|Deem pauruti for the win|
It's Mahalaya today. The day that marks the advent of Durga Pujo, the most wonderful time of the year for us Bengalis. As against Shoshthi, which marks the beginning. The semantics used is courtesy Devjyoti Chatterjee @beerpurush, whose DM to me on Instagram helped me pick the right words.
I woke up to messages of Shubho Mahalaya on my phone courtesy perhaps more non-Bengalis than Bengalis. A function of the fact that I live in Mumbai and that my friends wanted to wish me after seeing other Bengalis being wished the same.
A wave of Kolkata nostalgia overtook me and I went to the kitchen and made the savoury French toasts that my mom used to make me when I was a kid. They are called deem pauruti in Bengal. I added a bit of capsicum and tomato to it and used some Amul cheese too.
The choice of dish was a happy coincidence, as the truth is that there was the last of the La Folie sourdough left in the fridge and French toast was my breakfast plan for the day in any case!
To amp up the nostalgia quotient, I got Alexa to play the best of Wham! to me. 'Careless whispers' and 'Wake me up before you go go' were par for the course in our building pujo back in the 80s.
Today they put little Nimki and Baby Loaf to sleep. The Golden Oldies they called it.
There's some debate as to whether one should or should not wish people 'Shubho Mahalaya'
My friend, Kaniska Chakraborty, wrote on social media that one should not as 'it is a sombre occasion when the departed spirits of our forefathers are shown the way to heaven."
When I posted his comment, Priyanka Mitra, another friend of mine responded saying, "the shubho is from the fact that this is the day the pratima (idol) of Ma (Durga) gets her eyes drawn and she is invited by thousands of devotees to come and visit us...the veneration of departed souls is another aspect of the same day...why let the sombre overshadow the ecstatic?"
Well, it is not my area of expertise to be honest.
I am just happy that the French toast turned out good. It can be touch and go. I guess the Goddess blessed it today!