Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jamai Sasthi-Work can Wait

Jamai Sasthi
Originally uploaded by gopoo.

All play and no work makes 'jamai'(son-in-law) a good boy. When I landed in Kolkata on Monday the 13th June, little did I realise what was in store for me. I had lots of work to do. My colleagues didn't think that was possible. Because it was Jamai Sasthi. A day when the mother-in-law pampers her son-in-law no end with food.

A spirit of gaiety was hanging around the whole city. And in particular in all govt offices where the employees had set their work aside to enjoy jamai sasthi. I should have looked at the Bengali almanac before making my programme. It was the sixth day after amavasya(new moon) in the month of jaishta and for bengalis it is a very memorable day.

Notwithstanding Buddhababu's(CM) call for a new work culture,around 2 pm people wound up their work and headed for sasur bari(in-law's house)with a pot of rosogolla in hand. Not only jamais but women too left their work to prepare an elaborate meal for their favourite sons-in-law. The brahmachari saw no point in being left behind. Offices looked bare,thanks to this self-declared holiday. And there were fewer buses and taxis on the road. Because the drivers and conductors too did not want to miss this one- in- a -year opportunity of being pampered by their sasurma.

And on Tuesday I thought it was all over. No,in Kolkata it is different. The whole forenoon was spent in discussing the previous day's jamai bhoj!


rums said...

somethings just don't change!

Lulu said...

do the bengalis need a reason to slack off :)

gs said...

during our school days in kolkata,like any other kolkattan we brothers were also soccer fanatics.my eldest brother was a east bengal club fan and would almost faint on the stands if eb lost.my mezda(middle brother)was a mohun bagan fan.so to say a 'ghati' and not 'bangal' like my jyeshtada(eldest brother).i wanted to be different and i chose rajasthan club probably because of my marwari friends.and we brothers almost ended up with fistfights when it came to soccer.
and when there were mb and eb matches,babus would walk out of their offices around 3.30 with umbrellas in hand to watch the 'khela'.and there could be riots if either team won and therefore mounted police would be on guard to maintain law and order.
bengalis are very emotional and hospitable people.they are generally cultured with abiding interest in the fine arts-music(rabindra sangeet),drama etc.

as far as work is concerned i must say that at the slightest excuse they would like to put it in the back burner.kaalke dekhajabe(shall be seen tomorrow).the quintessential procastinators.

rums said...

we can't help it i guess, it's in our genes. btw, a gujju friend of mine once remarked that the bongs and tambrams seem very similar; both don't believe in ostentatious display of wealth, both are very proud of their intellectual prowess etc. my dad was there and he shot back saying that the reason bengalis don't flaunt is because they don't have much to flaunt and most bengalis use intellectual hogwash to sidestep important issues, they are plain and simple lazy!

gs said...

rums,you are absolutely right when you say that there are similarities between tambrahms and bongs.simple life styles,very intelligent,fond of music(rabindra sangeet and karnatic music),essentially rice eaters.and the comparison comes to a halt more or less there.whereas the tambrahm is also hardworking,the bong is not.he tries to get away with his brainpower.also the tambrahm is prepared to leave his home and venture into new places to advance his career.the bong generally will say "na baba,na" and "kolkata chhadbo na,chingdi maach chadbo na".he is not adventurous.that is why a decay has set in and wb has lost the lustre it had say 50 years ago.

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