To W(B)ed a Bong

The Bedding Diaries of a clueless, soon-to-be Bride

Monday, August 29, 2005

The pre-nup discussion

Blame this on Shoefiend and JAP. They were the ones who started talking about books and spouses.

Moi: So it was about the book that you would substitute for the spouse. And I am thinking the complete Wilde. I will be happy with Earnest anytime.

Bill: Hmm...that actually brings up something that we need to talk about.

Moi: Like what?

Bill: Well, if we ever decide to go our separate ways, which books do we get?

Moi: What do you mean?

Bill: I mean we need to split our books right?

Moi: Oh that. Thats easy. You take yours, I take mine.

Bill: Yeah but you see by then, it would all be ours. Not mine or yours.

Moi: Not really. The books in this apartment, the ones you see on those shelves, all 452 of them are mine. The books that I see when I am at your place in Pitt, all 43 of them, are yours. EOD.

Bill: I am not sure I agree. Because by then we would be married et al, so it's all ours. Thats the whole point of marriage.

Moi: The whole point of marriage is stealing my books? Do we also get to split all your books back home in Bombay?

Bill: Well, only if we also split yours back in Kerala. And its not about stealing; its about splitting all our worldly possessions fairly.

Moi: But how is it fair? I bring in more "wordly" possessions than you do into the marriage in the first place.

Bill: How do you expect the marriage to work if you keep saying your stuff and my stuff? Its all ours darling.

Moi: Yeah? I don't think so. We need to get a pre-nup going on this.

Bill: Nonsense. We need nothing of the sort. And anyways we will keep buying books after we get married right? So what do we do with them?

Moi: When we buy it, we can decide who gets it and write it down somewhere.

Bill: Let me understand this - when we buy a book, you want to write down who gets the book in case of a divorce?

Moi: Hey, isn't that what this discussion is about anyway?

Bill: I don't believe this is happening. Whats got into you?

Trust me, you don't want to know more. But I will surely let you know when we sign the agreement.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cookery lessons for the Bride

Bill and Mrs. S on the phone yesterday -

Bill: Yes, aunty left for India yesterday. Now the Bride has to do all the work. She says she is going to cook today.

Mrs. S: But (insert any gross sounding Bong dhaknam, I will not divulge Bill's as I cannot bring myself to utter it), does she know how to cook?

Bill: Well, aunty's wrote her some huge recipe book and she's using that. Aunty also gave me a recipe book.

Mrs. S: You? What recipe book did she give you?

Bill: You know how I told you she makes excellent radish sambar and chicken samosas and this dosa-like thing called adai. Anyways, I was telling her that I need recipes for all that, so she wrote me a book which has all those recipes and more.

Mrs. S: Radish sambar? What are you doing your PhD on? South Indian cooking?

Bill: Well, I gotta eat na Mummy.

Mrs. S: Whatever. Does the Bride know any Bong recipes?

Bill: If she does, she hides the fact pretty well.

Mrs. S: Okay then, tell her that I am sending her a recipe book. Which will have Macher Kochuri and Tel Koi and all that.

Bill: But I don't think she knows what they are.

Mrs. S: Don't you think its high time she learns?

Bill: I guess.

Mrs. S: Okay then, its all settled. I will mail this tomorrow.

Dear reader from Kolkata

who googled "sex ed for clueless Bong groom" and got to this site,

I am so sorry that this site is unable to help you in your search. I suggest that you contact Sri Aildas Hemnani of the Manju Sanskar Kendra for help in this regard - I am told that he teaches all secrets to a blissful married life including when to have sex. I am not sure if he has a customized Bong course - I have asked him for it and I will surely let you know when he gets back to me. If you are unable to reach him, I am sure there are many kind-hearted Bong men there in Kolkata who could point you in the right direction. If you unable to find any of them, let me know - I can surely ask Kolkata readers of this blog to see if any of them can give you some clues.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bill's take on his wedding wear

Being brought up in a good Bong family, I knew vaguely that before my wedding, my father or some other elder would have to have THE TALK with me.

Bong Elder (E) : Son, it is now time to reveal to you the facts of life.

Dutiful Son (S) : Yes, Daddyji. But nowadays, they teach it in school. My school teachers drew lots of diagrams and brought charts in bright colors.

E : Fool! No school teacher, even today, dares detail the mysteries to young kids.

S : I am all ears, Daddyji.

E : Yes, you are going to be a man, my son. It is time you know .... the correct way to tie a Bong dhoti!

S : Gulp! What are you talking about?

E : You thought the storks bring a well-tied dhoti? It is an intricate process. It takes hours to learn. It takes a lifetime to perfect. A dhoti is an art form. Not like those uncultured people everywhere else, who might as well wrap a towel for the dhoti they wear.

And so the proud dhoti-waving bongs preserve their culture across centuries, maybe millenia. I am told adolescent females have similar talks about facts of life with elderly aunts, and emerge knowing how to wear a sari.

Unfortunately, this Bong is going to marry into a Tamil family, and the wedding is going to be in the land of towel-wrappers. Thus it is that I will break with hundreds of years of tradition, and the noble art of tying a dhoti will not be passed on to me. But my dear mother is not giving up the good fight of having some token Bong symbols. I will be donning another mark of the dashing Bong groom, the topor (also known to non Bengalis as a fool's cap).

Then again, even worse might be in store. Secret sources inform one that Tamil weddings require the groom to go topless. No shirts, no kurtas, not even a protective shawl!

(I must note that The Bride assures me this wedding is not like that, their family does not do things that way. I ask you, how much faith should I have in that, when she wakes up in the middle of the night muttering dialogues from Kill Bill?)

See, we Bong men have no illusions about having broad chests, bulging biceps and ripped abs. In Bong weddings, you are decently covered up. Looks like it is time to hit the gym with a vengeance.

Anyway, in summary, here's my wedding attire then. Towel wrapped around legs, nothing on the upper body, and a white dunce cap. Weddings, I am learning, are for the masochistic.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bhooth, Boudi what?

Exchanged a couple of mails with the kid brother-in-law. He claims that on those days when he is feeling particularly respectful, he is going to call me 'boudi'. No offence to the language (most of the time I actually think it sounds beautiful) but boudi? Is that some variation of bhooth or what? What a name to call the new addition to your family!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A letter to Sri Aildas Hemnani

To
Sri Aildas Hemnani,
Manju Sanskar Kendra,
Bhopal

Dear Sri Hemnani,

A thousand pranams. First of all, I'd like to apologize for taking the liberty to write to you - I understand that women are not supposed to know how to read or write unless its absolutely essential for the family, but I assure you that this is not my fault. My parents have no respect for our ancient culture and they sent me to an immoral school(can you believe that they had boys and girls in the same classroom?) where they taught me a number of useless subjects such as Science, History and English. I also understand that I am not supposed to write to a complete stranger, that too to a man, but again, its all my parents' fault. If they knew that I wanted to join your school, they would probably shut me up somewhere and never let me out.

My wedding has been set for December, the 5th of this year to a Bengali man who I will refer to as Bill. As I am a traditional bharateeya nari, I cannot bring myself to call my future husband by his given name and so I came up with Bill which sounded very respectful. I must tell you that I got the name from an English movie where Bill, the hero, assembles an assassination squad to kill the woman who crossed him (like any self-respecting Indian man). I hope you never see what happens next in the movie. I must also confess here that I have met my Bill mumerous times but mostly against my wishes. Both Bill and my parents have ganged up on me and they claim that the bride and groom should actually get to know each other before they get married. I know I am not even supposed to see his picture before the wedding but what am I to do? When we were in college in this strange land, I would take care not to look up at any man but Bill would force me to look up at him. What am I to do? How could I disobey a man's orders? Am I not a proper Indian woman? And when I started getting all bad, bad thoughts about Bill - I tried, I really tried to control myself but you must remember that I did not have the benefit of attending your school then - I confessed to my parents and told them that I deserve a good thrashing and they should have gotten me married off to a nice, Tamilian boy when I was 13 years old. But what did they do? They decided to get me married off to Bill. Can you believe that?

Anyway, I do not dare disobey my family and so I will marry Bill. But since I have not received any training on how to be a proper wife, I am really afraid that things will go wrong. I just heard about your school from Uma, who plans to attend your school though she is already married. She has realised the error of her ways and would like to reform. I would also like to join your school and I really hope you would consider me. However, I do have a question for you - Do you happen to have a branch of your school in Kolkata? Because you see, the Bong families have their own ways of doing things - for example, they might sing Rabindra sangeet rather than bhajans; they might have special pujas to appease Durga ma; they might want the bride to cook fish all the time; since they are quite lazy, they might have sex only once a week; and since they wake up late, the early morning puja time may be different. So if you have a localized Bong bride school in Kolkata, I'd definitely prefer that. Even if you don't have a school in Kolkata, I am atleast hoping that you can have a camp there maybe. I have heard there are thousands of clueless brides there just waiting for a school like this to happen.

Yours truly,
A soon-to-be Bride.