Yesterday Baba made narkol diye ilish machh (Borishaali, apparently) for dinner. I love when Baba cooks and doesn’t forget that I cannot eat jhaal, so the red chilli powder (or ground pepper, or slivers of chopped green chilli and variant thereof) begs to go easy on, despite the compromise of culinary integrity incurred therefore (a great sin, as far as my father is concerned).
It made me smile the way Baba prowled happily around the dining table radiating a triumphant halo while we ate and occasionally nudging Ma: ‘Borishaali, hNu hNu baba, Borishaali, bujhechho?’ The recipe was doubtlessly off a book or magazine, but it reminded me of a long time ago when my parents just couldn’t come to an agreement about whether the day-to-day food at home should be cooked the epaar Bangla way or the opaar Bangla way. I grew up around steadily lengthening lists of “weird things your Baba’s people eat” and “weird things your Ma’s people eat”, most of the items on which I don’t even recall because what I was demanding all that time was pizza. I half-suspect there’s a secret mutual list of “weird things the children eat”, topped off with the incomprehensible mantra that either cheese or chocolate makes everything better.
Hmm. Baba is very devious, in subtle ways I always failed to observe when I was younger. (He’s also energetic and explosive, and energetic and explosive people turn me into a completely puzzled neurovore). I think Baba doesn’t want me to go away to Dilli, though verbally he is being very encouraging, nearly runs off to buy flight tickets. I think I will let him cook a few more nonchalant dinners, Borishaali or otherwise, as long as he doesn’t find out that I’ve declined already.