My name starts with ‘A’. And I consider myself accursed. I am sure, everyone on the ‘A-List’ will wholeheartedly agree with me. We have reasons for our revulsion.
For starters, A-people can rarely bunk classes as our faces are as familiar as chalk to our professors during a roll call. Then there’s the problem of seating during exams. Thanks to the sheer misfortune of being alphabetically ahead of our mates, we are assigned tables right in front of the eagle-eyed, pokey-nosed invigilator. What that means is there is zero scope for copying. That explains why most A-club members are never A-graders in education, doesn’t it?
Now see my rant in the context of a piece of news that would have surely caught your roving eye. I am talking about West Bengal’s decision to opt for a name change. Their big gripe: During administrative meetings, their turn comes last as West Bengal starts with the letter ‘W’. Such a schoolboyish explanation proffered for a ponderous issue like renaming of a key State of India!
I can understand if the logic had been, “Look, West Bengal sucks because it gives the impression of being a counterpoint to East Bengal which has become Bangladesh.” Alas, all we got was this W-is-bad claptrap! Anyways, let’s search for possible alternatives as Mamta is on the verge of giving WB, a golden handshake.
Sondesh is the first name that strikes my lightning-starved head. It feels like that legendary milk sweet and is a derivation from Sonar (Bengali for golden) and Desh (country). A safer option could be Banga (what comes after Dravida and Utkala in our national anthem). But then it bears too much of a resemblance to Bangladesh. On second thoughts, perhaps just Bengal might actually work better than Banga.
If levity is required, there are plenty of choices: Hilsaland will whet the appetite of the fish-gorging vegetarians in Kolkata. Gangulistan will be a hit with everyone except SRK. And Netaji lovers will salute Bose-nia. But if the idea is to be on top of the Letter Ladder, then Amar Rashtra (Our Country) should earn a khoob bhalo!