Well, it is certainly unfair to generalize the characteristics of a community, but most likely, the commonest ones feature here. If you are a Bengali:
· You most probably own at least a copy of any of the large collection of Tagore’s works on your shelf- for display. You rarely find time to take out the Gitanjali or Sanchayita, dust them, flip over the pages and read a few lines. But you take pride in your prized possession.
· You are a fan of soccer and have hooted in favor of either Mohun Bagan or East Bengal. Never mind India’s rank in world soccer, any match between these two teams takes the form of war. And you don’t dare tread the territory of the opponent during the match- not even in the stadium-galleries.
· You like to eat- mostly non-vegetarian food and sweets. In fact, you’ve tasted more recipes of different fishes alone than most people have, all vegetarian dishes combined. Most people know of Rosogollas, but you know there are way too many to name! You also eat pakoras, but while debating over something as spicy, during chat-sessions (adda) with friends at the tea-stall.
· You’ve learnt at least one form of art as a child- be it singing, painting, dancing, recitation or playing a musical instrument. But more importantly, most likely, you gave them up because of studies.
· You are very fond of music- usually all refined kinds but resort to songs composed by the bearded saint (Rabindrasangeet, of course) for all moods- gay or gloom.
· You may not be a movie-freak but you definitely like Satyajit Ray’s creations and you idolize Feluda, whether you are eight or eighty.
· Your heart yearns to return home- whichever part of the globe you live in- and stay with your family during the Durga Puja, roam around with them in gorgeous new attires, eating junk food from streets and visiting pandals all day. You enjoy visiting schools/colleges during Saraswati Puja in traditional clothes even if you claim to be an atheist!
· You don’t understand business very well- fail to attract customers and even manage to keep the existing ones at bay. In all probability, you don’t dare to think of becoming an entrepreneur- you play it safe- employed at someone else’s place!
· You worry unnecessarily over politics. You’d go on to spend an entire day listening to a speech by your political idol under the scorching heat of the sun. You’d take up a fight and quarrel over minor political debates. You’d go to the extent of shutting down shops, offices and schools as a mark of protest- unknowingly shutting down your way to progress itself.
· You don’t care about your health unless you fall ill, mostly because of ill eating habits. Forget gyms! You’d go for morning walks only when you are sixty, retired and… insomnia doesn’t let you sleep beyond five.
The above, though incomplete, more or less, made a Bengali a Bengali, as I’ve heard and experienced while growing up. Things have changed. Though most part of it still remains the same, the youth have taken to Sidney Sheldon, rock music, cricket, B/Hollywood and gymnasiums. But, in an attempt to come up with this list, I’ve most certainly adhered to another characteristic of being who I am- something I almost forgot to include in this list: to criticize!