Knowing my obsessive fascination with food, B for Biriyani should have been the ideal choice. But I had too many choices again. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata – the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest in the world, the historical Belur Math founded by Swami Vivekananda, the age-old Botanical Garden in Shibpur, Howrah, Bengal’s Baul music (folk) that unites Hindus and Muslims alike and famous places to visit like Bolpur (houses Visva Bharati – the university set up by Rabindranath Tagore) and Bishnupur (famous for Terracotta temples). But there were two subjects that defined Bengal for me – Byomkesh Bakshyand Berhampore.
Byomkesh Bakshy –
Created by author Shardindu Bandopadhyay, Byomkesh was one of the first and finest detective (though he preferred to call himself Satyaneshvi or the truth seeker) characters in Bengali literature. Accompanied by his best friend and writer Ajit Kumar Bandopadhyay in almost all the cases, he was unique in having a family of his own. The stories of Byomkesh were set during the time period of 1930-70 and the author managed to capture the vibrancy of Calcutta through his writing. While the television series starring Rajit Kapoor brought the detective closer to audiences nationwide, the curiosity about this character grew manifold when director Dibakar Mukherjee made a movie Detective Byomkesh Bakshy starring Sushant Singh Rajput in 2015.
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. 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 I keep visiting Aminia mostly for the nostalgia it holds in my heart. This weekend, we decided to revisit the Aminia outlet near Chinar Park, Rajarhat and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to see some positive changes in the attitude and feel of the place. Located on Rajarhat road, this outlet had a queue of people waiting to get in when we arrived. It is still that popular.
The first time when I was introduced to this delivery joint was when they had started out as a single outlet at Rajarhat and biriyani and bhuna masala(chicken /mutton) were the only options. They has come a long way with three outlets and a range of offerings now.