While doing some blogsurfing, I came across this somewhat catty vitriol on someone’s page ( a lady’s)
Now the one who really stood out was this woman called Vijaya Balan (think that was her name). Apparently, she’s Mallu, but she really looked like a quintessentially Bengali woman. Wore her sexuality on her sleeve. You know what Bengali women, especially from Calcutta, are like? Overtly sexual — it’s not like they dress like Mallika Sherawat or something. On the contrary, they’ll wear these rather ethnic saris and big bindis but then then they’ll arch their bodies in this overly seductive manner and speak in this low breathy manner. It’s like a perpetual come hither look on their face. And this woman got that so perfectly — her champagne voice, the quiet drawl, the swing of the hips. Yikes! And to think men are suckers for that kind of crap!
Wow ! Here I am, a Bong guy who grew up in Kolkata and I must confess, I never knew that *all* Bongo ladies walked with a seductive swaying of the hips and talked in hushed whispers while arching their backs.
Now it very well maybe that because of my personal charisma and drop-dead good looks, Bengali ladies, who would be overtly feminine in front of other guys, adopted their most masculine traits in my presence.
Truth be told….I understand the blogger’s point. The problem is that she makes a gross generalization which is interesting mainly because this is not the first time I have heard it. From more than one non-Bengali friend, I have heard this “Bong babes are hot” refrain——–I remember watching “Aye Uri Uri” from Saathiya amidst a crowd of desis at Stonybrook when a guy from UP, no doubt inspired by Rani Mukherjee’s bedroom antics with Vivek Oberoi, whispered to me (without any come-hither arching of his back may I add) that
“Dada, I have to hand it to you. Bengali girls are the BEST.”
I sighed. Growing up in Calcutta, we had a similar fascination for Punjabi girls—–according to urban legend, Punjabi girls had figures to die for, knew the art of seduction, had malleable morals and in general never said “no” to anything.
The reason I pined for Punjabi girls was because historically the Bengali girls I interacted with were unfailingly brusque, boring from a hormonal standpoint, stand-offish and about as hot as last week’s leftovers. They were good friends and nice people…..but came nowhere near the ultra-feminine Bengali lady stereotype.
But again this was just based on my limited interaction with girls (My batch in Computer Science at Jadavpur Univ had 55 guys and 1 girl)——mostly girls whom I knew from high school who were also doing their engineering at JU.
And then I got introduced to some girls from across the jheel (rivulet)—-the Arts campus. Immediately, I noticed the difference. Intensely feminine, lispy smiles, a curl of hair falling seductively on the forehead, whisps of perfume and yes sometimes the arching of the back, the slanting of the head, and the entire-damsel-in-distress-waiting-to-be-rescued-by-knight-in-shining-armour routine.
Coyness. And boldness. But the boldness was not obtrusive enough so as to be considered vulgar —a kind of subterranean well of passion which you knew would gush out only if you knew how to press the proper buttons. In other words—– “I am game for anything if you know how to play”.
At the same time, my female Bengali friends who were studying for engineering wore outlandish glasses, sneakers with salwar kameezes, wanted to discuss Morris Mano’s digital logic and thought that seduction was a special kind of conduction.
Litmus test for hotness. Watch them dance.
The engineering girl would usually sit it out. The ones that liked to dance would do so with the grace of Sunny Deol stomping out cockroaches in “Yara O Yara”( from Jeet), their arms pointing heavenwards like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and their bodies moving up and down like turbines producing hydel power. The true embodiment of “Dance like noone is watching.”
The “arts” girl. Different story. Sinuous like a snake, rhythmic like heartbeats with a tossed glance to see who is watching and a knowing expression when her eyes meet with an attractive member of the opposite sex. These people don’t just dance with their bodies, they dance with their smiles.
And they know the “power of the sari”—-the sexiest garment ever invented.
Which brings me to my verdict on the whole hotness issue.
Bengali girls cannot generically be considered as experts in the art of making men mad with lust. It’s only girls who come from specific backgrounds, who attended specific educational institutions and who have similar-minded friends that satisfy, to a certain extent, the stereotype. And I suspect that girls from other parts of India, who fit into the same cultural-moral-educational context, are equally “Bong-ish.”
However there is another grain of truth in the statement of the blogger above. Bengali girls from outside Kolkata, called Probasi Bengalis, are very different, by and large from the Kolkata Bengali girl. Without resorting to simplifying generalizations, my immense experience (yeah right !) dealing with both these “tribes” lead me to conclude that Probasi Bengalis are far more conservative (not politically of course…this conservatism is in reference to issues guys really care about) than their Kolkata sisters.
A typical Probasi Bengali girl has a rather low opinion of the Kolkata girl—-according to them they are “neka” (ie artifically feminine and intentionally asinine), they are fashion disasters ( overtly made up, put oversized flowers in their hair) and they are usually overweight and at the same time comfortable about their extra pounds. They also shamelessly play upto guys.
In response to this attack, I defend my fellow Kolkatans by pointing out the difference between the Science/Engineering girls and the Arts girls and the dangers of typecasting.
Now wait….am I not making the same mistake about Probasi Bengali girls—-surely I cant paint them all with the same brush. Yes perhaps you are right—-but in my experience even Probasi Bengali girls who have had an “Artsy” background are quite a bit more reserved that what I would like them to be.
There can be several explanations for this but I will not attempt to explain anything that relates to the “female character”. Because I live my life by a simple code. And that is:
“Striyascharitram deba na jananti kuto manushya”
which roughly translates from Sanksrit into
“Even God does not understand women……what chance do mere mortals have?”