Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha”. Mahalaya is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power. Thus, the day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis.
Mahalay is also considered the day of remembrance of departed souls of the family. On this day, the ritual of offering “tarpan” in memory of forefathers is commonly practiced. Tarpan is offered on the banks of River Ganga by priests for different group of devotees.
Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the Bengalis, is around the corner and what’s better than having a fulfilling traditional meal during the festive season. This period is a foodie’s paradise with plenty of mouth-watering dishes to savour. Be it snacks or sweets, lunch or dinner, Bengali dishes have something to offer all food enthusiasts.
However, many non-Bengalis, especially who are vegetarians, feel that there isn’t enough variation of Bengali cuisine when it comes to vegetarian food. Well, that’s not the case. Bengalis are known for their love for fish, but at the same time they have some super delicious vegetarian dishes as well.
A regular meal in a Bengali household consists of at least two kinds of vegetarian dishes: a fried vegetable dish and a vegetable curry every day. Shukto, Dhokar Dalna, Alu Posto, Lau Ghonto are a few of those mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that the Bengalis have mastered in. But, if you are willing to try something new from the wide array of Bengali vegetarian dishes, then here is a simple yet delicious recipe of Bhapa Aloo(Steamed Potato) that will surely leave you longing for more.
Preparation Time – 10 min
Cooking Time – 40 min
200 gm small potatoes
2 tsp mustard oil
1/2 tsp Bengali five spice mixture (panchphoron) (whole jeera, saunf seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustrad seeds and kalaunji)
1/2 tsp mustard paste
1 tsp hung curd
3/4 tsp desiccated coconut paste
2 dry red chillies
Pinch of green chilli paste
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Dash of lime juice
2 banana leaves
1. Peel the potatoes and par boil them in salted water. Once the potatoes are boiled, drain the water and keep those aside.
2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the five spice mixture on to it. Then break the red chillies in half and add them next in the oil. Stir the spices around till they splutter.
3. Then pour this mixture over the potatoes and put it aside.
4. Next take a mixing bowl and prepare a marinade with the mustard paste, curd, coconut paste, green chilli paste and turmeric powder. Do not forget to whip it well.
5. Gently mix the potatoes into this marinade. Add salt and lime juice to it and mix it again.
6. Finally, put the potatoes on a steel plate, cover those with the banana leaves and steam them for about 6-8 minutes. Once the potatoes are perfectly steamed, serve it hot on a platter. You can have this dish with both rice and chapati.
Bengal is known for its rich culture, traditions and especially for its finest delectable delicacies, which obviously includes the huge variety of sweets. However, despite having so many varieties of desserts, the image of Bengali sweets is stuck at Rosogolla, Mishti Doi and Sondesh. This is exactly why, we have decided to list down the top 10 popular and most delicious Bengali sweets that one should try apart from Rosogolla and Mishti Doi. Moreover, Durga Puja is just round the corner and it would be the perfect timing to indulge into some sinfully delicious treats.
1. Kheer Kadam
Kheer Kadam is made by encasing a dry rasgulla or rosogolla (smaller than the usual one), coated first with khoya, which is then dusted with grated dried khoya. It has got its name after Kadamba, a ball-shaped flower with tiny white petals that point in all directions. One can simply pop the whole sweet at one go and relish the taste of both khoya and rosogolla simultaneously.
2. Sita Bhog
Sita Bhog has mass appeal all over India and that itself boasts how amazing this sweet is. This milk based dish resembles rice vermicelli served with tiny balls of gulab jamun that will easily melt in your mouth. Not convinced? Trust me, you’ve to try it to believe it.
Mihidana is often referred to as the micro-cousin of the traditional Boondi. It is derived from two separate words: ‘Mihi’ meaning ‘fine’ and ‘Dana’ meaning grain. The light golden colour of Mihidana will make your heart melt, just like that.
4. Labanga Latika
Labanga Latika is the hallmark of Bengali tradition. This sweet is made up of khoya, maida, grated coconut, cardamom, ghee and nuts and it’s artfully folded into an envelope shape and sealed with a clove. Later, it is fried in ghee, and soaked in thick sugar syrup to give that extra edge of sweetness to it.
5. Chhanar Jilipi
This deep fried sweet is made of paneer, khoya and maida and soaked in sugar syrup (flavoured with cardamom). Chhanar Jilipi tastes the best if served warm after heating it for a few seconds.
Most people have immense love for deep fried sweets, and when it comes to Shorbhaja, sweet lovers simply can’t resist it. Shorbhaja is entirely from condensed milk which has been deep fried. Its preparation is a tedious process but the final result is absolutely worth the effort.
Patishapta, also known as crepes or ‘pitha’, is the most popular among all the pithas. It’s actually a rice flour crepe with coconut and jaggery fillings. Patishapta is preserved for Makar Sankranti, and is always made at home. The delicious softness of the crepe and the sweet filling inside makes it one of the best things that you’ll ever have. In some cases, Patishaptas are also served with a bit of sweet thickened milk on top of the roll, making it super yummy.
Pantua is very similar to Gulab Jamun. The delicious and heart-warmingly rich paste is made from khoya, channa and flour, which is later made into many medium-sized balls that are deep fried, soaked in sugar syrup and then flavored by cardamom.
Langcha belongs to the same family of Pantua, the only difference is that the former is cylindrical and latter is circular in shape. To be true to this sweet, you have to call it Shaktigarh-er Langcha, because it’s credited to have originated from this town in Burdwan district of West Bengal. Coming to its taste, this langcha is super delicious.
10. Joynogorer Moa
This sweet is made from date palm jaggery, puffed rice and clarified butter (ghee), and cardamom. Moa is particularly available in winter because both the puffed rice and the jaggery belong to that season. However, nowadays these are also available during Durga Puja. Joynogorer Moa is often topped with a raisin or two that adds on to the flavor of this sweet ball.
India celebrated its 71st Independence Day on 15 August, 2017 with renewed enthusiasm and patriotic fervour. In 1947, this date marked the end of India’s struggle against British rule and the beginning of a new era for the country. India is truly a secular and diverse country with different religions, languages, caste, and creed living in harmony.
India has a long history to tell about itself since its freedom till now. All of us have read about the freedom fighters of our country and their horrific struggle for freedom. But, as the nation celebrates the 71st year of freedom, we thought of bringing something different to the table. Here’s a list of 7 interesting facts associated with Independence Day that may surprise you.
1. India derived its name from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the first inhabitants of the country. The Sanskrit name for India is Bharat Ganarajya. Hence, it is also known as ‘Bharat’.
2. The National flag was first hoisted on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta, now Kolkata. The flag was composed of horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. The red strip at the top had eight white lotuses embossed on it in a row. The green strip had a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right.
3. At present, the Indian flag has three colours: saffron, white and green. The top strip saffron stands for courage and sacrifice; the middle portion white for peace, truth, purity and green for faith, fertility and chivalry. The Ashok Chakra at the centre of the flag depicts righteousness.
4. It is said that Pingali Venkayya designed the first version of the current national flag at Bezwada in 1921. The flag was made up of two colours: red and green that used to represent the two major communities. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolize progress of the Nation.
5. Talking about the national flag, the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission is the only licensed flag production and supply unit in India. As of 2008, the Dharwad based Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha was the sole manufacturer of the flag. The flags were earlier made with Jayadhar, a popular variety of cotton grown in Karnataka. But, Khadi Gramodyoga has recently started using Bt cotton instead of the indigenous.
6. Many people think that Hindi is the national language of our country, but that’s not true. Hind is the first official language of India. Article 343 of the Constitution states that Hindi in Devnagari script is the official language of India. On 14 September 1949, Hindi was declared as the Official Language of the Union.
7. Although, the Bengali invocation of Jana Gana Mana was written in 1911, there was no National Anthem when India became independent on August 15, 1947. Jana Gana Mana was not considered as national anthem till 1950.
Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was finally released on 11 August, 2017 and fans are going gaga over it. Ever since its announcement, the audience had been waiting eagerly to witness the romantic comedy that delves into the subject of open defecation.
Moreover, the recent debacle of Shah Rukh Khan-Anushka Sharma starrer ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal was another reason for which all eyes were on Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. And, we must say that the film has fulfilled all those expectations. It has become one of those few films of 2017 that is seeing a good run at the box office by crossing the 50 crores mark on its first weekend. It seems that when Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan failed to rule the market, Akshay is all set to take it over with these five key factors that makes the film a must watch.
Socially relevant message: Toilet: Ek Prem Katha explores the problems of open defecation and talks about the hardships women have to face because of this nationwide issue. The film is a satirical take on a battle against age old tradition of open defecation and is campaigning against the sanitation issue in India, hoping to spread the message of ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyaan’ across the nation. It also highlights the risk of getting raped or lynched due to such ill practices.
Based on a true story: Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, this film is inspired from the real life of Priyanka Bharti. The 19- year- old newly-wed ran away from her in-laws house two days after her marriage, because she could not defecate in the open. She gave rise to a huge revolution in many parts of the country. Priyanka came back to her in-laws house once the toilet was built.
A complete entertainer: Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is an out and out entertainer. After churning superhits one after the other, Khiladi of the box office is back with a mass entertainer that can create an impact in the society with his social satire. The film has hinterland humour that could appeal to the masses. Thus, the film will educate and entertain the masses simultaneously.
Akshay Kumar: Akshay Kumar, the man himself gives us enough reasons to go and watch his film when it’s running in theatres. Be it comedy or serious drama, the actor has always spelt his charm leaving the audience with more expectations. Be it Baby, Rustom, Airlift, Jolly LLB 2 or Special 26, Akshay Kumar has proved his acting abilities again and again. But, with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha ‘Akki’ has taken the entertainment quotient to a whole new level with a script that was refused by many actors in the industry.
New on-screen pair: This is the first time that Akshay Kumar is pairing up with ‘Dum Lagake Haisha’ actress, Bhumi Pednekar. In this film, Bhumi plays the character of a strong headed bride, who walks out of his in-laws house since they do not have a toilet in the house. And, it’s needless to say that she has stolen hearts all over again after her debut film, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. The on-screen chemistry between Keshav and Jaya is quite interesting yet simple.
Jab Harry Met Sejal, one of the most anticipated Bollywood movies of 2017, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma has finally released today and it is nothing less than a festival for all the ‘Baadshah’ fans out there.
The Imtiaz Ali film was expected to be highly entertaining with the add-on magical essence by the ace director. But, somehow Jab Harry Met Sejal has failed to to give that magical impact, despite having certain quintessential Imtiaz Ali elements. The film has turned out to be a little less satisfactory than his previous works.
Anushka Sharma portrays the character named Sejal Jhaveri, who is a Gujarati self-claimed selfish woman. Sejal goes on a tour in Europe with her family and her faceless fiancée Rupen, who is seen only in the second half. During the tour, she loses her engagement ‘ring’ and having involved in a fight with Rupen, Sejal decides to stay back and search the ring.
Shah Rukh Khan a.k.a Harry or Harinder Singh Nehra is a Punjabi self-claimed ‘cheap’ and ‘womaniser’, who happens to be the tour guide of Sejal and her family. Eventually, Harry finds himself reluctantly stranded alongside Sejal in her quest to find the ring. On Sejal’s demand, the two decide to trace back the entire holiday and revisit all those places in hope of finding the ring. As the duo starts retracing the steps, they fall in love with each other amidst constant mushy fights over silly things. Throughout the film, the tagline ‘What you seek is seeking you’ plays as a constant reminder to its viewers.
When it comes to making a romantic film, Imtiaz Ali is a class apart. His films are always realistic and he never focuses on fantasy-romance. One can always relate to Imtiaz Ali’s films as the director always keeps his story real. But, this time, it’s a lengthy, lumbering, baggy and pointless love story.
The first part of the film is pretty interesting with some interesting comic elements. The slow build-up in the first half provides Shah Rukh Khan sufficient time to showcase his typical ‘lover boy’ skills and the ‘King of Romance’ surely gets the viewers’ hopes high as they witness the dimensions of his character. But, alas, the eventful moment doesn’t last long and the second half of the movie proves out to be highly disappointing. Imtiaz Ali has simply dragged the second part of the movie that eventually feels like consuming the same wine served in a different bottle.
However, when it comes to acting the actors have done good job. Anushka Sharma is marvelous. Sharma is no longer the Yash Raj debutante anymore and she lightens up the screen, standing all in her own tower of talent. Over all, she has done justice to her character with almost perfect Gujarati accent. Shah Rukh Khan as Harry is funny and relatable because for once, he’s not playing the over-the-top romantic lover character unlike his other romantic films. The SRK fans will get to see his trademark sense of humor but it’s got a sarcastic edge.
Music is one of the best things that you can expect from an Imtiaz Ali film. And, this film is not an exception. The songs titled ‘Radha‘, ‘Butterfly‘, ‘Beech beech mein’, ‘Safar‘, ‘Hawayein’ have all topped the music charts within weeks of its release. But, when you see them together in the film, the songs simply come and go. They don’t really register unless you go with your lovey-dovey partner and it a let-down too. People have a lot of expectations from the music as well because Ali has always given us some fabulous songs which work by way of telling us more about the story, about the people singing those songs, about their motivations.
Lastly, the frames of this film are really beautiful. Be it the picturesque locations of Prague, Amsterdam and Budapest or the rustic beauty of Punjab, Imtiaz Ali has unfolded the scenic beauty brilliantly through the lens. If only the film had a story substantial enough to hold the construct together and drive it forward, Jab Harry Met Sejal might have been a good watch.
But, before ending let me tell you that if you’re a fan of Anushka and Shah Rukh Khan, you would love Jab Harry Met Sejal. But if you’re a fan of Imtiaz Ali, you will surely yearn for more depth in terms of story and screenplay. So, if you are planning to watch Jab Harry Met Sejal this weekend…go ahead but don’t go in with any expectations and you should have a whale of a time.
“Dude why the hell is she shouting for no reason? Is she PMSing?”, “Why do you need a leave every month? How can you simply fall sick every month?”,”Dude, she is extremely cranky. I think it’s ‘that’ time of the month.”
I am sure, every girl has gone through these questions most of the times in their life, since men fail to understand that “that time of the month”, is called the menstrual cycle. And, the most important thing is that woman are taught not to speak out loud about it as it’s something that needs to be a hush-hush affair.
Periods, is an open secret that everyone is aware of because it’s the first step to bringing a new soul into this world. Women bleed because they have the capacity of holding, nurturing another human being in their womb and then giving birth to the new soul. According to the societal norms (no matter how modern is your society), a woman’s job is to give birth, but then this same society cannot accept the fact of her bleeding every month. Now, that is where the hypocrisy lies. Isn’t it?
Since a girl first gets her period, she is taught to act like a matured person, maintain a certain decency and to act normal. Now the question lies that how can you act normal by bleeding at least 4 days every month? When the pain is enormous and the blood loss is high, how can you expect someone to keep their mouth shut and not to even make the slightest of whispers, why? The society will come to know.
I remember when I first got my periods, my mother had asked me to stay away from my best friend, only because he was a guy. I was asked to be extra careful while wearing a white PT skirt because of the stains it might get. My friend was laughed on by all the boys in the class and shouted upon by a lady teacher only because she had stained her white skirt while playing basket ball. The humiliation was so much for her to take that since that day she has not touched the basket ball yet.
Well the question is very simple. Is it only the girls’ responsibility to maintain the decorum of the society? In a co-education school, the first lesson on reproduction is taught to both the genders isn’t it? Then why do we need to shy away from such a natural thing? Why can’t parents be more open about it with their children since education begins at home? The amount of rapes and molestation is increasing in our society all thanks to this open secrecy. Society blames a woman if she is raped the reason being even she has enjoyed it then how can that be rape? Oh yes! Why don’t we do something then? Let us also try inserting objects in your private parts and claim how come that be rape? Even you received pleasure out of it, isn’t that so?
Yes, during periods a woman or a girl does act cranky because that is when the hormones in the body change. For some, the pain increases so much that even using the toilet becomes a curse. And, mind you this is not once in a while, this is the story every month. That employee who takes leave every month once is because her stomach aches to an extent where she can’t even sit. According to doctors, this is the time when a woman’s body needs maximum rest. But, how can that happen? You are expected to come to work everyday. When you want to ask for a leave, you are asked questions to an extent that you are humiliated and oh at times you also get to listen: “This is so normal. Why are you even creating a fuss about it?”
But, thankfully a few companies are now changing this so called norms. Brands like Nike, have come up with menstrual leaves, where a woman can take a paid or an unpaid leave if she is unable to come to work due to menstruation. The labor laws of Asian countries like Japan, Indonesia, North Korea and Taiwan also state that woman are entitled to paid or unpaid leaves during their menstruation cycle for one or two days. Thankfully, even a Mumbai based company Culture Machine has come up with the first day leave for the woman to help them overcome the pain of periods.
Yes, leave for woman during “those days” is still a controversial topic and can affect their performance and also been seen as sexism. But, why can’t we just take an initiative for it. You never know this might help in improving the organisation in a better way and also save woman from such stupid remarks and comments. Let’s help our girls to be more confident, secured and happy. If, we can’t reduce the pain at least we can try reducing it and not humiliating a woman for the strength she has.