As a hefty lunch of pheesh-rice is consumed in our household, I see a familiar glaze envelope my mother’s eyes. I enquire about her plans for the day, and she vaguely mutters something about my plate being dirty. She’s physically present, but the afternoon nap gods have pretty much ensnared her mind. 

I soon feel a similar mental tug – the bistar beckons, and this is one call I’m all too happy to answer. 

The afternoon siesta is sacrosanct in the Bengali household. A quintessential part of Kolkata kalchaar, its torpid tendrils have made their way to the rest of India with relative ease. 

Of course, the entire concept is truly accepted only in the bastion of the bhadralok, but that doesn’t mean Bongs in Delhi haven’t been sneaking in a quick snooze after lunch. 

One could argue that there are multiple upsides to catching a few zees in the noon. After all, it’s hard to ward off that 3 pm languor (or langoor, as my family quips). The sun in your eyes, food in your belly, sheep in your brain… work isn’t exactly easy to accomplish. 

But a quick power nap can take care of all that. You wake up energised, refreshed, ready to rub Boroline on all your problems. 

Everyone’s got their own traditions, they’re things that make people tick. Heck, the Goans even have a word for their lack of afternoon ambition – susegado. I suppose the Kolkata version of that would be lyadh

In the grand scheme of things though, the afternoon nap is simply one of the elements of lyadh. It’s an emblem of positive laziness. A beacon of hope for the babumoshai. A lover’s dance with your paashbaalish

Afternoon naps are ingrained in Bengali kids. You come home from school, you get your sustenance, and then you pass the fuck out for about 2 hours. 

Some people might say that’s a waste of time. Don’t listen to those people, they probably wear monkey caps in the summer. 

The feeling itself is hard to explain – you drift off, succumbing to the drowse, melting into the warm embrace of a familiar friend. The pillow whispers sweet nothings into your ear. If you strain hard enough you can almost hear it say, “2 more minutes.” 

Fun fact, the first words a Bengali baby learns are, “ghoom paache.” 

Another fun fact, Kumbhkaran was actually a regular Bong dude who just ate too much bhaat. 

Fun fact #3 – Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy an electric blanket. 

Anyway, this ode to sleep could go on forever, but all good things must come to an end, just like an afternoon nap. So the next time you feel that sweet slumber nagging at your eyelids, don’t fight it. Make like a Bong and try it.