cinema: bengali

immigrant love

i don’t think I have ever seen such devotion and patience from any other parent except for immigrant parents. 

those that came here seeking a better future not only for themselves but for the children they either already had or were planning on having. 

the love they have for their children is steeped in hopes and promises and unfulfilled dreams that they unwittingly passed on to us. 

as my parents walked into my apartment their hands overflowing with food and things that I would need I had to stifle back the tears and conceal the thickness in my throat. 

they chattered on and I listened with glistening eyes trying to memorize their faces and their mannerisms. 

my mother filled my fridge with her baked fish, chicken roast and handmade parathas. My father with his toolbox in hand went ahead and began fixing my front door all whilst singing bengali folk songs with his raspy voice. 

My roommates came and I only wished I had a minute more alone with my parents so I could commit to memory how I felt surrounded by their aura, fully encompassed by their comfort. 

When my parents announced to my roommates and I that they were leaving my tears were at a point where I could not hold them back and they began slipping out one by one. 

I walked them out and let out a few sniffles and automatically sensing the change in environment my mother turned around to look at me and her face scrunched up in worry and sorrow asked me, “What happened? Why are you crying?”. 

I couldn’t find an answer. The overwhelming melancholy and comfort had done damage to me and all I could think was why? 

She immediately took me into her arms and cried along with me. 

My father confused kept asking questions. 

They promised me things that I knew was well out of their means. They promised me their presence, their aura, their comfort, their love and everything they had to offer. 

Immigrant parents know the sacrifice they make and the pains that come along with it. 

Immigrant parents even working well out of their means find a way to make things work in their favor. 

my parents left although unwilling to leave me in such despair.  

I showered in my tears tonight with bangla folk music playing in the background. 

Love poem for a Bengali

Our love was like a Boishaki jhor,

sudden and unexpected,

it surrounded us,

made our adrenaline pump

and drenched our doubts

with the purest rain.

Your kisses reminded me of mangoes,

pleasantly tok

or sometimes mishti

and often both,

my favorite variety

you are as serene as a paddy field,

but I cannot even begin to reap you

and as much as I love koi mach

it is indeed possible,

to get a bone stuck

in my throat

38 Reasons Why Growing Up Bong Was The Best Thing



1: You don’t understand food without daal or maach. 
2: As a kid, you were maniacal for half marks in your test papers. 
3: You are well trained in detecting uninvited foreign bodies like mosha & tik-tiki. 
4:You were conditioned to believe that you could survive Apocalypse armed with a file of Gelusil and a tube of Boroline. 
5: Every New Year calendar starts with charting out Durga Pujo dates. 
6: You have grown up worshipping nolen gur. 
7: “Onek hoyeche, ebar porte bosho” was your childhood anthem (Enough, now get back to studies). 
8: You have learned & taught yourself the bong echo-system: Khaabar-daabar, aaje-baaje, poisha-woisha, mota-shota. 
9: As a mischievous kid, you have faced some real lovable words like bandor & bandraami. 
10: You have a serious, committed relationship with botaam & septi-pin. 
11: Only you know the magic of the afternoon nap. 
12: Winters are not complete unless you have overloaded on 55 sweaters. No monkey cap jokes, people. 
13: Your Sundays were & are all about maangsho-bhaat (mutton rice). 
14: Kaemon ache will always be greeted by “ei cholche”. 
15: Your birthdays start with the awesome paayesh. 
16: The gift always comes first. Then comes bhai-phota. 
17: You have been bred to appreciate, acknowledge, love, drink & believe in Horlicks. 18: You have been reminded time & again, how a day has ‘chhobish ghonta’ and what all can be & has not been achieved in that. 
19: You have incorporated a 2BHK space in that tummy of yours because the rice servings never stop. 
20: You have learned never to respond to your old uncle asking you 'chinte parcho (are you able to remember me)’. Because once you act squeaky & say yes, you’ll be counter-asked the most deadly question, 'aami ke bolo toh’ (tell me who I am) & your life will fall like a pack of cards.
21: When your mom came to raid your old clothes, you knew it’s time for 'nekra’ (Poccha)
22: You have alternated your childhood with your name & your daak (home) naam. 23: For you, distance is never kilometres. It’s always in minutes. 
24: You need a kol baalish for a peaceful sleep. 
25: Family get-togethers are incomplete without gorment, politics, sports & entertainment debates and each person is somehow right without agreeing with one another. 
26: No matter how much you study, you will always hear the golden words 'aamar chhele toh porei na’ (my kid never studies). 
27: Even if you are almost dead after a heavy meal, you should be ready for the world’s most innocent question: Pet bhore khechish toh? (Have you filled your tummy?) 28: Every Bong faces the Spondylosis attack at some point in his or her life. 
29: Poshto, begun bhaaja, khichudi & paapad are god’s food on a rainy day. 
30: Luchi makes you dance with happiness. 
31: Your non-bong friends don’t follow your bong humor. 
32: But once with your bong friends, your jokes just don’t stop. 
33: You take art and craft very seriously. 
34: You love the smell of fresh books, old books, books & more books. 
35: You have absolute sense of hatred for 'Nyakami’. 
36: And you have zero tolerance for incorrect grammar. 
37: Every discussion for you is of national importance.
38: And lastly, all of these made your childhood awesome.