Thursdays are special.
These are Lokkhibaar, days when Grandma and Maa offer prayers to the generous Goddess of Wealth, Maa Lokkhi.
Flowers arrive early – garlands of rajanigandha and jui during sultry summers, lilies during autumn, gorgeous yellow and orange marigold during winters.
Pristine alpona adorns the red oxide floor.
The first crop of the year, grains, fruits, vegetables, whatsoever, is laid out lovingly on kansa thaala, waiting patiently to be offered to the Goddess. (One of Grandmas stern mandates – the first crop of the year had to be, no exception, offered to the deities before we savoured them)
The fragrance of burning incense and the perfume of the dhuno, diligently fanned by Didi till the thick smoke sent her into paroxysms of coughing, waft from the thakurghor.
Grandma now reads the Panchali, I am fascinated by the melodiousness of the chant and now that I am old enough to understand some of the lyrics, I repeat alongside Grandma. She looks back, a blissful smile of contentment on her face.
And these were how Thursdays looked like during growing up years in our sleepy time-stop-still town of Karimganj.
But there was some Thursdays that were more special than the others.
And today is one such, the first Thursday of the month of Ogrohayon, a day when Grandma celebrated her much-cherished Nobanno Pujo.
As she handed us bowls of delectable Nobanno, Grandma would remind us of the benevolent bounty of Mother Nature.
It’s a day, her voice still rings in my ears, to celebrate fresh harvest. To welcome new produce. To pledge that we should never take Mother Earths munificence for granted.
Nobanno. A delicious milk and ground rice porridge. Blessed with the produce of autumn – winter – specks of luscious oranges that had just hit the markets, gorgeous green peas that had just arrived, tiny morsels of sugarcane, ivory bits of custard apple and many more.
Redolent of the earth.
Nobanno (A Ground Rice & Milk Porridge)
- 1.5 cups gobindobhog rice
- 1.5 cups reduced milk 1.5 lit milk is reduced to 1.5 cups
- 2/3 cup coconut freshly grated
- 1/3 cup khejur patali or date palm jaggery grated
- 2 ripe bananas lightly mashed
- 1/3 cup fresh orange pulp peeled and segments separated
- 1/3 cup fresh green peas
- 1/4 cup ata or sitaphal or custard apple pulp
- 1/4 cup sugarcane cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup pomegranate
- 1/3 cup apples cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1 tsp ginger freshly grated
- Soak the rice overnight . Drain, make a coarse paste with very little water .
- Take the rice paste in a mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Give it all a hearty mix. Serve.