about football re, he just spends a lot of money to come 3rd or 4th 😛

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. One of your different post, a welcome change 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe…Shreya is almost on a sabbatical after her marriage 😦

      By the way, it’s true that Keralities have a lot in common with the Bengalis… all I’ve mentioned except the monkey​ cap thing as there is nothing called winter in Kerala. 😀

      Gaal is a good manager….his interviews are quite interesting 😐

      Thanks for the encouragement, Anoop, that was very much needed… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • lol, she needs her off time too na 😀 She can’t be a workaholic like you 😛 😛

        Van Gaal made Depay play as a forward when he is a winger, he says fellaini would be a forward too. 😛 I think both of that are not great strategies. But let’s wait and see.

        Kabhi toh you can write about yourself and rant something, just writing haiku and poems and reviews won’t do na 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Indeed, very creative and well articulated post.Yes, every community has its own uniqueness and certain aspects are very interesting deviation, and a combination all these make such a beautiful assorted facets depicted by any society, and our’s is no exception. But in each such community in India there are some very strong characteristics that dominate the other…being an Odia and I can relate many of these things mentioned by you for Bengalis, and few are so common like roshogolla, punctuality to nickname…

    I have personally always enjoyed the Benagli cuisines and the sweets are my weakness. Yes, you also feel you have more time to spend when you are in Kolkatta and many things to discuss, only look for an opportunity to start the debate.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Odisha and WestBengal, being neighbouring states, share many things in common. 😀 I’ve a sweet tooth, too and every time I’m in Puri, I ritually buy at least 3 kg of Khaja 😛

      And, Bengalis can start a debate on anything, from Metro Rail to Modi- they have just enough eloquence 😀

      You, too , have a very happy weekend… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. hehe enjoyed reading it, Maniparna. Bongs are known to the cultured and intellectual lot with exposure during the colonial time. Your folks are quite the smart one, my former boss is a Bong. Love reading about it..hehe reminds me of Bluffmaster when Riteish tells Preiti Zinta is Bengoli…dikhte hai Rosha Gulla ke jaise:)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I had a good laugh reading through this post, mani, in fact the laughter is still continuing in my mind, as I write this comment. The only thing new to me is the Bengali fixation with monkey-cap, as I did not know that. It is a new fodder for me to
    pull my Bengali friend’s leg when I meet him next in Kolkata. I love most things about Bengal, it’s people, language, music, in fact the language itself is most musical among all Indian languages. There are only two things I dislike, about men folk that is; one is laziness, and the other is the obsessive attachment to smoking. The smoking habit is on the wane worldwide, but not yet in Bengal. Otherwise it is amar sonar bangla all the way…best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha…so happy to know that the post made you smile… 🙂

      Yes, we are obsessed with the monkey-cap 😛 (a little exaggeration though but it’s true). You are right, smoking is still very much in vogue with us, the womenfolk is not lagging behind either. 😐 and the laziness, I know what you mean 😛

      It’s nice to know that you love the language, it’s really a rich one with a grammar which is almost as difficult as that of the Sanskrit. And, sonar bangla, …true.. in spite of all the bad things, “aamar sonar bangla, aami tomay bhalobshi” 🙂

      Thank you very much for this wonderful comment… 🙂


  19. What a lovely fun read this was! 🙂 I have a few bong friends and I can vouch for one thing : they are the most melodious singers! And the ones that truly appreciate art 🙂


  20. I love this! 😊. Very good for me, a Norwegian living in Kolkata 😊. Especially the thing with nicknames I have encountered a lot 😊. Thank you for teaching me something new 😊💖

    Liked by 1 person

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