As summer sets in(it is particularly harsh in the part of the country I live in), you’ll see the familiar pictures of girls moving with their faces covered with dupatta and holding colourful umbrellas. This picture never fails to amaze me with its mystic appeal and riot of colurs. Then there will be this picture of people lining up for water near the stand posts or water tankers. In rural areas ladies’ going to far off places to fetch water has been a recurring picture.
Summer also brings with it the sweet smell of jasmine and fruits- lots of them, watermelon, mango, guava. At the lazy summer afternoons it has always been a treat to partake of lots of ripe mangos, soaked in water in a balti.
But for that I have to wait a bit as mangos have not ripened at the place where I live.
Langcha of Shaktigarh
There is a place called Shaktigarh, between Kolkata and Burdwan in West Bengal. A non-descript small town, about twenty km from Burdwan, it is known for langcha, a sweetmeat preparation, which tastes somewhat like pantua or gulab jamun and looks like a miniature mace.
This place has umpteen numbers of shops selling langcha. The names of the shops are interesting. Almost all of them have langcha as prefix like Langcha Bhavan, Langcha Kuthi, Langcha Bhaban, Langcha World, Langcha Sagar, Langcha Station, Langcha Hut, Langcha Bazaar, Langcha Mall, etc. Several names begin with the word ‘Asal’ or ‘Adi’, which means original. It indicates the liking of the customers for the shops with years of experience in making this.
There are many stories around the genesis of langcha. One story says, langcha originated in Saktigarh, in the hands of a novice called Khudiram Dutta, who went on to establish Langcha Mahal. The sweet made Saktigarh famous, particularly after a crippled (langra or langcha in Bengali) British officer fell in love with it, or so goes the local lore. There are other stories involving royalties. There are still some stories crediting the invention of langcha to a mistake by a sweetmeat maker.
Whatever may be the truth, the fact remains langcha has given the town quite a leg-up.
If you enjoy browsing the Internet a lot then you’re probably already familiar with the fact that there are literally millions of cat photos on it, to the point that the cat has to be the Internet’s unofficial mascot and most beloved animal. That is interesting because cat is an interesting and utterly ungrateful animal. Human beings have been unsuccessfully trying for the last 10,000 years to domesticate it.
I have a special fascination for this animal. So much so that I have written a novel (Kandhei) with a cat as the protagonist. One of my story collections is also named after a cat (Bidhumukhi).
I am glad to know that there is one lady photographer Felicity Berkleef , who has taken hundreds of photographs of cats.
Tailpiece 1: Technology Update
There is a device in market which converts your ‘thoughts’ into ‘Speech’.
It is called ‘Alcohol’
There is another device which converts your ‘Speech’ into ‘Silence’.
It is called ‘WIFE’
There is yet another device which converts your Fake ‘forwards’ into ‘Belief’.
It is called ‘whatsapp’.
Tailpiece 2: Deer is dangerous
Deer is the most dangerous animal of the earth. In tretaya, it has made life difficult for Shree Ram. In Kaliyug it has made life difficult for Salman.
Mrinal Chatterjee, journalist-turned media academician lives in Dhenkanal, a Central Odisha district HQ town. English translation of his Odia novel Yamraj Number 5003 has just been published. [email protected]