My Valentine’s Circus

As people who know me know, I’m addicted to public transportation. The glimpses of human nature and interaction that it offers — that sheer dramatic circus — makes it damn near irrestible. This, amassed below, is my collection from this Valentine’s day in Calcutta. I shamelessly eavesdropped in all of them. In my defence, however, every single of my unwitting informant was sitting less than half a foot from me.

LoveSpeak A

Boy to accompanying girl, on street, in Hindi: Do I look like a fool to you? Today suddenly your uncle-aunty is coming to visit? Today of all days you have to go home early? You think I can’t see through this? Haan? Is that what you think? Answer me! [girl begins to respond. boy furiously talks over her] Don’t interrupt me when I’m talking!

LoveSpeak B

Man on phone, on bus, uncaring of audience, in Bengali: What do you mean I cut it too fine? I told you at 2PM to get out by 6. How much sooner do you want me to tell? Are you the president of India — I have to take advance appointments with you now?… Work! Don’t teach me work and responsibility. Listen, there are hundred girls like you, ok, if I wanted to look. Just because I’m a good man, you’re getting away with taking advantage of me. I will give you exactly ten minutes grace period today. If you’re not there by 6.10, then you don’t need to ever come back. I will not listen to your feminine wiles and whiny coy tears, I will not listen even if you say sorry a thousand… hello? Hello? [panicking] Helloww?

LoveSpeak C

Girl on phone, in an auto, speaking in a low voice, in Bengali: I don’t believe in Valentine’s day. I have told you before… no, I have told you before I am not interested. No, standing in front of my office for six months does not mean you love me. [listens for a few seconds] Fine, go tell my neighbours I had intimate relations with you. But don’t you EVER come to tell me you love me again. Not after threatening me like this.

LoveSpeak D

Elderly man on phone to wife, on railway platform, in Bengali: Hyaan go, today is apparently Valentine’s day. People, maane, give each other little presents. Apparently. So… I saw fresh nolen gurer shondesh being brought to a sweet-shop as I was coming to the station… well, these are probably the season’s last, so I took a few. Oh! Oh really! Good good, this is so good. Ok, I’ll go now, but I’ll be home within half an hour, all right? [turning to male companion] She knew it was Valentine’s day! She said she has made payesh with the last bits of patali. Ah! What a lunch this will be. I might skip the curries altogether.



    • In a perfect world, they would be. In ours, they’re just regular dudes. I actually overheard three or four more couples, and every single one was either fighting or ripping into each other. V-day seems to bring out the worst in every relationship.

  1. These are responses from FB, where 58 people approved of it 😐

    Subrata Guha Thakurta rimi the last episode was made up ! definitely got the nandy treatment

    Rimi N: Nope. Got off the same station I did, too. But went the other way. Although I think he trumped up V-day as an excuse for buying mishti, which are probably forbidden him.

    Subrata Guha Thakurta: ha ha ok – grat gentle post

    Deepa Mehta: superb.

    Ruru Chowdhury: not much love then, huh? Until the last story. Which did bring a smile to my face, just for the apparent (gastronomical) excitement of the old man

    Somdeb Ghose: Is that how human beings communicate with each other?

    Brinda Dasgupta: Haha, I like the tale of the man being hung up on the best.

    Poushali Bhadury: ❤ What a lunch indeed. Mangsho thakle kintu ami kono dino-o curry skip kortam na, eta bole dilam! Ba potol.

    Samragi Madden: Somdeb well said.

    Subhankar Bhattacharya: translation tao darun. I could hear the bangla in my head clearly as I was reading.

    Nivedita Bhattacharjee: Hi Rimi, a friend "liked" this and that is how I read it. Would like to share it if you don't mind. It's a great post.

    Dhruva Ghosh: Payesh, man. The world is payesh.

    Dhruva Ghosh: And you are the fricking patali guur.

    Deborah Raven-Lindley Rimi, if you ever come to visit the US we are going to the casino to people watch….I think we have something in common 🙂 !

    Joanne Nezi In Bengal, it always comes down to the food 🙂

    Maayaa Sup Dixit: This is so precious ! I love it !

    Swati Chaudhuri: The last one – awwwwwwww – mon ta eto bhalo hoye gelo pore ki bolbo. Nolen gurer sandesh aar patali gurer payesh – er theke boro prem ki aar aachhe!! Happy Bhelentine Day!

    me: Nivedita Bhattacharjee, thank you. Please feel free to share whatever you like from my timelines. All my posts are public 🙂 Dhruva Ghosh, and you the lightly-toasted boro aelach. I love you within an inch of the last bowl. Deborah, absolutely! Joanne, you have us down pat, but you knew that all along, didn't you? 😀 Mayaa, Swati, Subhankar and everybody else, thanks so much for taking the time. It IS rather a long post 🙂

    Pathikrit Pandit: So none of the breeding age males were nice to the objects of their affection?!

    me: Sigh, P-da. Evolution failed. Also, you're up scarily early.

    Pathikrit Pandit: I was to provide alarm services. Bitter huff got to get ready for pujo at school. Jato sob nasty native byapaar.
    Tumi broodor proti je attachment dekhale please go and show ektu such attachment to your bed and pillow now.

    me: Tumi aekta adorable. Chonu r schooleo pujo aaj, she has to be there by 7AM. Bhabchhi, gele khete debe, na pujor jonyo byatara hartlessly uposh koriye rakhbe?

    Pathikrit Pandit: Take all you can. Give nothing back. – pirate slogan.

    Give neither quarters, nor anjoli. Take khichuri and stuff.

    Rapti Sanyal: Fabulous post, Rimi! Woke me up proper. And I love that old man

    me: Thank you Raptidi! Tumio ki P-dar dol-e, na onjoli tonjoli dao?

    Rapti Sanyal: Anjali diy, maane ajke debo. Ektu-adhtu maani


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