Browsing Tag

kolkata

Espresso Shots

upsidedownturn

“you can’t go back…” whispered the summer wind brushing against my temple. “what? what did you say?” it was nine in the morning, my mind wasn’t fully alert yet. “you can’t go back home,” a ring of quiet assertion in the palmate leaf of the plant on my desk. “it didn’t matter then… it matters now,” the white tea cup said. the cup was almost empty. i longed for a sip of tea. how many years was it now that…

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Festive Specials food indi

a payesh for shavuot

more than 3,300 years ago it is believed, god gave the torah to the jewish people on mount sinai. shavuot celebrates this deeply spiritual moment, with prayer, joy, gratitude, the reading of the commandments, and of course, food. in this case, food with dairy is customary. every year, just before shavuot, which is celebrated in may/june, my husband reminds me we must have lots of nice dairy dishes and desserts at home. clearly thoughts of buckets of ice cream, cheese,…

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Espresso Shots

nolen gur, balaclava, and bombs

“if you don’t want a child, just use nirodh!” said the ten year old. “nirodh!” there was awe and bursting curiosity in the nine year old’s voice as she struggled to keep her voice down, “what do you do with it not to have the baby?!” “shhhh! shh! mgpgmmph!” the other nine year old warned, index finger on his lips, he had just stuffed a whole nolen gurer kancha golla, that delightful sweet made of tender cottage cheese and new…

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Espresso Shots

the girl called rhino

a wail rose up in the calm late afternoon air. the tail end of it came stalking into the room with the plump little girl, who threw herself on the bed, burying her face in the cushion lying on top of the carefully covered pillows. the wail turned into a smothered whimper now, though as far as the calm of the afternoon was concerned, both had the same effect on it. “oh ma, why’re you behaving like that? what’s the…

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Espresso Shots

five feet of the snake

  “unpalatable to the lord of death! first among the monkeys!! you’ve seen five feet of the snake?? burnt face, extract of low stock!!” jomer oroochi! bandorer ogrogonno!! shaaper paanch pa dekhecho?? mukh pora, bodjaat!! the swear words flew fast, interrupted only by indignant breaths, equally rapid. the frail old lady’s voice got more stentorian with each word, the affront in it resounding. “return them this moment! return them now, i say!” she bellowed, her small frame shaking, her chest…

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Reviews

mother of 1084

her son is dead, she is alive. the endless agony of this careens through an entire day: morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening. now keening, now wretched, now rending, always there, almost a central player. on a day like none other, a day perhaps of reckoning. hajar churashir ma, the mother of 1084, mahasweta devi’s stunning indictment ultimately of a whole way of life even as she grieves with sujata, the protagonist, and senses, elicits, and enunciates her every thought and…

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Espresso Shots

revolution

the tiny dark man in spotless white dhoti and panjabi – in bengal the kurta has been called that for a very long time – had just reached the palm tree at the end of the unpaved gravel strewn path leading up to the house. rimi peered out of the window, her eyes getting brighter with each step the man took, as she unconsciously closed the book lying on the desk. she’d study later. now, it was time for bismil…

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food

the baghdadi jewish dish that was created in mumbai and kolkata

the taste was sour and sweet, a smooth, compelling aroma filled my mouth and nose, the texture was silky, a depth in it. i’d never tasted a chicken dish like this before. i’d never tasted anything like this before. the first time i had chicken chitannee, i certainly didn’t think of aurangzeb, or the british, or dawud pasha, the last mamluk ruler of baghdad. the dense gravy, mixed with fluffy white gobindobhog rice wouldn’t brook any thinking. the tender yet…

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food

if winter comes, can motorer kochuri be far behind

food is so much about memory, isn’t it? i can’t even hear the words “motorer kochuri” without thinking of my mother. my mother was not a great cook, in fact she was never too keen to visit the kitchen. she had, however, the most discerning sense of taste and understanding of the various stages of cooking. she was particular about the spices and condiments she believed a dish called for. the balance of ingredients was important, getting the right inflection…

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