To visit Brick Lane once a year or so is to watch the tide recede on the East London area’s Bengali culture.
It’s not a particularly new observation to point out its hipster feel, but it feels so much pronounced in the area these days, or it did today. Continue reading
Once on a school trip a friend of mine, whose mother was from Holland, refused to share his sweets unless I learned the Dutch for ‘can I have a sweet?’.
It may have pushed the boundaries of friendship but, decades later, I still remember most of ‘kan ik een snoepje hebben?’. Continue reading
I tend to over-estimate the number of Bengali films I’ve watched. I guess I’m just too easily seduced by Tollywood’s bigger, brasher sibling in Mumbai.
According to my IMDB Bengali film list, just two of those that I have seen have been directed by Mrinal Sen, with his 1993 movie Antareen (pictured above) being the more useful to students of Bengali, thanks to the telephone conversation format between the writer and a mysterious woman that’s at its core. Continue reading
Picture: Ben Dalton
Although this blog is been rather quiet of late, I’ve been keeping up with learning Bengali via the vocabulary lists on Quizlet that I and others have created.
The Quizlet app makes the lists ideal for dipping into on my hour-long commute and continuing with at least a baseline of efforts to learn the language – even if we don’t currently have any plans to visit India.
So, to continue this – and breathe a little life back into this blog, here’s another Bengali vocabulary list based around quantities and measurements. Continue reading
London’s Science Museum isn’t the most obvious place to visit for an Indian photography exhibition, but that’s where, until 31 March, you’ll find one.
Spanning the period 1857-2017, Illuminating India is split into three sections, beginning with 1857’s Mutiny/First War of Independence/Uprising, running through the era of independence and then zooming on a whistle-stop tour up to the present day. Continue reading
The BFI’s India on Film season will conclude this month with a back-to-back showing of Satyajit Ray’s renowned Apu Trilogy on Sunday 10 December.
And if the thought of seven hours or so of Bengali cinema might be a bit much for one sitting, the London Institute is also showing the films – Pather Panchali, Aparajito and (pictured above) Apu Sansar – in single showings in the following weeks. Continue reading
I’m often amazed by the cultural riches that casually appear online for our use and enjoyment – Open Culture being an excellent contributor and curator to this trend.
Another is the British Film Institute (BFI), whose National Archives recently released a collection of newly-digitised films from India from the turn of the 20th century to partition. Continue reading
Random Ink by Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay @Flickr
Google recently made some improvements to its search app that should allow Bengali dictation, raising interesting possibilities for those of us learning the language.
Whilst I can’t currently get the changes to work on my iPhone, seeing as the update is Android-only for now, if you can do so then the change could provide a useful way to work on your pronunciation. Continue reading
I’ve broadened my approach to learning Bengali since the time when I was over- enamoured by repeated listens of podcasts I struggled to understand.
I still struggle with NHK’s daily Bangla news podcast when I dip into it, but am trying to expand my knowledge of ‘newsy’, hence the recent post on political vocab and this one.
Even before the tragic recent events in Manchester and London this kind of military/warfare vocabulary features in the news from around the world all too often.
Chancing upon the Calcutta Houses account on Instagram (pictured above and below) could all too easily be the start of a descent down a long rabbit hole.
Calcutta Houses‘ posts of old houses of Kolkata perfectly capture some of the faded glamour and rundown charm of the city.
And it’s an quick hop, skip and a click to #calcuttahouses for more, going from there to the dormant old Calcutta (Kolkata) blog and then thoughts of a Kolkata walking tour. Continue reading