The Way This Bengali Guy Studying In US Missed Kolkata On a ‘Mahalaya Bhor’ Will Make Your Eyes Wet
“Ashwiner sharodo prate ……….. “
“Babu, oth ebar ,Mahalaya suru hoe gelo je ! Ki holo oth …”
As the crisp Sunday September sun gleamed through the window blinds of his Indiana college dorm apartment, he woke up to snooze his alarm for the second time. Its Sunday, his weekly ritual of calling his family back in Kolkata would start in a bit. This is Arnob’s first year in USA and first time in 25 years he would be missing durga pujo.
He has his mid-terms and assignment deadlines looming large. Its fall and the streets are gleaming red with every shedding leaf turning into a foliage almost like the bright vermillion on Maa Durga’s face on Dashami. His fellow classmates are excited about American college football season, the grocery stores look bright orange with stacks of pumpkins, kids are gearing up for Halloween and people are already excited about Thanksgiving weekend. Isn’t this what Arnob always wanted?
Growing up, he couldn’t wait to leave Kolkata. His over bearing relatives, the crowded streets of Behala, his school, his college, the kochuri aloor dum, his first high school make out session at the lake, that carefully sheltered first puff of cigarette, bunking classes, the swarm of books in College Street, the constant political duel all seemed to conspire against Arnob and he couldn’t wait to break free. Yet every morning as he brews coffee in his coffee maker and looks at the white bunch of wild flowers by the window all he could think of is the drooping branch of shiuli by their white old Ambassador. He misses the raw cha with lebu his rangakakima used to make, even the raspberry flavored coffee seems flat.
“Thik kore khaabi kintu, bhaat khash toh ?Sabdhane thakish babu !”
“Ma ,ami thik achi chinta korona, tomra bhalo acho toh ? “
“Acha shon babu, tor oi blue VIP suitcase tar baa diker niche pocket ta dekhish, tor chotomamar theke dollar exchange kore khaame bhore diechilam, ekta notun jaama kine nibi bujhli ?Ar shukkurbaar mahalaya sunbi kintu !”
Tears rolled down Arnob’s face; all he could say “Ha ,Maa shunbo”