01 May Bengali Travellers are the Best!
How does one identify a Bengali?
1. Maach (fish), mishti (sweets), and Gelusil (in that order)!
2. Rabindra sangeet, football, and adda!
3. Ek cup Cha (tea), traveling, with or without Monkey cap!!
Yes, the last is the most virulent of diseases that attack the Bengali mindset, a genetic disease. Always ready to hit the highway, travels Kundu special, or for the new Bengali explore the skies, there is this one stereotypical obsession a bong suffers from …Bhraman (travel)!!
A Bengali is an inveterate traveler—be it Digha or Mandarmani, Shantiniketan or Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kanyakumari or Bangkok, Singapore, or Egypt—60% of travelers within and without India are Bengalis.
There is something about traveling that gives the Bengali “high” beyond ecstasy or any other drugs. Travelling gives them a surge of adrenaline boost. Routine and everyday boredom is put on the back burner; instead, they like to take off with their backpacks! They are certainly happy wanderers. No wonder travel and tourist fairs in Bengal are booming with excited adventurers ready to march furiously into a brave new world.
What makes the Bengalis such ‘in Love” travelers?
The social psyche of a Bengali is such that routine and the daily grind over a long period make him/her feel trapped. Just like a fish swimming to the surface to take a few breaths so also the Bengali must breathe …hence traveling is essential. This provides a fresh lease on life, and an enthusiasm to attack new challenges and say thank you for another day.
The alternative for a Bengali would be best described as a living death. As a Bengali swims the seas albeit in a dhoti or a saree, climbs the hills huffing and puffing, or traverses the deserts on a camel back, he is infused with new energy.
Wanderlust, both sublime and experiential! Irrespective of their financial condition, a Bengali must travel at least once a year, Durga Puja being the ideal time. In fact, they do believe this is the best way to spend money.
The experience one is able to accumulate is much beyond the money they would collect. As J. L. Beatty says, “Jobs fill your pockets but adventures fill your soul.”
These days foreign countries are proving to be hugely popular and tourist operators are riding the wave. So Siliguri can be perhaps replaced by Singapore and Rajasthan by Russia.
Of course, the discovery of India is always a top priority.
Love for food
Pet puja is a puja that all Bengalis perform with a lot of devotion and adoration. They love to taste the cuisines of different places and each mouthful taken, encompasses a whole lot of feelings; anticipation, savoring, relishing, and finally, satisfaction expressed with a loud and unholy burp!!! No such thing as dieting is part of a Bengali traveler’s vocabulary. Of course, they all go well stocked with digestive medications to spur them on to greater efforts to activate their taste buds.
Education and cultural growth
Education and cultural growth are two plaques all Bengalis hold dear. With inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekananda and other stalwarts, Bengalis who are prolific readers and cultural enthusiasts enlarge their minds via traveling. The next generation of Bengalis accompanying the parents is imbibed with the same sense of wonder (wander). Conversely, it also helps to reinforce the pride in one’s own cultural heritage and traditions, the quintessential Bengali pride always at a peak…the song, “emon desh ti kothao khoonje pabena go tumi,” is the anthem of the Bengali traveler!
To conclude, Bengali travelers are highly adventurers, socially alive, thirsty for knowledge and gathering new learning, which makes them great travelers always yearning for greener and newer pastures.
After all, Hans Christan Anderson said, “To travel is to live”!
“Travelling …it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller”…. Ivan Batutta.
And Bengalis love stories!!
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