Drift off into the late

It’s been an oddball week.

Large snowflakes drifted past our window; the joke’s on you, Spring. Chotto-Ma’s skin was burning hot, her fever left us all yesterday. The snow too melted yesterday.  I have a good feeling about the long weekend, unless I’m run over by an Easter Bunny.

Amidst insolent snow, and strips of wet cloth to calm a fever, a few good things slipped in still:

I read some William Trevor. His stories are so warm and wise, they never fail me. They walk and waltz from irreverence to scathing humour to quiet despair, but lightly like snow. That’s what his stories are like – frozen, splintered flakes falling on your eyes and nose, each one a different pattern, each one melting at a touch.

The book has his portrait on the cover; his face is kind, and crumpled like an unmade bed. It made me want to  take out my pencils and sketch; I haven’t sketched in years, but I thought I’d try.

Chotto-Ma saw me drawing, and got herself a sheet of paper. Her William Trevor took all of  six seconds, and one, cursory glance at the book cover.


This week, D took out his guitar, and played after a long time. One of my strongest and first memories of our time together, is of D playing the guitar, and me sitting on his old, single bed hugging my knees and swaying to the music. That was seventeen years ago, but it feels just the same. Last night, he sat on the bed and played, and he played me to sleep. There isn’t a better way to drift off into the late.

Apart from that, we ate well to make up for dying daffodils and a lack of Spring. I cooked Biryani, which is a slow-cooked pot of lamb (or chicken), potatoes and long-grained rice. It smells of saffron, rose water and spices dealt with a gentle hand. There are many versions of this dish, and in different parts of India, Biryani takes on a different avatar, much like its gods. But in Calcutta, the version that’s worshipped comes from the Nawabs of Lucknow. It’s a subtler Biryani with pale strands of rice flecked with the gold from the saffron, and not a fried onion in sight.

I made Malpoa too. Bengali Malpoa, with a touch of aniseed. Some we ate crisp and hot, the rest we dipped in a light sugar syrup and left to soak. It’s my favourite sweet in the whole world.

I’ll write recipes another day. It’s time to pick up a little girl from Nursery. Sweet ‘spring’, happy Holi, and a lovely Easter weekend to you all.

16 thoughts on “Drift off into the late

  1. Have a beautiful wonderful weekend! I hope you sketch some more. you have a real talent. I find it hard to find time. I love to paint as well.
    It's a long weekend and it's much anticipated in our household. There's a lot to cook on the list and now it'll be incomplete without biriyani and malpoa. Happens every time you talk about it…

  2. Ekhane aasho for a trip! It's sunny and never snows! I am glad your chotto ma is feeling better now. Do tell her that I love her art.

    and Oh that malpoa is happening in my kitchen too 🙂

  3. Debjani, I'd love to see your paintings some day. Maybe you'll find some free time lying around sometime soon 🙂
    Have a lovely long weekend. I'm sure the good food has started cooking already! xx

  4. Chotto-Ma is an inspired artist like her parents. Thank you for sharing this little glimpse into your lives.

  5. Pia, your little one is going to one talented child! My kids also had to endure the damned flu over the last month, with some chicken pox thrown in too!! Wow, those malpuas make my mouth water! You are going to make some for us, when we meet next? 😉

  6. Done deal, Uma. Malpoa, the next time we meet 🙂
    Well, at least you're over with the chicken pox once and for all! Your Sardinia album is just beautiful – all of you look like you're having the greatest time. It made me hanker for the sun even more!

  7. Did you see the food album on my FB page ? Look in my albums..Totally indulged in some of the best italian food ever in Sardinia !!

  8. such easy writing Pia. It overwhelms me and it makes me feel so warm and cozy. You sketch brilliantly as well. Is there anything you can't do?
    Chotto-ma's sketch is fantastic. She's clearly taken after you.

  9. Anita, making you feel warm and cosy amidst snowy pictures is more than I can ask for 🙂 Thank you, always, for writing in. I remember you telling me about a trip to London this year. I hope you haven't come and gone?

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