Kolkata is no easy place to get used to. If you are an outsider, this impermeable world of art, architecture, music and movies will first confront you, and then leave you amazed. But if you are a north Indian, the task (getting used to the city, that is) gets even tougher. Very tough, in fact!
Here's how you can deal with the city: Read on for nine expected, and unexpected, situations you will have to confront if you are in the city.
If you are not a fish-eater, you stand no chance in this city. Okay, perhaps we are exaggerating a bit. Most Kolkatans live on a diet of bhaat and maacher jhol. The average north Indian's one-solution-for-all-meal-indecisions, roti-sabzi, is something people in the city look down upon. If you are a vegetarian, life becomes even more difficult. Thankfully, over the years, food in Kolkata has evolved to suit a variety of tastes: Pan-Indian, as well as international.
(Gifs: YouTube, Tumblr, Giphy)
Language (Is a majorrrrrr problem)
It is not easy to communicate with anyone, from the taxi driver to your teacher who insists on explaining the Cold War or bipolarity in Bengali. (And all you can do is gape.)
3Yaar tum north India se ho, Punjabi ho na?
Kolkatans, it seems, take pride in telling themselves that Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh don't exist on the Indian map. Babu moshay, being north Indian does not equate to being Punjabi!
Is that where you're really from?
Defend whatever state you are from with unflinching passion, but don’t expect to win... because Amartya Sen was from Kolkata. Argumentative Indian, anyone? Delhi is the rape capital of the country... Haryana is (in)famous for honour killings... Punjab has low sex ratios.... Trust us, you will be confronted with all these questions that would make you feel like you are the chief minister of all these states. You would be expected to drone out justifications and reasons, just about all the time: In the class, at work, in the Metro.
Not all north Indians are loud and gaudy; some of us are actually very sabhya (civilised)
“Listen I’ll call you for my sister’s wedding, but you know don’t be too loud and please don’t dress too flashily.” Yes people who don’t really know you, or they definitely know you, will hit you with many more sentences like these. And then, when you still do it, they will love you for being the life of the party.
Ki?! Tumi Bangla jaano na?
So, people treat you differently just because you speak in Hindi. Yes, we’re serious. Well, as a person who has been living in Kolkata for the past 19 years, my Bengali is ‘workable’, to say the least. The truth is: It makes a huge difference, as you need talk to people in basic Bengali to get your work done. Also, some people will totally judge you when you speak in Hindi.
Mind your words
When you use typical Hindi descriptions to describe life, you are met with looks of disgust. So, think twice before you utter, “Zindagi Jhand ho gayi hai.”
When you come down to Delhi or any part of North India, you feel so much love
It would be a scene from some Bollywood movie when you reach your Delhi home; with tears and food making the rounds. (I might be sentimental but don’t get so judgmental.)
The Shaadi shock(er)
North Indian weddings are loud, flashy, and full of fun and food. But Bengali weddings are not. They are a culture shock to us north Indians with that sad shehnai music and no dhol baaja. If you’re looking for some fun, this is not your place to be. Trust us. We believe that weddings should be celebrated, not mourned.
Overall though, you would not have such a bad time as a north Indian in Kolkata, because Bengalis are loving and caring people. And they’re pretty accepting.
P.S. It’s not like you’ll not find other north Indians. So chill.