Cut to half a decade back.
It’s a charcoal-scarred sky this morning. Ominous cumulonimbus clouds reign the heavens.
A desultory drizzle pitter-patters with monotonous persistence.
S is off to the market, his ritualistic weekend visit, therapeutic as he claims, without which his weekend is not deemed complete.
I stand by the window, the wind playing with my curls, watching a world in monochrome go by.
The bell rings.
Guess what I found at the vegetable market today, S asks. Excitement stark in his voice.
And without waiting for my response, digs into his bajarer thole and theatrically pulls out, as a magician would a bunny from his wonder- sack, a gorgeous green kakrol, the stalk still intact.
Kakrol. I burst out, ecstatic.
Kakrol was available in prolific abundance in Assam, appearing in markets around Holi and disappearing just before the Pujas, (and yes that’s how the vegetable calendar was remembered, made to coincide with primary festivals).
Though I have really not seen this understated gourd in the other cities I have lived since. Sigh !!
So what shall be on the menu this morning ? S enquires.
And almost as an afterthought adds, I do want my kakrol bhaja please to savour with dal. And maybe one of the days, I shall make motor dal with kakrol.
Do you not like Kakrol Pur ? I ask.
Kakrol Pur ? He exclaims. Surprise studded on his face. Haven’t had that one.
It’s a Sylheti delicacy, I explain. Let me make the vegetarian version for lunch.
The Kakrol Pur I go about to prepare becomes a super-hit.
Kakrol Pur. Gorgeous kakrol. A tear-jerking spicy stuffing of poppy-seed and mustard paste. Grated coconut to pacify the heat. Dipped in a batter and fried to a gorgeous golden.
A must-try before the season runs out.