I got myself a tattoo the other day. I had wanted one for a long time. But the elation soon gave way to anxiety. I had to break the news to my parents. Since I knew they would react badly, the only question was ‘how much’. They would probably sound dejected at the cost and aesthetics involved. It was after all a collision of thoughts and culture. So with much apprehension I called up Maa.
“Hello, dupure ki kheli?”(What did you have for lunch?)
It was 4:30 in the evening. Maa was on the line.
“Maa ami ekta tattoo koriyechi. Dragon-er”(Maa I have got myself a tattoo; of a dragon)
“Tattoo?Dragon?Chinese? tar mane tui lunch-e byang ar poka kheyechis??chi chi.”(that means you have had insects and frogs for lunch?)
Trust mom to correlate a tattoo with a popular legend of Chinese eating habits.
“Naa maa, poka keno khabo?Ami sudhu ekta tattoo koriyechi,” my voice rose in irritation.(No, why should I eat insects? I only got myself a tattoo)
“Tui barite chole aay ekkhoni. Tui baire giye ucchone gechis. Poka khachchis,china-der sathe ghure berachhis.”(You come back home right now. You have thrown yourself over to the dogs. You are roaming about with Chinese people!)
And she hung up.
…If you are a Bong and you are talking to your mom, she doesn’t care what you do and which part of the World you are in, as long as you can rattle off a list of Bengali dishes that you are supposed to have for a meal. You are also supposed to ensure that concerned cooks make it exactly like it is done back home. Nothing else matters.