How does one celebrate the Bengali New Year's day?
Unlike English, a Bengali day 'astronomically' starts with sunrise so there is no rush to clog the networks at midnight and scream out loud over the music.
You wake up in the morning - a little later than usual - to the special New Year supplement with Anandabazar Patrika. A leisurely read is followed by an even leisurely breakfast. This has to consist of luchi and aloo bhaja with a spot of chutney. No going overboard with the breakfast, though, in anticipation of the lunch.
The breakfast is followed by a short nap and/or telephoning friends across the country (or globe) to wish them and tell them about the lunch menu.
Then you get ready - in a new set of pajama-panjabi. Why a Bengali wears a Punjabi is something that has intrigued many people! Panjabis are Bengali kurtas, usually embroidered with elaborate motifs or even lines from famous songs and poems.
The lunch is a get-together. The spread contains all of the following - prawns, fish, mutton, chicken - in different degrees of oil-treatment, permeated with different kinds of spices and had with the accompaniment of different kinds of cereals. The dessert trolley usually suffices for a full meal of less imaginative races and burps all over signal the success of the culinary extravaganza!
The lunch is punctuated with songs, poetry, political discources, filmi gossip, literary criticism and other topics requiring raised voices and passionate points of view!
Lunch over, the congregation disperses rapidly to their respective homes and proceed to digest the excesses with an extended siesta.
The evening sees a walk around the locality, a taste of phuchka and a halt at the para function - where somebody would inevitably be singing "Jibone ki pabona, bhulechhi shey bhabna / Shamney ja dekhi, janina sheki ashol ki nokol shona..."
As you come back home and turn in for the night, you have a hope that is all well with the world. And if it isn't, it will turn out just fine.
Calcutta Chromosome wishes everybody a very happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 1414.