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Archive for January 22nd, 2019

৯> নদী নিরবধি

For countless generations, long before they earned the sobriquet “human”, mankind had been seeking two non-essential dreams: something to make their daily fare tastier, and something to forget all worries and pains.

One ingredient of the first kind was sea salt, not particularly hard to find if one lived close to the sea, but logistically difficult if one lived deep inland.

The second ingredient of the first kind was sweetness, found aplenty in most fruits but never in a concentrated form for transportation and storage for future use. Our lot, the Bengal Kaivartas, dabbled in agriculturequitw a lot and knew about the versatility of grass. Our staples— rice and wheat were from grass stocks. In due time we also found a special bamboo-like grass that was full of a sweet juice. We called it gonna. The Aryans began calling it ikshu. Our mechanically minded cousins soon made a contraption of wood and a wee bit of brass that could crush and wring out the sweet juice of Ganga sticks. It was child’s play to get sugar candy, khand sari, the active ingredient of sweetness that fitted our bill. Long before we got sugar we dabbled with bees’ honey and certain fruit juices that would spoil naturally under ambient conditions to a strong-smelling liquid. It was pleasantly intoxicating. Here too, the active ingredient cohol could be concentrated by simple distillation.The mead( মাধ্বী) fermented and distilled from honey (মধু) was similar and a great favourite of the Aryans. We called the crystalline ingredient, brown in colour that we got from sugar cane juice gud(গুড)। the consistency varied between runny liquid to solid.The name of these parts of peninsular India was gauda (গৌড়), the word derived from gud. We made an excellent cohol from sugar cane juice. Some would complain, that fermented grape juice tastes better but where would we find them?

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