Being Women

Celebrating Twosomes – 8 Things That Are Better Together

An exploration of the concept of twosomes, highlighting iconic Bengali pairings and showcasing the unique charm of these inseparable duos.

As TSS turns 2, I feel elated as a writer of the magazine. I hope and wish for many more anniversaries to come.

When we speak of the twosome, certain things are always better together – we cannot mention one without bringing up the other. Please read this list and let me know if you feel the same.

Winter and Nalen Gurer Sandesh – A Match Made in Bengali Heaven

Nolen gur or date palm jaggery is made from the sap of a date palm. In the evenings, insertions are made into the tree trunk and the sap is collected in an earthen pot. The first-morning sap is used to make nolen gur. There would be no Bengali in the world who would not wait to taste the nolen gurer sandesh with the onset of winter. The soft exterior of the sandesh is clubbed with the dripping and flowing nolen gur in the centre that makes the mouth go “uh la la”. One cannot think of winter without these sweet savouries.


Posto (poppy seeds) and Bhat Ghum (afternoon siesta) – Lending Comfort To Each Other

Posto is Bengali “comfort food”. It is said that during British rule, the Britishers forced the farmers to grow only Poppy and Indigo as there was great demand in the export market and they brought in good money. But, on the other hand, the farmers were left with less food and vegetable crops.

While processing, the seeds of the poppy were thrown away. Some ladies took these seeds and ground them to make “posto bata” (paste). From there on, it started being used for several dishes – jhinge posto (ridge gourd), chingri (prawn) posto, aloo (potato) posto – the list is endless. These days, this has become the food of the elite. It is also said that you have a beautiful afternoon siesta after consuming a posto dish 😊.

Rain and Bhaanrer Cha (Kulhad/Clay Cups) – An Earthy Delight

Monsoon and tea go hand-in-hand, more so the tea served in a kulhad/bhaanr. A bhaanr is a small earthen pot made by potters. These are used to serve tea in many parts of India. It is said that the hot tea is mixed with the clay to give a unique taste to the tea. Also, the pots are environmentally friendly. Who doesn’t enjoy a hot piping cup of tea on a rainy day?

Christmas and Plum Cakes – Traditions Add To Holiday Cheer

One cannot imagine Christmas without a plum cake. The history of plum cakes dates back to medieval England. It is said that the raisins and currants were used to create a kind of fruit cake. This was for feasting after a long period of fasting. These days, we get different varieties of plum cakes to bring joy to the festival of Christmas.

Coffee and Books – Refueling The Mind And Body

“Coffee – the favourite drink of the civilized world” is said to have originated in Ethiopia. A goat herder found that his goats remained very active after consuming a certain berry. This berry when consumed by humans, helps them to stay awake for a longer time. Hence, it started to spread across the world. A coffee in hand and a favourite book in the other make a perfect combination for a lazy day. The caffeine keeps the mind alert and helps to enjoy the book better.

Sundays and luchi (poori) – The Bengali Weekend Ritual

Luchis are Bengali-style pooris made purely of maida (refined flour). They are white and when made properly are puffed up (fulko). It is believed that the Portuguese made flatbreads from maida. These were customized to Indian taste to turn into luchi. Sunday mornings in a Bengali household are incomplete with a grand breakfast of luchi, more often than not, accompanied by alur dom (potato curry).

Weddings (biye bari) and Mutton kosha – A Feast For The Senses

Mutton kosha is a specific type of lamb/goat curry cooked with Bengali spices. This is made on low flame over a long time so that the meat is cooked tenderly and flavoured with all the spices. As soon as we hear the name of weddings, we think of the “biye barir” menu and the image of mutton kosha fills the mind with joy.

Durga Pujo and sindoor (vermilion) khela – Celebrating Sisterhood

The tradition of sindoor khela started hundreds of years ago. On the last day of Durga Puja, married women put vermilion on Devi Durga and offer her sweets. After that, they put vermilion on each other’s foreheads, and on their bangles (sakha and pola) and pray for a happy married life.

The list is endless, but it helps us picture the power of 2. You see 1 is good, but 2 is fulfilling!

More power to The She Saga on the second birthday.

(This was an entry for the contest ‘Two’ to commemorate the second birthday of The She Saga. It appealed to the judges for highlighting the synergistic relationships between various elements of daily life and cultural traditions.)

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