At the University entrance exam in a centre in the erstwhile Calcutta, the two girls on the same seat finished their papers and suddenly smiled in recognition. The addresses on both their admit card envelopes showed an LIC Colony destination. One Jamshedpur, another Durgapur. The bonding was immediate.
After the results were declared, both these girls landed in BHU, and were thrilled at seeing each other there. Nothing like the comfort of a familiar face in a foreign setup. Aah, the same entrance exam girl, LIC colony! Bijaya Kar, became for me, an example of serendipity. An Economics honours as against my English, we did not share common subjects. That minimizes chances of closeness, by default. But there was that thread of our parents belonging to the same workforce that never let us move away from radar.
Bijaya taught me to knit in those days of Roja and Arvind Swamy(AS). I wanted to make a AS-like pullover for bhaiyu. Hail sisterly love! Same design, different colour. (The handsome hero had worn a maroon in the movie :)) Not only did Bijaya guide me into buying the right pair of kaanta, she wowed me by teaching me that ribbed design. I was super-impressed. At a time when literature and masti-maraoing were the only two things I was interested in, it fascinated me that a young girl could be a master of an intricate art like knitting. And not just a stole, a full-blown pullover, big size! This was something only ma-mashis were capable of, never a uni-student! Bijaya has remained on the pedestal ever since....
Fb helped us reconnect after years of oblivion. A top-brass in a renowned multinational, Bijaya lives amidst peacocks and her home-grown flowers and vegetables. That, in the concrete jungle of urban India, is no mean feat. So when my guru compliments me on the Rosh Boda, you can tell, it means the warmest blanket to me. The smile stayed on my face even while making Patishapta next evening. Patishapta, a traditional Bengali sweet, is a makar sankranti speciality. Keeping the khejur gur flavour of the season alive, join me in savouring it. And this one has to be for my mentor and yours, that one person who taught us an art/a skill that we are ever grateful for, and whom, we may/may not have thanked enough.
For the Cover:
1. 3 cup maida
2. 2 cup rice flour
3. 1 cup sooji
4. 1-2 tsp sugar
5. Water- to make into thin batter
1. 1 cup khoa
2. 1 cup dessicated coconut
3. Khejur gur - to taste
1. 1 ltr full cream milk
2. Khejur gur - to taste
We need to:
1. Boil milk & reduce it to half. Take off flame, add khejur gur and leave aside for gur to mix well. Allow cooling.
2. Mix the Cover ingredients well and keep batter aside for 10-15 mins.
3. Mix the Stuffing contents well so no lumps remain. Divide them into finger-sized cylinders to get the cover-stuff ratio right.(see pic)
4. Pour a laddle-full of batter into the pan, put the stuffing and roll like a dosa. Do not brown. Patishapta is whitish, doing justice to its contents.
5. When all the patishaptas are done, pour the thickened milk over them. Serve mildly warm or cold, as desired.
To be enthu and to be a foodie! No combo that spells delight better !
Warmth to you, Bijaya. And, over a decade later, thank you again.