This Pahela Baishakh's weather forecast is cloudy with a light summer breeze whooshing past you; the perfect weather to be outdoors all day from the crack of dawn till the late hours of the night.
Well, it most certainly is a figment of my imagination, because the harsh reality at ground zero is nothing even remotely that. Things have altered in such a topsy-turvy way that it's hard to fathom.
This year, the idea should be to devise exciting ways to celebrate the first day of the Bangla calendar from the safety of your home, amid all the pandemic pandemonium around us all over the world.
Think of this year as Mother Nature reminding us that we should fall back on all our excesses. Baishakh amid Covid-19 should be simple, clean and with immediate family only. This is a stark contrast to how we usually are. You see, we Bengalis are a riotous kind, name an occasion — be it the first day of spring, Valentine's, Independence Day, Pahela Baishakh — we are boisterously on the road, making an unruly chaos of everything.
Dressed in a crisp red Tangail taant, with a small off-white border spun in matte gold thread, matching glass bangles, a simple flat slipper and lots of beli on your half-done bun, you get ready to brave the Baishakhi sun for a day of merrymaking on your rooftop or alcove. Dress la familia with equal fervour, and after a hurried light breakfast of a bowl of water-soaked flat rice laced with sweet yoghurt, or a heavy one of oil-free paratha, niramish and beef bhuna, you decorate a room in Baishakhi colours and concoct a make-shift mela for your children, with homemade narus, muralis, sweet tea, paper dolls, and toys in colourful papers.
Arrange a simple deshi lunch for two or four. Of course, the bhorta platter will not boast 40 items, but at least it can have four assorted ones of shrimps with young gourd leaves, boiled lentil mashed with mustard oil and green chillies, with light fish gravy, thick daal and a steaming pot of rice made with chinigura grains only.
Tea time can be enjoyed with homemade goodies of salted nimkis or muralis and potato croquets. For a change, watching an old Bangla cinema like 'Sharang Bou,' 'Golapi ekhon Train e' or the famous 'Bondini' of Babita can up the fun factor. You can also try the new West Bengal movies if you like. Listening to old Razzak-Kobori film songs can be equally pleasurable for a change.
And you know what else can be fun? Reading Star Lifestyle; try to cook mouth-watering dishes from many of our recipes, and above all, stay inside, stay safe and stay clean.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Food prepared by Shamiun Ahmed