The sound of dhaki, sky changing it’s colour and wearing the cloudscape and the smell of durgapuja in the air. Let’s call them Mr Moha and Mrs Mushkil. Age has got upon them, in all senses. Maturity had replaced youth and small talk (or rather just sitting together) had replaced the madness. And, after a couple of decades of forced marriage and pseudo-happy social life, social media had brought them closer in the city of joy, and allowed them to find their own moments of joy ….. This will be their story during Durgapuja 2017 and their solace.
Shasthi: day 4
This year they promised to themselves that it’ll be a staycation. They were fed up of lying to their respective partners and this time (officially), they were on their office trips. It was the puja package with Novotel new town. The room along with a long facility list was provided to them on the booking time itself and at 6999++ per room including dinner and an array of discounts, it was a steal. And basically, some time was needed to runaway from the hustle and bustle of their daily chores. They wanted nobody to call them by their names and basically to roam around in the city like their prime days, where world meant just them and nobody else blurred out. They checked in on sasthi itself in the afternoon. Dinner at the coffee shop here was part of the package, but they chose the thali at 1600+ tax per person at studio. She was kinda blushing, so was he, but men will be men and he had to act strong. After a long time, they fed each other ….. And God laughed from above.
Saptami: day 3
They avoided the complementary hotel breakfast and having studied in South Kolkata, the deadly combination of radhaballavi from mrityunjoy and langcha from srihari mistanna bhandar was all they could think off. And after a good loving sleep, the long 1 hour drive to the southern part of the city of joy seemed to cheer them up (You can read the detailed post about Kachori here ).
During their youth, having a full square meat at peerless inn hotel (rather aaheli) seemed to be out of their reach and this time, he promised her that. So the set thali paired with couple of dishes from a la carte menu worked for them. Reservation was done beforehand and so, service was a breeze. Being probably the first Bengali fine dining restaurant in the city, aaheli surely knew it’s job and while the next stop was supposed to be the hotel again.
But, how could they miss packing a few kathi rolls for the dinner ? It used to make them happy then and today while pairing with few happy pegs of absolut vodka and lime cordial, it was a killer combo. And moreover, they wanted to dodge the crowd and move to their love-nest (though temporary) ASAP.
Astami: day 2
He was a kachori guy and with her hourglass shape getting heavier in the proper places , even she started skipping her diet. “What the hell and how much damage a few of those teeny weeny kachoris can do”- they told themselves and in the manicktola area, nandalal and gitika seemed to call them…… After all, their first ever kiss (no matter how messy affair it was) was in a yellow cab safely parked in one the nearby lanes. And, ashtami it was.
His only friend and a part from his “brotherhood” had already invited them over lunch at his home. That guy was a bachelor and a fantastic cook. And anyhow, ashtami means khichuri and bhaja bhog. And after those endless hours of pulling each other’s leg and few pegs of gin (off course infused with crushed lemon and slit green chillies) , all they could think off was the hotel bed. Fire was building up inside them and it was a foolishness to tame it.
Nabami: day 1
During his last visit in city, he had heard of the legendary mughlai breakfast in Shiraz golden hotel and with the new maa flyover around, it was a matter of just 40 min drive from their hotel to reach mullikbazar in that nabami morning. Let’s not get into those details on how her hands got dirty while dipping the roti in the paya gravy, nor how badly he wanted to lick the damn gravy off her hand, the pani-kum Irani chai (and so different it was from the original non-milky pudina flavored one) was the only one to witness the drama.
When she was just a kid and a small kid, she remembered herself being taken by her father to The Taj Bengal during Christmas and, she wanted him to take her there. “damn woman, your wish is my command” murmured he as they entered The Chinoiserie for a welcome break from the regular puja meals. It was his first time there and like an idiot, he asked for suggestion from the server. Crackling spinach and baby pork ribs with sweet chilly sauce, followed by the egg wrapped rice and guju chicken turned out to be the comfort food for them while the tables gave them enough privacy for a long-drawn footsie. The staycation was coming to an end fast and time was against them, so every moment should be something worth remembering. Though they ate very less and eyes did most of the talking, he loved to see her putting the chef’s special kimchi put in on her tongue and shivering in pleasure (just like that teen a couple of decades back).
Dasami: day 0
They woke up late on dasami. The embrace was such tight, they were actually sweating in the AC room. And after a shower together , they finally checked out of the hotel. The final meal together had to be a grand one, and while he saved for this, none other than The Oberoi grand could be the place. Gharana was transformed into one grand festive venue and so was the menu. Other than putting in some 100 items, the whole service delivery was broken into several sub-groups and while they were seated (off course the seat was reserved well. In advance), few items we’re waiting for them on the table (surprisingly piping hot). Among other dishes, he liked the gondhoraj sorbet the most (after all, how many places can make a good sorbet in town) and she liked the kosha mangsho (or the primitive strong taste of it paired with the basanti pulao). The in-house sweet spread was something they could hardly manage (sugar problems are bound to come with age) but loved the chhena jilipi. It was their love from youth, though they’ve never tasted the same a a five star property. and after anither tight embrace, they parted. Respective cabs we’re waiting to take them …..
Though she was keen on visiting Al Fresco , Lalit great eastern on any of the days for their grand buffet spread (@2400++ pp), time was against them and also, certain things are to be kept for some later date. Even Stadel Salt Lake festive buffet (@1415/- AI) was missed this time, but the days were numbered and events were aplenty.
Whatever they’re doing , is wrong but being a sinner once, while playing the perfect spouse for the whole year was a choice they’ve made and next durgapuja was a year away.
Maa aschhen ……
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Have a great festive season ahead!
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