“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings…
These are some of my favorite things”
– Sound of Music
From the Himsagar to the Nolen Gur, from Christmas to Poila Baishak, from New year to Jamai Shasthi, we celebrate every festival.
If it’s Ilish then kya baat..! This ‘queen of the taste’ is an accomplishment, its elegance, its savoir-faire. In every Bengali household, especially in monsoon, every Bengali father, turn themselves into an accomplished fish buyer (even mothers too).
Pro tip how to buy the Best of the Best:
Bengalis are the perfect fish-mongers. There is a meticulous way of identifying a good fish. Poking the Pet(stomach), opening the Kanko (gills) for checking the redness is a must. It is our tradition and one can’t deny that it is a passionate affair.
But have you looked carefully and noticed that the shiny silver iridescent color fish is more like a Bride. One who is decked up with a gold nose pin, smeared with vermillion and smirk like a new bride. Ilish is not just an ’emotion’ for us, it represents culture, art, and novels too.
When Manik Bandyopadhyay wrote the epic ‘Padma Nodir Majhi’, which later got adapted to screen by Gautam Ghosh, it was about illish and the boatman’s life which revolves around how lives shape up and the connection between the fish and boatman.
As a Bengali poet once said, you have to come to Bengal to get truly obsess over the Ilish for the rest of their lives. It is a good idea to try it once, and decide for yourself!