Crossing Jamuna

Exciting events are not supposed to happen in small towns, in the kingdom of 15 year old girls … who are often caged and curtained by a male chauvinist society.

It was a peaceful, twilight late night and I was sitting on a boat crossing Jamuna with some friends. There was a beautiful emptiness, moments of stillness, silence all across that apparently lawless, rowdy, wild river. Our destination is the other side of Jamuna. We set off to explore my ancestor’s sunshiny shrine rimmed with Roses; a magical destination, as fascinating as Narnia or the kingdom of Sheba.

High school was over and for the first time, I was allowed to cross the border … the boundary that I have been living all my girlhood.

I hear my ancestor’s village always glitters grandly with evening twilight. Inhaling the smell of crystal silver waves, listening to the whispers of gentle summer breeze, watching the moonlit swirling its surreal aura, slowly by slowly, and quietly, all over the deep blue sky I got lost thinking of the divine classic peasants food that my ancestors savor. My Mom has been proudly replicating and feeding us those humble dishes ever since I can remember.

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Rose Tea

Over there mornings shiver with alluring sunlight. Blossoms thrust up merrily everywhere. Beduin-Bees touch the petals of Poppies, Lillies and Roses. And the people of the magic-land celebrate life with a cup of tea. Every single morning.

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Whole wheat flat breads and pan fried spicy eggplant. Earthy. Fiery. Soul soothing meal; their breakfast.

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The people of the land of prairies and miles of paddy fields snack on pink lentil fritters.

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These savory fritters bring promise to sweep away dreadful darkness. By rights, something that tastes so good should cost a lot. But they are dirt Cheap!  Gorgeous, crunchy, crispy, glistening. These picturesque, charismatic fritters is a sight to behold.

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Egg Curry

Village style lunch under a pavilion deep in the paddies: Egg Curry with grace notes of  Parsley. And mounds of rice spooned from hand pounded sun dried mud-pot. There’s no denying the power, beauty and majesty of Egg curry when the weather is sweltering.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fresh garlic + ginger paste

400 gram fresh chopped tomatoes

Salt to taste

8 eggs

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan. Then fry the onions over a low heat for 10 minutes until golden. Add garlic-ginger paste and sizzle for 2 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes and 200 ml water, season to taste, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until you have a rich sauce/gravy.

Meanwhile, boil eggs for 8 minutes, cool in cold water, peel and halve. Put the eggs into the pan, spoon the curry sauce over and leave for another 2 minutes to heat through. Serve with rice/bread.

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Egg Curry 2

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Dinner: seasoned and drizzled with olive oil, as it sautees, the shrimps crisps and reddens here and there in a lovely way. Adding a dash of  dried herbs gives the dish an incredible flavor. The pan juices make a delicious sauce to mop up with bread or to spoon over a salad of fresh cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes..

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Satiny, silky, velvety Pumpkin-Carrot Halwa; simple, sweet and satisfying dessert with an esthetic that my ancestors surrendered themselves to for ages.  .

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Can’t wait to visit the land with countless corridors of  peace & prosperity. Can’t wait to meet the people who grow love and bountiful crops in the wilderness. Can’t wait to relish their food of elemental beauty and purity.

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The sky was wide open with millions of twinkling stars. Small. Huge. Bright. Blurry. How glamorous! How mysterious! I stared at the starry sky. For how long I don’t know. I heard the announcement of our arrival. The stars started fading away. The sky was turning ruby red. The warmth of the sun was about to greet the day. And I can clearly see my destination: on the back side of the river. Things are greening up over there.

83 Comments on “Crossing Jamuna

    • Thanks much for your lovely presence! Those kind, inspiring words of yours mean a lot to me. Wish me luck so that I can blog at least 4 times a year🙂

  1. Subhan-Alloh, All recipes are Very beautiful and looking delicious n Yummy….

  2. Brilliantly assembled; beautifully drawn the moment of “Jamuna” crossing…….

  3. So lovely to see a new post beautifully written, beautifully photographed. I want egg curry now!

    • I’m enchanted to have your mighty presence here, Your Highness. How I wish you were here with me; I could gladly share the curry with you🙂

  4. তোমার খাবারের ছবি আর বিবরণ দেখে প্রচন্ড লোভী হয়ে যাওয়া আমার কাছে নতুন না! তবে এই নস্টালজিক লেখাটা পড়ে কোই যেন হারায়ে গেলাম! কিছুটা আনন্দ আবার কিছুটা বিষন্নতার এক মিশ্র অনুভুতি হচ্ছে! তুমি খুব অদ্ভুত সুন্দর লেখ, আমার কিশোর বেলায় বিভূতিভূষণ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় এর লেখা কিছু গল্পের মাঝে হারালে একটা অদ্ভুত অনুভুতি পেতাম , আজকের তোমার লেখাটা পড়ে মনের মাঝে তেমন কোনো একটা অনুভুতি হচ্ছে যেই অনুভুতিটার নাম হুবহু আমি জানিনা!

    • Thanks a bunch, dear Simi🙂 I’m a HUGE fan of your photography. I learn from you every single day. I’m happy to have you come by.

  5. What a great egg curry! I’ve only made one or two that I’ve really liked — this one looks terrific. Superb photos (and writing) — thanks.

    • This egg curry is super simple. I hope you give it a try. And thanks a million for stopping by here. I’m inspired and flattered🙂

  6. glad that you are back with your awesomeness…..missed you….again amazing word😀❤

    • OMG! Your Excellency! Me ecstatic to have you come by! Thanks a trillion for stopping by and dropping those kind, inspiring words!

  7. I find color, love, life – those makes a wonderful specialism!! I will try it near soon. Thanks.🙂

    • Let me know how your curry went. I’m sure this curry will get a new dimension if a tremendously passionate cook like yourself give a try. Thanks a lot, sweetly, for reading the post🙂 Kisses.

  8. আপনার খাবারের ছবিগুলা দেখলে খালি খিদা লাগে, আপু…..😦

  9. When you were not in my friend zone, i was an admirer of ur photography skill, later i became a huge fan of your personality…nd now your write up…kudos!ur an inspiration: *

    • Thanks much! I’m blessed to have a nice & kind friend like yourself. For a lot of reasons, I’m grateful to you, darling🙂

      I’m a fan of your smile, your bold and beautiful personality too. Stay exactly the way you are. God bless you more and more.

  10. This was like a written tour, tour to some great moments as well tour of a great culture… here i sat and read the whole story.. and felt like i want to have a practical tour like this… thank you for rejuvenation my desire of exploration in this busy life..❤❤❤

    BTW : do you write in any magazine.. ?? your blogs are masterpiece..🙂

    • Such lovely words! I’m touched and flattered and overwhelmed! Thanks, my little darling, for taking the trouble in reading my post. Yes, I do get to share my recipes to some magazines. Not on a regular basis though🙂

  11. You are a very nice soul Nusrat and your words always touch the soul. Its difficult for me to believe that you (and many other girl children) have to go through difficult times. After reading this post, it feels good to be lost in the right direction. Images portray your beautiful self especially those roses🙂 Never knew fritters can dictate a fairy tale and those pumpkin-carrot halwa cakes are full of fantasy.Stay blessed and keep writing.

    • It takes a beautiful heart to compliment someone so generously like you just did. I’m touched and grateful, dear Praveen. I’m a HUGE fan of your photographic stories🙂
      Please stay in touch.

  12. Poetically put touched my heart………….and your shots what can I say, you do it so elegantly, I dream of sharing our traditional rustic cuisine with the world in style and you do it with such fineness

  13. Your photography puts me into trance….The rightup was so touching too! If you had to compile all your pcs into a book and publish I would be your first customer

    • The honor and pleasure would be all mine if I get YOU as the first ever customer of my book🙂 Thanks a billion, my friend, for always being there for me. God bless.

  14. Atodin Jantam probad Ta Ja RAdhta Jana sha Chul badhta o para–.Ata To akhana !00%Thik.Jamon Upolobdhi Tamni prokash Vongi!.opurbo !. Chalia jao. parla shob Lekhagulo taratari shonkolon koro . haria jabar agai. Onek valobasha Sweet Heart!

  15. Your presentation is just unbeatable apu. I’ve been doing photography for last couple of years and have seen tons of pictures. But your pics are different. Wish you all the best apu. Keep mesmerize us… #GodBless

  16. Oh, how I missed reading your poetic interpretation of childhood and memories that go with it. You are hands down my favorite blogger..
    Let’s talk about your pictures here, well, they are so artistic just like your words. BEAUTIFUL. Glad you are back.

  17. 2014/09/21
    Sunday

    Having a depression centered over the Bay of Bengal – a wet-cloudy day & a Sunday, I thought it would perfect reading Keat’s “Ode to Autumn” once again, just to attain a nostalgic moment of my childhood – school classrooms with high ceilings and thick concrete walls and the English “pundits” on the lectern/podium and then suddenly I thought about this blog awaiting to be read. Lo and Behold!! you took me off to the El Dorado -Nusarat – where one can chant the strains of Sachin Karta’s – “Ami Tak-dum-Takdum Bajai” – a nostalgia again – I could feel the that sweet aroma from the grass and the ponds dwindling down the meadows though my ears crave for that ever sweet phonetics “aisen zokhon amago ekhane,to narikel diya ek bati hurum khaiya zan”

    my eyes watering – I’d like to sing “country rose .. take me home”? .

    • Aren’t you a poet! Such rhythmic expression! Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, dear Dev. Always a pleasure to have you here on my blog. God bless.

    • Hi there🙂 You need to marinate eggplant chunks with pinch of turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and your choice of dried herbs. Then pan fry the chunks in medium heat until golden brown. Enjoy. Many thanks for stopping by.

  18. It was just a blessings to be able to read your write up and of course, to see your photos! Not only my eyes watch them, but my entire body.

  19. Nice article and yummy food’s photographs . Thanks for share

  20. Nusrat you are outstanding…..when I saw your food photography I am amazed it’s out of the world😍😍😍

  21. Oh ! Whats your secret of photography ?????? I’m in love with your arts !! and that description of Jamuna just reminded me my childhood ! My used to travel a lot because of his transferable job ! Northern Bangladesh was our native land ! Spend my early years in Rajshahi and Bogura ! The ferry rides were magical, the mighty Jamuna and her cool breezes always welcomed me and also sent the best wishes while returning to Dhaka ! Ah those childhood days …. feeling nostalgic…

    Anyways.. I’m always in love with your artworks !!🙂

    Keep Rocking, Artista !🙂

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