Bengal or West Bengal as it is popularly known is one of the states in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. While selecting the theme ‘A dollop of Bengal’, I hadn’t thought of the unbelievably wide range of categories that define the state. So when I started jotting down the words that started with the first alphabet A, I realized the list was only getting bigger. Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen, award-winning actor and director Aparna Sen, scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, novelist Ashapurna Devi , singer Arijit Singh and the heritage monument Adina Mosque in Malda amidst a list of never-ending names. So I chose two subjects that define the quintessential Bengali essence.
The Oxford dictionary defines it as a place where people gather for conversations. In Bengal what this stands for is a place where people meet for passionate arguments (sometimes heated as well) related to anything under the sky favorites being politics and the downward spiralling of the state. These addas can be spotted at a range of places varying from the tiniest tea shop to a quiet corner of the road to the pavement of someone’s house. Intellectuals have termed this as brainstorming sessions of many a plot and movement alike like the famous addas at Calcutta Coffee House.
Bengalis love for biriyani is well-known. What differentiates Kolkata biriyani from that of the rest of the country is a round and succulent potato. One of the oldest and best options in the city for this is the restaurant Aminia. It is famous for its Mutton biriyani and chicken chap. Till date they have retained their signature dishes along with the introduction of new kebab items.
The personal angle:
The year was 1999 – it was going to be my first stay away from home. Kolkata was meant to be my destination for the next three years and Presidency College Girls Hostel my address. The night before my parents went back to my home town, leaving me on my own for the first time, we dined at the Aminia outlet opposite Elite cinema, Esplanade. It used to be a favorite of my dad’s during his post graduation days in the city. Over the years, there have been quite a few options serving great biriyani but for me Aminia is nostalgia defined.
Happy drooling over these gorgeous food items until we meet tomorrow again.