In our recent tour to a western state of the country, we met a bunch of young men and women who were from some remote corner in the state of West Bengal. Frankly speaking, we were surprised to find them here. At the first sight, they seemed ordinary folks who evoke not much interest. They were busy in their duties, doing their jobs, smoothly, efficiently and silently.
We were engaged in our chattering and savoring (or devouring!) the dinner as served by the boys and the girls. The girls were more attentive to our table and did take care of our demands (not tantrums). At last, after the dinner was over, the girl attending our table politely handed over a feedback form and a pen. The form contained usual stuff. I am a bit averse to divulge personal details (hypocrite! Such details are divulged in social media platforms gleefully). So whatever could be avoided was avoided and some morbid boxes on the form were ticked off. The girl was interested in getting her name mentioned in the form. We asked her name.
We smiled. My daughter’s name is the same.
“Hmm! That’s a familiar name among Bengali girls.”
“I am a Bengali”. She replied promptly.
“We too.” We responded cheerfully.
“Wow.” “Apnara Bangali (Are you Bengali)?” She exclaimed.
“Yes, we are.”
With a wide grin, she was joined by three of her colleagues and they introduced themselves to us. All from Bengal.
“How come you people are here from such a far distance from your place? From East to West?”
“In search of jobs, Sir.”
Oh! But that sounds to be too simple for an answer.
“Sir, we are recruited for our culinary skills.”
Not very convincing reason. There must be some solid basis.
“Yes Sir, there is. In this part of the country, the local population, being mostly vegetarian, are not good at cooking non-vegetarian delicacies.”
“The owners could not recruit locals for this reason and scouted other places of the country.”
Ah! I got it. Bengalis are sort of synonymous with non-vegetarian dishes. At any part of the country, the Bengalis are deemed to be fish-eating population.
“So, that is the advantage for you, right?”
“Yes Sir, at least it (the tag) helped us in getting the job.”
I was amused pleasantly. Good that your food habit or rather the publicity attached to it sometimes works in your favor.
Long live my non-vegetarian Bengali brethren (sisters too, of course).