Disclaimer: The following post is based on two years of living in a Bangali PG and two more years living with assorted Bangalis in a mess where we have to shop for provisions ourselves.
There are possibly few things more asinine than the eating habits of a bangali who lives in a mess. People who live in a mess generally have to buy their own provisions unless they go for home delivery, where you will be charged exorbitant rates for sub-standard food. The only reason people opt for home-delivery is that it is convenient. Most people prefer to shop and cook on their own. This way you have control over the quality and quantity of food that you get.
Two years of living in a mess have still not enabled me to get over the ludicrous nature of the Bangali mess-dweller’s choice of food. Note how I’m saying Bangali mess-inhabitant. I’m pretty sure that people who live in their own houses have vastly different choices otherwise the markets would all shut down I guess. Besides which, most Bangalis I know are generally quite sensible when it comes to food.
The Bangali mess-inhabitant’s choice of food that he will buy can be broadly divided into three categories.
- Things that are staples and that he will always buy
- Things that are necessary and he has been told to buy begore going to the shops
- Things he will buy on his own initiative
The first category consists of the following:- Rice, Potatoes, Onions, Potatoes, Rice, Potatoes. That’s it. Nothing outside these items can he ever conceive of always buying.
The second category consists of such items like pulses, oil, sugar, ginger, garlic, chillies and spices. Here the Bangali is like most people since these items are generally things that are bought in a mess only when they are over. Note how all these are necessary items yet are only bought when the person who is buying them is told to buy them.
The third category is really the definitive one. You can generally discern a Bangali mess-inhabitant by observing the items purchased in this category. They will generally be some non-vegetarian item(meat if the person has a fair amount of money in his pocket, fish if he has some amount of money and eggs if he’s just doing some basic shopping), brinjals , parval for all Bangali mess-inhabitants. Then personal tastes come in. Some will buy lal shakh, some will buy mocha and quite a few will buy posto. Notice how all these are things that will be used up in a couple of days if you live in a mess with five people(which is generally the norm in most messes.) Notice also the limited variety that seems to present itself to their eyes. In summer you may add okra to the list and in winter you may add cabbages and cauliflowers. Sometimes by some miracle they will buy barbati but this event happens once in a blue moon.
Most of them will be quite content to buy rice, potatoes and eggs all the time with possible a side order of brinjals which they will inevitably fry in a lot of oil or boil to such a degree that it looks revolting. What happens when the eggs and their limited amount of vegetables is over? They will then eat rice and fried potatoes until the next person goes and buys the same things again. You might think that since they are doing this all the time, they’d eat this revolting crap happily but you’re mistaken. They will whine and moan and complain till they’re blue in the face and then go out and buy stuff in the exact, same , ridiculous, idiotic pattern.
One would think that vegetables were a poisonous substance. You’d think beans were venomous snakes and seem was the devil’s invention. Spinach is non-existent and carrots are possibly human organs. Spring-onions are things that are bought by insane people and bananas are for monkeys. Variety is to be shunned and one must always complain about the food.
The only reason I haven’t slaughtered everyone in my mess wholesale for their retarded ways of buying stuff is that I shop once a week and I make sure that I buy enough vegetables to last three days of lunch and dinner. What is it with the Bangali mess-inhabitant that makes him such a useless piece of shit? I wonder. And then they have the temerity to question the need to buy so many vegetables. That is when they get their firing-of-the-week. You’d think they’d learn by now, but obviously their diet has addled their brains and thickened their skulls. They couldn’t understand the concept of vegetables if you sat down and drew a picture diagram.
The only good thing is that they will soon die off since they will all get constipation, dyspepsia and heart-disease. Their life will of course be an endless litany of complaints about their digestion and their paunch and how life has treated them badly. Well, you know what? Your blasted eating habits are to blame. Eat your greens!
NB: I’ve said before that this is based on my personal observations. If you know Bangali mess-inhabitants who are different, well lucky you. If you are a Bangali mess-inhabitant who is different, please, I’d like to meet you! If you live in Kolkata and are looking for a mess and like vegetables(most vegetables, mind you) there’s a place vacant in my mess. Please come here. The rent is low, the locality is nice and transport is brilliant. You won’t have any problems living here and between the two of us we can manage to get vegetables for most of the week!