Sukanya tells us about the fall, a season that she loves. In North America, Bengalis celebrate Durga Puja during the fall. She recounts a real life incident that happened a few years back, during the fall. Read what happened when a lady filled a latex glove with lentil (daal, in Bengali), in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Today, I want to tell a story about this woman. It happened in the month of fall. When the weather was at its best. Winter was approaching, but it wasn’t miserably cold yet. The falling leaves brought forth a touch of despondency, but happiness was not too far away. Maybe it was just me – I love fall. I love the idea of an end.
Fall is kind of an end. End of summer. I love the smell of the coming winter (don’t get me wrong, I do not like it too cold). I love the fact that after winter comes spring. Okay, I just love fall. And it is during these months, the Bengalis celebrate their much loved Durga Pujo.
A festivity marked with mirth, joy and laughter. Durga Pujo drags on (read celebrated) for five days…and this kind of dragging is not the bad kind. We, Bengalis, want it to drag on and on, and not halt. And added to the joyous aspect, there is the culinary part. Bengalis love to eat. A large amount of food as bhog (food offered to the gods) is cooked to feed a big crowd.
Now during autumn, North American Bengalis get busy, preparing for the Pujo. Women pull out their lovely sarees, their resplendent jewellery and they hang around. Laughing, gossiping. The men do the same. This woman I am going to talk about, did the same. She dressed up lovely, paraded her beautiful clothes and then when it was time to return home, she entered the community kitchen. Afternoon meal was done, and leftovers could be taken home. How can you take the leftovers, if one does not have container. So she glanced around and saw some latex gloves lying. They are pretty durable. So she filled the gloves with Bengali styled cooked veggies. She filled it with the sweet and sour chutney. And she filled it with the yellow liquid lentils. Lentils, we call them ‘daal’ in our language.
So this particular glove was filled with daal. As she poured more daal, the glove expanded. The fingers got plumper, started resembling a chubby baby’s hand. The palm looked soft, squeezable. The limp glove now looked yellow and huge. What she was not aware of was that there was a tiny tear in the bottom of the glove near its finger tips. As she tied a knot at the top, the tear remained. She walked out, the glove dangling from her fingers. And from the torn finger of the glove, daal dripped. One drop after the other fell on the concrete, Hansel and Gretel style.
And behind her was walking this other beautiful woman, draped in her gorgeous silk saree and high heels. Her heels and the daal made contact. What a slippery event that was. She slithered and slid on the hard concrete and fell with a loud thud. While she was writhing in agony, the lady holding the daal filled dripping glove walked on. Oblivious of the recent calamity.
I still love fall…I love the falling leaves.
©Sukanya Juno Biswas
Pix from the Net.
Sukanya Juno Biswas grew up in Kolkata, India. She did MA in English from Calcutta University. She loves books, Bob Dylan, Baez and Boxer dogs. When she gets time away from two human kids and two animals, she writes. A complete realist, off and on romantic, an atheist – in the present climate of uncertainty, would have loved a perfect world, though aware it’s not possible. She has been living in Texas for last 17 years.