The intelligentsia (as defined by Wikipedia) is a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them. You can very well attribute this term to the Bengali society who fits this definition quite well. But what does a timid and herbivorous (although Bengalis think goats to be omnivorous – chhagole ki na khay) mammal like goat got to do with this elite group of people? The answer to this is well known to all of us – Bengalis love goat meat. Although in other parts of the World, goat milk and milk products (cheese) are also extremely popular, but we the Bengalis don’t care much about the milk. It is the meat that is most important to us – the ultimate food in any Bengali plate. Historically, goat meat is the only kind of meat that Bengalis (especially the Hindu Bengalis) ate. Goats were the most popular offerings to Goddess Kali and Durga – and the meat then cooked in a recipe void of any garlic or onions and hence termed as “vegetarian meat”.
Last week the holiday shopping season kicked off with mad black Friday. With the current economic turmoil and officially declared recession looming on us, many pundits predicted that this shopping season will be less than stellar. However, the black Friday sales reports say something different. Shoppers flocked to the stores in hordes, many camped outside their favorite stores overnight. The tragic stampede death of a security worker at the Long Island Wal-mart clearly indicated the shopper frenzy was not at all dampened by any economic concerns. On the other hand, some may argue, that this shopper frenzy is caused due to the economic conditions since people want to spend the minimum this season. Hence black Friday was possibly their only option to get the best possible deals.
The other day I heard another pundit on the NPR who suggested that whatever disposable (now that’s a loaded word) income one makes this season, they should spend at the stores. This not only helps the economy, but also is the best use of the money at this moment since neither the stock market nor the bank can be relied upon. Hence enjoy while you can.
Another option may be to enjoy short term and return! The long return lines at the stores after the Christmas can be longer this season. After the instant gratification of shopping a fresh product, send it back to where it came from. Returning stuff is a hobby for many folks. They just buy stuff only to return them. The liberal return policy of these stores (who believe that the best way to satisfy a customer is to gladly accept the returned merchandise) have spoiled many a shopper. They love to return stuff, they seem to fall in love with the customer service counter as much as they love the cash counter. The only gripe they have is that they need to retain the price tags and the receipts. If only the tags could have been made invisible and the requirements for receipts waived – this world would have been heaven!