With my housemates gearing up for the wedding in February, there’s ceaseless discussion on food. The talks gather steam after I am back from work. Though delicious in themselves, the talks render bland whatever it is that I am snacking on. You see, how can I be expected to cherish a sandwich when people are deliberating upon chicken kosha, mutter-paneer and daal tadka? I sit drooling and chewing, wishing the day were upon us already. It is another story – quite sad really – that I will not be able to enjoy any of the delicious food that is being planned. The bride and groom will sit atop the stage, smiling beatifically for the shutterbugs, as the guests lick off their plates.
“How many times of fish will we have?” a friend of mine asked cheerfully. “I am expecting at least three. After all, it is a Bengali wedding. Will there be hilsa?” “I suppose so.” I tried to casually remember how hilsa looked but I am afraid I wasn’t discreet enough. “Oh, I had forgotten. You are only a pseudo-Bengali. The no-fish-eating type.” Ha, so much for wearing Mom’s best sarees on Durga Puja and memorizing Bengali hymns as a child of five. My abstinence from fish renders me a pseudo-Bengali among most people I associate with.
On the other hand, a lot of people R knows assume I am a “Bong from Kolkata”. “So R,” they declare loudly, “you will now be off to Kolkata for fuchka and chingree maach every now and then!” (Read panipuri/golgappa and prawns, respectively) “Actually, she is a Delhi-ite.” R ventures. “Oh, all Bongs are Kolkata-ish in their hearts.” I wonder what that implies. Do all Gujaratis live in Ahmedabad or all Punjabis in Punjab? Last I heard, this wasn’t the case. What is worse is that since I have spent very little time in Kolkata, I am not always up to conversation pertaining to localities, landmarks and eating joints. I don’t fancy the chicken-and-egg dishes and prefer coffee to tea. All this again renders me a pseudo-Bengali. Sheesh, this is almost an identity crisis.
Meanwhile, the family keeps the larder stocked “in case friends and relatives hop over”. There’s tonnes of goodies to ensure I need to substantially up my resolve for diet management. Brilliant method to teach a bride-to-be self- control.
“Will you continue to like aloo-luchi next year or will litthi-chokha be your new favourite?” The friend who calls me a pseudo-Bengali pretended to be perturbed.
I too am slightly perturbed. I sincerely hope that the cameramen, the wedding finery and the shehnaayi will succeed in keeping R and my minds off the aroma of food.
*I am willing to discuss in-depth any of the food items mentioned in the post. :D