I'll tell you a story. There's this sandwich shop, called Sip n Sandwich, in the oldest AC market of Kolkata(yes, the one in Shakespeare Sarani). It's a vegetarian food outlet, the people serving the food are what we Bengalis so fondly call 'non-Bengalis' and they are those lads in their twenties who pretend to take the upper hand if you speak anything other than Hindi and English. Now that's a huge hypocrisy because if these guys are doing business in this city, they ought to learn the language of the majority of the customers. Any how, I went shopping with my mother the other day and when we were done, we went to pick up some sandwiches for the road. My mother inquired and placed the order in Bengali. The swag at the counter immediately took advantage and said on her face that she has to repeat the order in Hindi. My mother got a bit flustered, she isn't very strong with Hindi, and the guy was like, "Dekhiye, aap jo keh rahi hai na, mujhe kuch bhi samajh mein nahi aa raha. Please, aap Hindi mein boliye ya kisi aur ko boliye, woh samjha dega." This made me really angry. Before my mother could even talk to me, I went over and was like, "Dada, dekhun, ekta Sweet corn sandwich ar ekta Mexican sandwich kagojer bakshe moore din, baari niye jabo." The guy said, "Sorry Ma'am, Hindi mein boliye na, English bhi chalega." "Ami ki bollam? " I returned an unflinching look.The guy somehow sensed that I was doing this deliberately, so he called over another guy who understood Bengali. "Haan Didi balun ki byapar, ami Bengali bujhi. " the new participant said. I looked at him and said, "Mein keh rahi ki ek Sweet corn sandwich aur ek Mexican sandwich pack hoga, bhaiya." "Yeh baat toh Ma'am aap pehele bata deti toh... " "Since when are you in this business?" "Do saal se. " he said after exchanging looks with the guy at the counter. " Aur abhi tak Bangla bhi nahi seekhi? " My mother tucked at my elbow, but I wasn't listening to her. " Sorry, Ma'am. " and the guys went back to their own business.And, to my mother's biggest surprise, the sandwiches are exceptionally good that day.This is my point. It is us Bangalis who are striking the axe at our own feet. We are the ones who are giving the rest of the world too much indulgence to help us disappear. If language dies in West Bengal or anywhere in India for the matter, it's going to be because of us. One of the many reasons why I respect Bangladesh so much is because they have the courage to hold on to their mother tongue. So ardent is their love that youths died fighting for the language. Mothers and sisters all over Bangladesh sing this song on the 21st of February each year :"Amar bhaiyer rokte raangano Ekushe February, Ami ki bhulite paari?"(The blood of my brother has stained the date of 21st February red, can I ever forget that?) The question is not whether it will survive, the question is whether we will be able to make it survive.Listening to Rabindra sangeet all day, taking part in discussions that detest the current political scenario, eating Rosogollas all day doesn't make you a Bengali. I don't do any of the above (no offence to the great man, but all day? That's too much) but I am a true-blooded Bangali and I speak BANGLA (not Bengali, you wretched morons). The culture is way more extended beyond Rabindranath or Nazrul for the matter. How many of us have read Jibonananda? I doubt if half of the 'Bengali' s even know his name. Art is way beyond Potochitra of Kalighat and Bankura'r ghora. Food is way more beyond machher jhol and sorshe ilish and Rosogollas and Misti doi. Seriously? Yes, because that's the way we have been portraying ourselves for the past decade - a vulnerable community who will succumb to anyone's wishes to impress them and bring out (and regurgitate) only that side of theirs that make them acceptable, if the tradition or the food is a little out of the way, boy, better keep that under cover for the next century.