Bhojon Bir



45. Poem ‘Bhojon Bir’ = (The Gluttonous Hero) of the book ‘Prahasini’ (=Satirist) written 3 years before the Poet’s death in 1941 at the age of 80.

[Translator’s note: None waste their time in the kitchen as much as the Bengali women. It was more so when they did not emerge as ‘working’ from their ‘housewife’ status as we find at present. Nevertheless, this heritage is far from dead and the Bengali kitchens are still going full blast by and large. The Bengali fair sex realized from ages back that tongue was the gateway to the heart of their men folk which always motivated their kitchen culture. However, many of the dishes they invented are spicy and greasy, of course correspondingly tasty, though not necessarily health friendly and, in fact, a major contributory to the sickly health of the Bengalis in general. Yet, the Bengalis have been undaunted in their eating adventure with a minority exceptions among them. Tagore looks down upon those who are cautious of such savory dishes and deprive themselves of its pleasure for fear of disease or death, upon medical advice or otherwise (so far known, he himself was quite diet cautious). Earlier, food of the Bengalis was others’ poison. However, it is more than half a century that globalization of Bengali food started and it is gratifying that the ‘Sahibs’ (White race) are fast overcoming their cowardice about Bengali dishes. The flourishing Bangladeshi/Indian restaurants in the Western metros establish this fact.]

Do enjoy your feast
Hesitant not in the least
It is caution that does ail
What if the liver will fail?
You’re afraid of what?
Let your tummy go phut.

Cowards fear they will suffer
And they miss surfeit’s pleasure.
Needlessly they elongate life
Delay death only to live in strife
Of self deprivation
Dainty dishes only to look on.

Penchant for your own flesh and blood
That will end in mundane mud
Vile materialism it is
That never gives you ease
The soul knows what to relish
It is fragrant mutton or fish
Yet these to slight
Is only to self blight.

A balanced diet I do hate,
This, a death fearing will not appreciate.
With fear to succumb to disease
Immortality anyone sees?
Never do they die
With self restraint high?

Let throb the vein
Of your jammed brain
Twang the intestine
To shake up your spine.

Eau-de-cologne to soothe your brow
Or a quack the remedy to vow.
As your last hour will knell
Deputy of Death His message to spell
Homeopathy will fail
Ayurvedic (*) too of no avail -(*) ancient Indian therapy
It is time the metaphysical dose
On you to impose,
And they miss surfeit’s pleasure.
And the generation next
Will not miss this text
The pickles of green mango
As their heritage will go
Will cause their heart burn
The calamity passing from dad to son.
That will end in mundane mud
If economy of food
Would seize the Bengalis’ mood,
Their land will soon over pack
With population, so they won’t smack
Of death in indigestion
For them none need mourn.

Get chili, mustard, cheap butter
Inhale their flavor not in panic utter
Around your waist fasten your sari
Cook on savory meat and curry
Call the doctor after they are well fed,
Never mind, if thereafter dead.