Here is a book that makes me believe that I’m not wrong if I say food could be one’s foundation for strengthening relationships – family , marriage or otherwise. This book is a proof for the saying, “One can never forget their roots”
I would deflect from the fact that I’m more of every part of India rather than a Bengali. But I always craved to bring the Bangali within me. This feeling was long forlorn and dusted in the pile of “one day… “ dreams. As a child, it never mattered to me, what I was or how much I was intertwined through the distinct variation of cultures. I must admit, maturity and understanding grows with age. I have slowly started to spread my hands to catch upon the uncaught layers of my existence. I’m slowly trying to make firm interactions with my fondest memories in the land, with its people and culture through various means. And, oh god the more I indulge in being a bangali the more I slip into the rich silky textures of warmth, familiarity and homeliness.
With this feeling kept in mind, I picked up ‘Those Delicious Letters’ by Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta during the time of Poila Boishakh, Noboborsho as I was sure it couldn’t get more Bangali than this. Perhaps I was eyeing on this gorgeous book for a long time and I couldn’t really resist buying it one fine day.
Those Delicious Letters is a warm read with the same sweet feeling of homecoming and surrounded by love, care and good food originated from the home land. You feel a tinge of longing to see your grandmother, have a moment with her as you read the book. Here letters of love and recipes are delivered from a grandmother, wrongly addressed to Shubha. Didan, is our typical grandmother loving , caring, concerned and nurturing her children till her last breath. Didan’s letters are filled with stories and snippets from her life and the raw love of Dadu and herself. But for Shubha, the protagonist, its all wrong and mistaken. She feels like she hasn’t lived her life. Shubha has a pretty offbeat life- not the worst but not the best life she imagines. She has to handle beautiful teens girls, Piyu and Riya as her daughters. But Shubha isn’t the Bangali bou we imagine, she can’t cook, pretty modern, trying to live a good life in the US.
These letters bring in freshness in Shubha’s life. She feels nostalgic and parallely a pang of past memories and the city carries. Shubha ‘s life is fragranced with the smell of rustic Bengali ingredients and she finds herself passionate for the art of cooking. Later, Shubha feels grateful for the letters. Amidst the struggles in her publishing house, Shubha finds solace in Didan’s letters and slowly we sense a changed Shubha. A story that warms your heart and respites your inner native longing. Must read!
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