5 reasons why the Bengali has left his monkey cap behind
It messes up our Boroline, to begin with.
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Monkey cap: Well, there might be some dissent here.
It’s eerie how we love to stereotype. But, just like not every ‘Madrasi’ takes a bath in a bowl of hot sambar, and not every Bihari wakes up only to eat litti-chokha, believe it or not, not every Bengali wears a monkey cap.
We may embrace any typecast thrown at us. But not this one anymore!
Though my gender saved me from this stereotype, as a monkey cap is not essentially what a Bengali woman would like to wear, still in my early years in Delhi, I used to be asked whether my naphthalene-smelling monkey cap is out of the trunk or not.
Well, I never had one. And many people didn’t have one either. But if I got a dollar for every time someone uttered ‘monkey cap’ in front of me, I would have enough money to book a ticket to Darjeeling.
Believe it or not — not all Bengalis wear monkey caps. (Photo: Collage via DailyO)
These are the reasons why we are not using monkey caps anymore:
1. It messes up our Boroline
For the uninitiated, a monkey cap is a single-piece cap, which can protect your head, ears and neck at the same time. It has one outlet which can accommodate your eyes, nose, part of your cheeks and your lips, allowing you to see the world — where everyone is making fun of a Bengali.
Wearing it and taking it off are no easy jobs. It can mess up your hair and, of course, your Boroline.
2. We are fashionable people
Anyone giving us a lecture on how none other than Bengali boys (being mammas’ boys, they apparently can’t say ‘no’ to their moms when handed a monkey cap) can wear monkey caps, just shut up! Name a designer whose name you have been hearing a lot recently! Well, Sabyasachi Mukherjee!
We are a group of fashionable people, and we are not wearing monkey caps anymore.
Winter is here! Go on, make another joke about Bengalis shivering in chill climes behind monkey caps! (Photo: Snowfall in Darjeeling/Twitter/ @AIR)
3. We are used to winter
Don’t even bring up the issue of a non-existent winter in Kolkata and how Bengalis are still wearing monkey caps! First, we are not wearing monkey caps. Second, Kolkata is not the only place in West Bengal where Bengalis live. There has been snowfall in Darjeeling this year. So, yes, we are pretty much used to winter — without monkey caps.
4. We are not minimalists any more
One piece of woollen clothing, in place of a cap, a muffler and an ear-muff. Very economical idea thanks to our older, more Marxist-type generations. But we have moved on. We are not any more the minimalist that you would like us to be, so that you can pity us for your amusement.
5. But we're not commercialised either
But we Bengalis are still not as commercialised as the rest of the country to now start staking a GI tag, decimating your balaclava cap or CK’s headgear. Dear all brands waking up now, have fun with monkey caps. We won’t come to steal your thunder.
That's because unlike money-conscious types, we're basically intellectuals.
So yes, we can create stereotypes every day if we want.
And we can also reject them.
Just don’t catch a cold!