The following are excerpts from a blow-by-blow description of a recent meeting in Bengal, where administrative matters were discussed. The descriptions and conversations are based on the account of an officer who attended the meeting and then described it in detail to a few colleagues. The Telegraph is withholding the identity of the officers mentioned below as they took part in the meeting by virtue of their posts and not in their individual capacities.
All the officers go straight to their seats despite a big spread of snacks on the way.
One officer asks his boss: Sir, keu kichhu khachchhe na keno (Sir, why isn’t anyone eating anything)?
Boss: Sabai tense aachhe (Everyone is tense).
Officer: Tahole ki hobe? Eto sab arrange kora hoyechhe (What’s going to happen, then? So much has been arranged)...
Boss: Tumi chinta koro na (You needn’t worry).
The person who had convened the meeting (‘presiding person’ in the following account) arrives and starts the meeting. Some police personnel polish off all the snacks in five minutes, according to an officer present.
Presiding person: Aapnader ke Puja, Diwali, Kali Pujo, Id, Jagaddhatri Puja, jeta ekhon cholchhe, subhechchha janai (Season’s greetings to all of you)!
Apnara khub bhalo kaaj korechhen; AB (an official involved with districts) kothai (You have done good work; where is AB)? Kono khoj khabar rakhen na, ei gulo avoid kara sambhab chhilo (You don’t keep yourselves abreast of happenings. All this* could have been avoided)
Apni ekhon lax aachhen. Nije ke tight korun aar police ke tight korun. Tara to apnar under-ey (You are too lax now. Please pull up your socks and the police’s. They are, after all, under you)
Dekhun aami apnar police ke sab samay defend kori kintu taar mane ei noy je sab theek aachhe (See, I always defend your police, but that doesn’t mean everything is all right).
Aamar kachhe sab khabar thake, cut chhada (reference to a particular department) kono kaj kore na (I have all the information. Nothing gets done without payoffs).
* Probably a reference to a recent flare-up in a district
Presiding person: Mr C (name withheld), aapni kothai (Mr C, where are you)?
Mr C stands up: Aami ekhane (I’m here).
Presiding person: Teen patay report pathiyechhen... sab red, sab red* (You have sent a three-page report. All red, all red)
Presiding person: Under-planning, under-execution, under-implementation. Aaami eto ingreji bujhi na... kaaj kakhon shesh hobe, seta bolun! Sab laal, sab laal (I can’t understand so much English. When will the work be over, just say that. All red, all red). Ektu bhalo kore dekhun; aar teen patay ingreji te dismiss korben na (Please look into it well; don’t dismiss it in three pages of English).
* References to unfinished work are usually marked red
Presiding person: D (name withheld), tumi kothai (D, where are you)? RastaÖ tomar lajja hoi na (Roads... aren’t you ashamed)?
October obdi bolen brishti achhe aar February theke bolte aarambho koren brishti ashchhe (Till October, you say it’s raining and from February, you start saying there will be rain)! Tahole kaaj kakhon hobe, manush aar koto din apnader ke shojjho korbe (When will work take place, then? How long will people have to bear with you all)?
D: Yes, dekhchhi (We are looking into it).
Presiding person: Aar dekhben naÖ kaaj karun! (No need to look more. Just do the work). Cut chhada kono kaaj hoi na (Nothing gets done without payoffs).
Presiding person: Ei, E (name withheld) pechhon theke tomar katha shona jaachchhe (Hey, E, I can hear you talking at the back).
Tumi Malda theke katha bolte eshchho na shunte eshchho (Have you come from Malda to speak or to listen)?
Kono din jeno repeat na hoi, chup karo (Don’t ever repeat this. Shut up).
Presiding person: F (non-official, name withheld)!
F: Hain, madam (Yes, madam)!
Presiding person: ‘Madam’ amake officer-ra bole; tumi ‘madam’ keno bolbe (Officers call me ‘madam’, why should you call me ‘madam’)?
Presiding person: Kaaj kichhu hochchhe na, aar koto din ei bhabe cholbe? Samne panchayat election (No work is getting done. How long will this continue? The panchayat elections are near).
Presiding person: G (name withheld), apnar baktabya TV te dekhlam, naki jomi nei bole kaj hochchhe na (I heard your comments on TV, that work is not being done because there is no land). Amake na bole TV te chole gechhen, eto sahas (You went on TV without telling me; how dare you)!
Apnara jaanen ei sab CPMer channel. Jodi na paren tahole chhede din (You know all these are the CPM’s channels. If you can’t cope, then leave your jobs). Amake boka banaben na (Don’t try to fool me).
An officer said later: Jhaad kheyechhi, aar khabar proyojon nei (We have had our fill of scolding. No need for food now)