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.
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.
Whole wheat flat breads and pan fried spicy eggplant. Earthy. Fiery. Soul soothing meal; their breakfast.
The people of the land of prairies and miles of paddy fields snack on pink lentil fritters.
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.
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.
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
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.
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..
Satiny, silky, velvety Pumpkin-Carrot Halwa; simple, sweet and satisfying dessert with an esthetic that my ancestors surrendered themselves to for ages. .
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.
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.