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kolkata

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maloti’s world

the news came early morning. he was coughing again. a dagger plunged sharply just below her heart. maloti jolted with the pain, a clenched breath pummelled through her lungs. monai, her eldest son, was coughing again. no, it was not just a cold. he was coughing blood. panic caught at her throat and squeezed, she sat up bolt upright. she could feel a wail starting at the base of her stomach. maloti stood up without thinking and rolled the thin…

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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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