‘Oh girl your big brown black kohl’ed eyes are irresistible’.
‘My Goodness your library does make kindle and other reading devices cry’.
‘Your confidence to talk on anything and everything under the sun has won my heart’.
‘Wow! Ocean of talent – dance, painting, cooking, writing, teaching, art work and every household work is done by you’.
‘Your ‘daak naam’ (nickname) is one of its kinds just like you’.
‘From Donald Trump to Narendra Modi to Salman Khan to Taimur Ali Khan to Rohinyas to ISIL to Syria to Korea you have a strong opinion on them’.
‘You are such a big foodie who knows her fish so well and Biryani is your first love’.
These are some of the compliments I often receive from people I meet.
If you join all the dots, they make up to be qualities of a Bong woman.
As my personality has power over all these no doubt I am called as a ‘quintessential Bengali woman’ all the time.
Wake up Sid got released in 2009 but I watched it in recent times after I was said that the character Aisha Banerjee is just ME who is sexy, dusky, independent and a lovely Bengali woman–I am often considered as one.
I received the same compliment many times and got the same reaction of late again when one of my brother’s friend who saw the movie and asked me ‘Are you the inspiration behind the character of Aisha?
I arrived in a new city in December 2009 (not Bombay) with full of ambitions, no one to call my own, not one but with two jobs in hand – as an assistant editor of a magazine and research associate of an esteemed Indian corporate project. With positive energy, hopes and dreams I made that city my home.
On my first night of arrival I managed to roam around the locality on my own and the next evening I moved a bit out of the neighborhood and explored the city. I treated it as a test of my freedom as well as my liability to carry my own self in a proper way.
I share a ‘deeply in love’ relation with my diary, wherever I go it accompanies me. The writer in me cannot resist making notes. My house was a terrace portion – a large hall, kitchen and bathroom. I loved sleeping outside under the stars. My fetish for cleanliness in my one room house was always a topic among my colleagues. There was no Siddharth Mehra (played by Ranbir Kapoor) in my life. I was my own friend in my new city. Job gave me many co-workers but no friends.
My boss was a 60 year old egotistical man but not good looking as Rahul Khanna from the movie. I managed working there for more than few months, I was not really happy with the kind of job I was being made to do in the position of an assistant editor – writing thank you emails to subscribers. Any day now, I knew the publishing house would shut shop and make everyone jobless. Before it happened, I pulled myself out.
I was overwhelmed – ‘Aisha Banerjee’ is my replica, brilliantly played by Konkona Sen Sharma (our complexion and height matches perfectly), I could fully relate to the free spirited Aisha. Her innate sense of self confidence coupled with a subtle softness is mind blowing. I love that character, because I saw myself in Aisha. My journaling, my love for books, my style (kurta, jeans, bangles and my bag), my desire for independence, my finesse for writing, my fixation with kohl – people who know me, saw ME in the character.
What amused me was Aisha Banerjee is a Bengali character and I am for so many reasons called as one. I am NOT against being called as Bengali (the fact is I am a South Indian and I have no single stereotyped Telugu feature(s) in me).
Every community is proud of the things that they hold dear but some communities are more proud as others, this is how George Orwell described, the pride Bengalis have for their things.
I do call myself a lucky one to have a major chunk of these prides in me. I take it as huge compliment to be called as Bengali – (all the time) and if not officially (by birth) at least unofficially through my qualities; I am a member of one of the most vibrant communities in the country proud of themselves.