Friday, November 04, 2011

Saraswati Pujo 2011

[Just found this in my drafts.]

It's been a day I'd like to remember. Vicky had an early morning online meeting, so he left home shortly after 9. My maid bunked so I washed a lot of dishes and then had to scramble into my saree while he got Rahul dressed. Right after he left Rahul and I went upstairs for the pujo arranged by our neighbours. Two books of Rahul's were taken along to be blessed, although I wonder how pleased Ma Saraswati is with him, considering that he forbade me to participate in the anjali, going so far as to put his hand over my mouth and curtly bid me to be quiet...

We came home, made some wormcakes aka poka pancakes. I tore my pallu on the bedroom door handle. Small tear, but still. I've only worn this saree a couple of times and it happens to be a big favourite. We practised some writing. And then we set out again to Indrani thamma's house. Together with her and thamma (the MIL) we went to #24 (another branch of the Niyogis) for the afternoon.

It was great fun sitting and chatting there.

[I found this much of the post in my drafts. Let me see if I can reconstruct the rest of the day.]

Lunch at #24 was very interesting and not just because I enjoy catching up with family gossip. I've married into a Bangal family, as I've mentioned before, and Dhira jethi has kept many of the old traditions alive. One of these is the "jora ilish" (twin hilsa) lunch for Saraswati Puja. Two large hilsa fishes were ceremoniously decorated and consecrated before being carefully cleaned within a plastic packet (in lieu of a kulo -- no part of the fish is supposed to fall on the ground). They were then cut and cooked in a unique 'oil-free' way: in a big kada Dhira jethi let some kalo jeere splutter in some oil; she then covered the oil+kalo jeere completely with fresh papaya leaves and let the leaves cook. When the leaves had released sufficient water she carefully placed the delicate pieces of fish on the bed of leaves and water, added salt and covered the lot and let it cook. The result was a tender, very light fish curry that was surprisingly delicious. I wrinkled my nose at the initial overwhelming fishy smell but very soon all I cared for was getting as much fish as I could into myself. She served this with her trademark bhuna khichudi, a filling rice-dal combo topped with freshly grated ginger just before being removed from the fire. Delicious.

Vicky joined us from his office for the lunch. He drove us back home.


Anonymous said...

Fish. Oh man. I want to be in Kolkata already. Awesomeness.

Sue said...

Anon -- That's the word. :)