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Essays by Nabanita Sengupta, Rituparna Sengupta and Rupayan Mukhopadhyay

Volume 2 | Issue 11 [March 2023]

Fish Stories

Volume 2 | Issue 11 [March 2023]

Unlike most middle and upper-class Bengali households, we did not grow up with fish. There were days when we did not have it at all. So whenever we visited our family home in the suburbs of Kolkata, our meals would begin with jethima, my aunt, expressing her concern about how fish-starved we were – ‘How will you get your nutrition?’ was her constant refrain. This complaint in many ways foreshadowed a comment later popular among my Hindi-speaking friends at Delhi University – that consuming fishhead was the source of Bengali intellect and intelligence. …

— Nabanita Sengupta 


Volume 2 | Issue 11 [March 2023]

মাংস খাওয়ার শখ সেই জ্ঞান-বয়স থেকে।

ছেলেবেলায় মাংস খাওয়ার চেয়ে খাওয়ার ভাবনাটাই বেশি উপাদেয় ছিল। তখন মফস্বল শহরে রেস্তোরাঁর ছড়াছড়ি হয়নি, মধ্যবিত্ত ব্রাহ্মণ বাড়ির হেঁশেলে প্রায় নিষিদ্ধ ইস্তাহার ছাপার মতন গোপনীয়তায় চিকেন রান্না হয়। তবু কলকাতায় বড় হওয়া গৃহিণীর সিদ্ধহস্তে তৈরি সেই খোলতাই মাংসের গন্ধ, রান্নাঘরের ভেজানো জানালা ছাপিয়ে, বাঁশের বেড়ার ওপারে থাকা জ্ঞাতিদের নাকে  পৌঁছে যাওয়া সদাসম্ভব। মা তাই ছেলেকে শিখিয়ে দেয়, “ওঘরের বড়মা যদি জিজ্ঞেস করে, বলবি দুপুরে মটন্ খেয়েছি।“ বাঁশের ধনুক আর পাটকাঠির তীর নিয়ে খেলায় ব্যস্ত ছেলে ‘অশ্বথামা হত’টুকুই শোনে, ‘ইতি গজ’ শোনার মতন ধৈর্য বা মনযোগ তার নেই। বিক…

—রূপায়ন মুখোপাধ্যায়

Aamarous Pleasures

Volume 2 | Issue 11 [March 2023]

Summers at home in Kolkata are yellow. Mangoes don’t grow in our garden; our garden grows in and around mangoes. By early March, soft green leaves appear, soon followed by bunches of mango flowers, their lovely little bouquets all over the tree. Spring is incomplete without admiring the sight of the first few baby mangoes and leaning over from the terrace to inhale their scent.  Soon, summer kicks in with a vengeance and so does the craving for cool, sweet-and-sour, raw mango recipes: toker dal (mango dal, served cold), aamer tok (watery mango chutney), aam panna (chilled mango drink). The pleasure of savouring farm-fresh produce, direct from tree to table, never fades…

— Rituparna Sengupta

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