So when my eyes greet the gorgeous shimmering silver parshe at the Manicktala fish market during my recent jaunt to Kolkata, I know at once what lunch this morning shall be.
The fish comes home.
I ruminating all the while, how to do justice to these stunning beauties. A parshe jhal may be ?
Maa spots me pottering about in her kitchen.
You cannot be cooking when you have come home for just a couple of days, she complains.
What’s wrong with that ? I protest. Meekly.
But then, you never ever win a fight with a mother, do you ?
She has a vast repertoire of tricks up her sleeve.
And she wins. Expectedly. Yet again.
I nod my head in disbelief. That she still believes I am her little princess. And that the heat and the grime of the kitchen are not for me.
Let me make you a tea at least. I plead. And, I add, almost as an afterthought, watch you cook.
Just as I would, a starry eyed teenager, in the ancient kitchen. In our house by the river in Karimganj.
I brew a jasmine tea. For me and her.
And stand, transfixed, watching her alluring magic in the kitchen.
And she doesn’t cook the usual parshe jhal today.
You anyway do that very often don’t you ? She queries. Not waiting though for my answer.
Let me do a Doi Mouri Parshe for you today.
Doi Mouri Parshe. Parshe (or mullets) in a pristine yoghurt sauce. Perfumed with the aromatic fennel. And just that hint of asafoetida. Another ancient Bengali recipe. From Maas kitchen.