Sunday, July 27, 2014

The fast getting lost art of Adda

We Bengalis obsess over books, food, culture and the 'going downhill syndrome of the world' with equal fervour. 

Evenings are when at least two of these things merge to make the ultimate of Bengaliness possible that is 'adda'. 

Adda is the art of sitting at street corners or markets and munching on savouries while sharing, debating and proclaiming 'sob golaye jache' from time to time. Loosely translated it would mean everything is descending into chaos. 

This chaos however doesn't stop the Bengali from paying grave attention to his evening snack and he deliberates on the merits (taste wise no other criteria is important enough) of a jhalmuri aloo kabli combo vs cutlet vs chop vs roll vs puchka vs tele Bhaaja vs mughlai paratha  and the list goes on. 

As you can see it's no easy task and many minutes pass by before the person can take a decision and place his order. 

Adda of course is also accompanied by endless cups of tea which the local chai wallah supplies at intervals in small baked mud cups. 

When Bengalis transplanted themselves to Delhi and recreated Bengal in a small corner called CR Park they also recreated the adda. Complete with 'parar rock' the typical street corner in Calcutta where a wall or platform would serve the purpose of a seat. In CR Park each market place has a low wall running around it making it the ideal adda corner. Even today a ragged dhoti clad old man will come and serve tea in tiny cups though sadly the cups are now plastic ones. 

Octogenerian who are barely able to walk still punctually shuffle to their corner on the market wall for news and views. 

Sadly the younger generations are much too involved with the virtual world to pay much attention to the real one. 

They come to the market to grab a quick roll or plate of chicken chowmein and then are gone. Their views if any are only for Facebook and so are their friends. 

Adda it seems is also slowly golaye jache. 

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