Monday, January 15, 2007

Kol Kata Aaj Cuttack

Bhai's whereabouts: I have moved out of Calcutta and landed at Cuttack (my ancestral home) and finally got net access! I think my fingers jumped with joy at the touch of a keyboard after so long, even though most of the keys have had their letters rubbed off so I'm just typing on blank keys. My Dad saw me doing that and kinda freaked out. :P

A few months ago, Dad told me he was getting a transfer. I wasn't happy. I hadn't seen Lucknow and looked like he would be outta there before I visited India next. He told me he didn't know where he was getting transferred to, but he was trying for one of the eastern states.

"Dad, go anywhere but Calcutta, okay?" I was not really a fan of Calcutta as my last encounter with the city had left behind images of the bad traffic, crowds and pollution.

A few days later, after consultation with his good friend Murphy, Dad called me. He sounded very cheerful.

"I'm getting transferred to Calcutta!" He said.

Gee, thanks a lot, Dad. :/

So when I packed my bags and part of my wedding shopping and landed at Calcutta on the 5th of January, I wasn't exactly ecstatic. But somehow, within the very first week, the city seemed to grow on me. I would go with Dad for his morning walks and check out the roadside sabziwalas selling amazingly fresh vegetables. They even have customer service now, the fish seller insisted on buying Dad a cup of tea as he waited for the fish to be cut. It was hilarious to see Dad try and converse with them in Bengali considering that his vocabulary is limited to 'Koto kori?" Even Mom sounds adorable when she struggles with Bengali while speaking to the domestic helper, who by the way remarked that my Bengali was better than Mom's. Muahahaha! :D

Our neighbour took an instant liking to me and I'm still trying to figure out why. Her Bengali-mixed Hindi is so cute it's almost distracting. "Tumi itna roga kyun?" She asked me. ("Why are you so thin?") Also, "Aami shokaal mein thaanda jol chul mein daalkar chan kiya." ("I washed my hair with cold water while bathing this morning.") Why one would do that in winter is beyond me, but apparently she likes bathing with cold water. Brrrr!

Baby Aish is here too, and attempting to stuff all her toes into her mouth seems to be her ultimate goal in life, while mine seems to be teach her to do a high five, which is more like her entire hand against my thumb. Her other antics include holding up the book I bought her (yes yes, there are books for infants) between her legs, and turning the pages with her hands. And oh, she spoke her first word and it is "This." I swear. Actually it's more like "Thissss!"


And may I also mention that I have successfully convinced baby Aish that I am John Abraham. Come to think of it, "Sayesha, you look like John Abraham." is not exactly a compliment, but she was watching the song "Where's the paty tonight?" on TV and really smiling whenever they showed John, and suddenly the song changed and she started crying so I kinda continued from where John had left off and she smiled again, even though I kept repeating "Where's the party tonight? On the dance floor!" like a zillion times because I don't know the lyrics, but she was happy to see me prance around I guess. It's amazing how she has made a singer and dancer of everyone in my family. And I seriously believe that I have lost the ability to speak in anything other than baby talk.

Things are still the same at home though. The fight for the remote control continues. I continue to treat my elder sister like my baby sister. Speaking of which, baby Aish caught a cold, and we took her to a child clinic. The paediatrician took one look at my sister and baby Aish and said "So which one of you is my patient??"

We've been wedding-shopping every single day. Frankly speaking, it feels great not to have a job to wake up to, and just roam around Calcutta and spend Dad's money. Mom has got the hang of crossing the busy streets of Calcutta with such expertise that I'm absolutely amazed! This is how it happens:

Mom - Okay, cross after the taxi!
Me - Err.. which one of the twenty thousand??
Mom - Arre...This one...
Me - Uhh... are you sure?
Mom - Go now! Chalchalchal!
Me - Jai ma Kalkatte-wali!

While looking for my wedding sari, I met a few interesting characters. These days, when you're selecting a sari, the shopkeepers ask you "Should I drape it?" It basically means that they will help to drape it around you using a welcro belt so that you don't really have to 'wear' it to see how you will look in it. I remember this one particular shopkeeper who was showing us a sari that I really liked. "Should I drape it?" He asked. "Yes yes." I said. What happened in the next few seconds is something I would have never imagined. The dude draped the sari around himself!!! I think it will take me a while to get rid of the image of that moustached man in what could have potentially been MY wedding sari. Sheesh! Obviously I could not look at that sari the same way again. The guy is probably sitting in his shop and wondering to this day what made me reject the sari that I had initially been so enthusiatic about.

After the wedding saris were bought, we went to the tailor to get the blouses stitched. When I saw them, the blouses looked breathtakingly beautiful! When I tried them on, they were...err... breath-taking.

"Dude, I can't quite remember asking you to stitch corsets." I wanted to say to the tailor, but I managed with a "Khoob tight aachhe." ("It's very tight.") He went on to give me a long lecture on how girls of today like me don't wear saris, and so we have no idea that blouses are meant to be tight. "Aap Star Plus dekhta hai? Saas-bahu wala sherial? Usme blousa dekha? Shob tight hota." He said. ("Do you watch Star Plus channel? The mom-in-law and daughter-in-law type soaps? Seen the blouses they wear? They're all tight.") The dude even got his mother to try and convince me that the blouses were fine, and it was only because I was not used to wearing them that I found them so tight. Anyway, we came home, and Mom and I altered them ourselves, and now I think I can breathe when I wear them. Here's one sashtang pranaam to all the women out there who can manage to stay alive in those blouses. :O

I'm also trying to learn how to tie a sari myself. And yes I do watch the saas-bahu serials to check out the way the bahus seem to effortlessly carry the heavy saris and jewellery.


Shopping in Cuttack will start tomorrow. The weather here is nice too, it's not as cold as Calcutta but it's pleasant. Baby Aish and I have become the centre of attention of everyone. I think even the dog here (I call him Manohar, cos I dunno his real name) is feeling kinda jealous.


Relatives are fawning over me like anything, and I'm loving the attention. Some of them are asking me funny questions. "Is the boy nice?" Hehehe... what do they expect me to say? "No, actually he's not, I'm just marrying him for the heck of it!"? :P

I'm also undergoing the ceremony whereby everyone thinks that it is good luck to invite the bride-to-be for lunch/dinner and stuff her with stuff fried in desi ghee. Sheesh! I'm eating so much here I'm amazed at myself. The servants too (some of whom have seen me from my diaper days) are also pampering me with all my favourite dishes. The tailor's warning rings in my ears "E jo aapka figaar hai na figaar? Usko maintain rokhte hobey!" ("You must maintain this figure of yours.") Sheesh! :/

That's all from me as of now. I will try to update more if I can squirm out of adoring aunts pinching my cheeks and saying "Sayesha!! I saw you when you were a little baby! I can't believe you're getting married!"


Well, frankly speaking, I didn't see myself as a little baby, and even I can't believe I'm getting married! :O





42 comments:

chanakya said...

GOLLLLD

Cal - my second favourite place in the whole world.

Shopping in Cal is delighful na?

Make sure there is a pic of ur cheeks getting pinched :D

Macho Girl said...

wow! sounds like fun! shopping all day and no work. Damn! I am back to classes now!

And i dont think i have said this before, so lemme say it now...

CONGRATULATIONS! Here's to a wonderful life for you!

*clink*

Macho Girl said...

and oh yeah... forgot... i cant breath in my blouses either. And my tailor insists thesame thing! Most of us were gasping for breath on the concert day in September!!!! :|

satish said...

SAshhhhhhhhhhh!!!!


BRONZE!!


Jay maa kalkattewali!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Spammer anonymous bhaisahab ko kuchh nahi milega... to Bronze ke baad jo bhi milta hai wo mera!!

Abhi post padhunga

Anonymous said...

Nice to see an entry after a long time :)..

And I was lol on imagining this -- "..holding up the book I bought her between her legs and turning the pages with her hands." :D :D

Finally, enjoy yourself :)

-Sowmya

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

So the grand Kolkata it is for your wedding and shopping, ain't it? Wish you an awesome new life and year ahead! :)

Thisisme said...

the last line was the best :))

me thinks..i wud end up sayin the same on my own wedding :)):))

congrats dear n have a great time..and yeah ..woh figaar zarur maintain karna :D:D..ur tailor is cool yaar! :)

Bivas said...

//I'm also trying to learn how to tie a sari myself.
really!!!...i thot u just wrapped it and jumped into fill the hollow inside ;-)
So njoing India huh...karo karo khoob aish karo :-)

Bivas said...

U might njoi the weather in Cuttack as well...it's not too cold this year as it is supposed to be :-)

shub said...

wah lau! post and all! :D Good to see :)

justme said...

nice to know u love the wedding rituals in India... kepe having the same fun...

neihal said...

nothing .....and I mean nothing in this world can make me like Cal....but I love shopping there....and everytime I do wish something wud just transport me from my place to the market without me having to cross all those zillion streets....
Enjoy sayesha....have a greaaaaat time:)

Abhi said...

lo kar lo baat.and I took a flight outta calcutta on the 4th of january.tere bhayah se pehle ek baar mil leta tho aatma ko chain aa jata bitwa.ab tho tu paraya dhan hone jaa rahee hain.sob sob.

Rebellion said...

Ditto on your last line Sash!
Even I haven't seen you as a baby but... Even I can't believe your getting married :O :P

You came online, blogged (no doubts it was tooooooooo cute and I had this constantly increasing curve aka smile on my face thruout the post) but DIDN'T CHECK YOUR MAIL?? I don't believe Sash you didn't write back x-( :(

Btw, the call got disconnected that day, tried back but network was busy! Now that you've moved to Cuttack and I don't have your new number, please care enuff to let me know dear. I had full plans to call you today :(((

Anyways, have a great time shopping and loooooooots of hugs & kisses to Aish :)

Best of Luck girl,
Take care,
Aarti

Sakshi said...

Oh Great.. Colcotto aashi?
If there is one city I dislike, it has to be Culcutta :)
So stuffing yourself, learning how to drape a sari and shopping..
Bhai is changing ..
Good luck with shopping and enjoy the wedding :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sash,

Congrats!
Have a great time in India.

Lotsa love to Aish,
Sangeetha

Shailesh said...

Very long post. Lost in the middle :(

The-Ignorant

http://theignorant.blogspot.com

ankurindia said...

yep calcutta is so kool . except pollution and crowd

GARRETT said...

//Well, frankly speaking, I didn't see myself as a little baby, and even I can't believe I'm getting married!

This really cracked me up... had read few of yr blogs b4... but just went thru the archives in the past fortnight... U really write gud and this post continues the tradition...

GARRETT

dharmu said...

bhai, a psot after a long time! i was waiting for it. and yeah, enjoy the wedding. i had mailed you, mila kya???

rt said...

hey amazing post..i hope ur marriage dont take away one of the best post writers ..
but am sure all ur readers are happy for u!!

Sneha said...

awwwwwwwwwwwwww

Idayathullah said...

Start believing bhai...
D-day is fast arriving :D

Otherwise, on the marriage day, when the pundit says "bring the bride", you (in ur heavy silk saree, extra heavy jewels, extra extra make up) r gonna start looking for the bride along with everyone else.

PizzaDude said...

Great to have you in India.. Btw, when is the D-Day ?
:)

Anil said...

Cuttack.... what a small world.. I lived there for 8 years... right across Ravenshaw College... went to the KV there.. (don't remember the exact location..) and spent one year at Stewart School... and I still remember that big saree store... I think it's called Kedarsons...

பொற்கொடி said...

oooooooooo wow congrats sayesha! silent reader of yours for a long time, n coming here after quite sometime. i got married :p and here u r getting married :) great, enjoy the pampering n attention, u will never get that back :(

-porkodi.

virdi said...

arre jhakasssssssss...

Calcutta is a nice place yaar... its very dirty but... sala full ganda with full of Biharis... The best thing abt Calcutta is that most of the times u can have a holiday just like that...

BANGAAL BAND !!!!

black tulip said...

hahahahahaha.. 'tis so good to see u at the bar again! *cheers* :D

naari said...

Naari...enjoy all teh attention and fun.Have a great shopping spree and may you have lots of fond memories from this time :):) And yeah!! get off the phone from time to time so I dont get a busy tone when I call you :(

Rohit Talwar said...

Man, I suddenly have images of the time when my sister was getting married - almost a year ago. And the five months before that...err complete madness. :/

Wedding kab hai? Happy shopping..and err have fun!

The One said...

Enjoy the attention while it lasts - soon you will be one of them, expected to pamper the young unmarried ones!

Tarun. said...

Calcutta, a city of a bygone era.

Hmmm ... got lots of Bong friends from there ...

Anyways what about all the money one gets after getting tikkas.

Nothing is economically as viable as a trip to some odd wedding, nothing is better than doing some odd work and getting paid thrice the amount by three different people.

:))

Prayank said...

congrattz bhai ...

nice to see junta liking kolkata ... it truly grows on you

Cheers

Tejal said...

SHEESH!!! i was in cuttack yesterde!! shud hav read ur blog before!! :((
neway...cool tym u had shoppin huh? bt cal's a fun place to shop..heheh... u can get watEVER u want in such a short while..hehhe...obviouly if u can cope up wit da shopkeepers..hhehe... but ur doin quite well...as usual awesome post :)
n WEN exactly is ur weddin ya?

koipahailee said...

ur post is like
jaisay aik glass pani ...
bohot piyaas mainn!!!!!

hehhehehehe
enjoy us self big gal

Di said...

arre these tailors do that thing!! its so annoying i tell u...i was almost suffocated by one tailors blouse that seem to b stiched for someone who was 1/3rd of my size! sab mile hue hain!!:-/

Ish said...

Hi, i dunno how i landed on your blog, but have spent better part of today reading all the posts. The loooooongest one on how you guys got the birthday card to vikram knocked me cold..
and i am still trying to figure out how come i missed out on thums up at bombay cafe. Of course i did miss out a lot of things out there... GoldFlake Kings, Khodays XXX Rum, KingFisher etc., Every time i have traveled to SG, my entire gang of friends used to wait for their monthly rations of these above mentioned items.

is that dumb ssa stealing your posts still troubling you?

last but not the least, Congratulations on getting hitched..All the very best wishes for your marriage.
Btb, who is that you are getting married to? must be hidden somewhere in your posts; thou shall dig it out later
keep blogging...you have earned yourself one more fan!!!

+++++++++

Sudeep said...

GOSH!!
oye teri shaadi hain.. i thought ki 'my wedding saree' matlab koi weddig mein 'my saree' kehna hain tuzhe.. congrats yaar.

Upar ki post padhke i thought ur sis n aish had come to s'pore..

kya yaar invite bhi nahi kiya shaadi mein.. free ka khana miss hoga ab mera :D
fukat te poushtik
ask ur bengali frnds to translate this marathi line :D
aamhi bongla bujhte pari.. bolte paari naa

chal bahut lamba comment ho raha hain.. wishing u a very very happy married life.. have a gr8 time whrevr u be :)

Sudeep said...

n john is in tht song? :o
didnt see tht video lekin movie mein nahi hain na?

Vaijayanta Chattoraj said...

Hey everyone im from Kolkata (Calcutta)....yeh the place is a bit dirty....bcos many ppl lack the civic sense......and the city has been filled by bihari rickshaw pullers, hand pulled cart pullers, coolies, all of them are bihari who dirty the place more.....thanks to the Bihar Government...for sending them to Kolkata to dirty the place.......actually they have no faults.....they are poor....have no place to sleep.....or stay.....they work here and ther during the day....and sleep.......eat.......cook........do everything on the streets.....no one can be blamed....its happened....and theres no cure......but ever place is not dirty......only parts of central kolkata and howrah is dirty....real dirty.....reat of the kolkata is as clean as any good locality in bangalore mumbai or delhi......

Vaijayanta Chattoraj said...

So Sayesha....when r u getting married....great news and to whom......who is the lucky guy....soes he read ur blogs.....often ....reply...