September 27, 2017

বড়ে গোলাম



     "The old fashioned cook, dressed in a clean white dhoti, brought us four gleaming silver thalis one by one.  Each had seven small silver bowls containing an assortment of dishes, all swimming in thin sauces of different hues - yoghurt white, spinach green, lentil yellow, potato brown, squash beige, beetroot red, and so on. The maestro scowled at the unfamiliar food and lowered the large and rather shapeless thumb of his right hand into each bowl in turn, hoping against hope that it would encounter a piece of meat on a bone. When the thumb met no resistance and sank clean to the bottom of each bowl, right through the thin gravies, the horrible truth dawned on him. He was trapped in a puritanical vegetarian household and there were no prospects of getting meat. That he was an honoured guest here was no consolation. 

     When the cook came in with freshly fried porous, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan could not help saying witheringly in his native Punjabi, ‘So you decided to cook every tree and every bush you could lay your hands on!’ Fortunately, the poor man could not understand a word that was being said to him. I got the general drift and was appalled at the terrible blunder that had resulted in such a glaring mismatch between guest and host. 

     I was the person in charge, so the maestro turned to me, pushing the thali roughly away. ’Such music as mine, and this food?’ he thundered in a shocked tone. ‘The truth is I can’t manage with this at all. I’m going to cook my own dinner. I’ll make a list of what I need. It’s impossible for me to sing without proper nourishment. Even when we sit down to practise at home, a big pot of good food is always at hand, and we dig into it regularly to keep up our strength. Somebody told me that every note I sing has the aroma of kababs. Do you think I can sing the way I do if I have to feed on grasses swimming in fluids of various kinds?’ 

     I was sure my father would think I had made some horrible mistake when we did not arrive even six hours after we were expected. The disciples had set off with a long shopping list that featured six broiler chickens, a kilo of khoya of solidified whole milk, a kilo of almonds, a tin of clarified butter, fifteen different spices, and a stack of tandoori rotis. A charcoal fire was lit and a portable stove set up in the open courtyard because no meat of any kind was allowed in the family kitchen. Full-scale cooking operations started at around nine with great enthusiasm and expertise and a delicious, one-dish meal was triumphantly produced within two hours. The maestro heaped vast quantities on to a china plate since the metal thalis were not available for this kind of depraved eating. Nor was any space inside the house, so the dinner took place outdoors and was all the more enjoyable for that. Three or four hearty belches announced the end of this phase of the proceedings and we finally set off for the site of the concerts." 

                                                                          ---Sheila Dhar, Raga’n Josh


18 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha!!!! The whole book is littered with such gems!

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  2. আমার মতো ডেডিকেটেড কার্নিভোরের কানে যেন অমৃতবর্ষণ হলো l যদিও কুক্কুটমাংসকে মাননীয় মাংস ভাবতে মোটেও ভালোবাসি না l

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    1. গল্পটা সত্যি ভালো, সন্ময়। আশা রাখি রসিক নিরামিষাশীরাও উপভোগ করবেন।

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  3. Replies
    1. এই বইটা আমার এ বছরের পড়া অন্যতম সেরা বই, কাকলি। প্রাণ খুলে রেকমেন্ড করলাম।

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  4. Bah, thank you! siggir kinchi tahole. Amar ebochorer pora shrestho boi hochhe Nabakumar Bosu-r 'Srimoyi Ma' - Sarada mar opore lekha anyonyo ekta boi.

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    1. নবকুমারের বইটা হাতে পেলে নিশ্চয় পড়ব, কাকলি। থ্যাংক ইউ।

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  5. Bade ghulam Ali r audition deoar golpo ta khub bhalo chhilo. Desh a porechhilam bodhhoy. ei boi ta porte hobe

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    1. বড়ে গোলামের রেডিওসংক্রান্ত আতংকের কথা এ বইতেও আছে, শিবেন্দু। আমি জানি না আপনি ওই গল্পগুলোর কথাই বলছেন কি না। রাগ'ন জোশ নিঃসন্দেহে পড়ার মতো বই।

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    2. Ni:sondehe. Khali ber korte hobe kar kachhe achhe. Apni jemon on principle boi dhar den na, Ami Abar on principle boi dhar na niye ...:)
      Atonko to noy, ulto golpo. Ekhon Mone hochche desh a Tarunkumar bhaduri (Jaya bhaduri r baba) r lekha Tay na, bodhhoy majlish ba kudrat ... ei chhilo.
      Radio y audition deoar niyom howay sab ustaad eksathe boycot korlen. A-grade kono usraaad to dur, E F er beshi grade keu jara kono class a panni tarao du tin maaas radio y gan na. Bade ghulam Ali to khobor rakhten na. Hathat ekdin sakale jilipi tilipi kheye furti howay mathay elo je bahut din radio mein gaaya nahi. Shishyo Ra to kichhutei jete debe na. Uni o jaben. She's ekjon byapar ta bhenge bollo. Tokhon uni ektu bhebe ja bolechhilen tar mane daray are Bhai, Ami jokhon majlish a gaichhi, tokhon to she's row paanwala rickshawwala o Amar audition nichche. ..... Ei jatiyo kichu Gyan bitoron kore uni prothom ei map er shilpi jini audition diye pakka 2-3 ghontar ekta program korechhilen



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    3. বাঃ, এই গল্পটা তো দারুণ সুন্দর, শিবেন্দু। শোনানোর জন্য অনেক থ্যাংক ইউ।

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  6. Durdanto..Bhison bhalo laglo ..Apurbo !! :)

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    Replies
    1. এই বইটা পড়, তিন্নি।

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  7. Replies
    1. একমত, অরিজিত।

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  8. Apni nischoi "Kudrat Rangi-Birangi" porechen. Sekhane-o ei ghotona-r ingit dewa ache. Ek i lekhok (Kumarprasad Mukhopadhaya) er lekha "Majlish" bole ekta boi ache. Seta te Sheila Dhar er kotha bole ache. Tini-i possibly ei boi tar lekhika. Majlish boi ta no porle, pore naben, prochur ananda paben.

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    Replies
    1. ঠিকই বলেছেন, ঘনাদা, কুদরত রঙ্গিবিরঙ্গী -তে এই ঘটনাগুলোর অনেকগুলোরই আভাস আছে, কিন্তু শীলা ধরের লেখার গুণেই হোক, বা ঘটনাগুলো তাঁর নিজের চোখে দেখার জন্যই হোক, রাগ'ন জোশ-এ ওই এক গল্পই অনেক বেশি রঙিন, প্রাণবন্ত। মজলিশ-এর খোঁজে থাকলাম, পেলেই পড়ে ফেলব। খবর দেওয়ার জন্য অনেক ধন্যবাদ।

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