Bael... Wood Apple or Stone Apple is a regular fruit among us during summers. We do not eat it as a fruit but prepare a drink with it during summer. We usually add milk or yogurt to it as a taste enhancer. At times we have it with water and sugar too. Bael leaves are an integral part of our lives as we need them for any offering to God along with flowers. Bael is specially required as an offering to Lord Shiva.... during Shivaratri or Neel Shashti. We offer the fruit to God, thereafter break the fast preparing a drink with it.
My father-in-law used to prepare this drink so beautifully and with so much of patience. My mother would say .... look at your father .... he does not even know what is going on in the kitchen. My answer had always been the same... every person is different. My father blatantly said I am not interested in any household work, after office his areas of interest were friends, chatting, watching sports channel on television and sleeping... he loved the last activity most... haha... and that disturbed my mom... she been a superbly active and energetic lady all through her life. Daddy never took interest in household works neither did he have any complaints. He never questioned mom how many saree she bought or what she is giving to whom. After my brother's marriage, my mom told my sis-in-law not to cut her hair for a year. My daddy said will you stop your son from cutting his hair for a year? No wonder why my sis-in-law loved him so much... he knew how to win hearts and never took help of any tricks in the process. So it does not matter if he had never learnt to change our nappy.
I never took my mom's complaints seriously... just after lodging a complaint... she would sit and prepare chirey-murir moya.... narkel naru and all kinds of food for my daddy. On the contrast, my truest to the sense atheist paa-in-law had been a very homely person. His life had been dedicated to his family and the Communist Party of India of which he was an active and working member. A diligent and energetic person that he had been.... it is hard to see him turning onto an inactive one... he never had been a sitting in the couch idle and watching television all day long like his wife. I have seen him polishing his kid's shoes, packing their lunch boxes even when they were in high school. He did a lot for me too. His son and daughter is just like him... diligent. My senior's sister... gave me the necessary emotional support I needed, even took leave from office for my dad. She liked him a lot, a fan kind of and used to say 'Mesho' looks so good in those red, yellow, green tees. She is as responsible as her brother and father.
Coming to my parent's and brother's choice of colours, I think they are colour blind. They cannot think beyond red mainly... green... yellow.... orange too. I give in to their choice while buying for them. It feels sad to hear mom saying... I have to give away all my red sarees. As a good daughter I could not tell her wear red mani.... it does not matter... my grandma is alive... she will not agree. Last February when they visited Puri... she got a cream and red Sambalpuri saree for herself... she gifted me that... a gift so hard to accept. I do not agree to many of our rituals but accept them. On a lighter note... back in 2013...... my parents visited the island. As they landed in the airport... I could see my seventy year old daddy at far wearing a shocking red T-shirt. I told my senior I am going home, you bring them with you. So beautiful were those days.... how much I wished to bring them one more time coming december. I was planning a low key celebration of their Golden Jubilee Anniversary in 2019. I have decided not to plan anything in advance anymore. We should live one day at a time.
At the moment I feel like sitting quiet at the corner of my couch and get lost in all the yesteryear memories. The quiet and calm me wishes to get calmer and be left alone. All my readers must be wondering why a food blogger writes so much about her life instead of food. As I always say had I been equipped with proper vocabulary and adequate knowledge, you would have seen me in a different role..... food would have been a small part of it. Last week I was gently caressing his books... from Rabindra Rachanaboli to Maxim Gorky to Chekov. The very average student that I had been .... whatever little I can produce is for my dad who got me books and lots of. While cleaning his room... I found an earphone.... sis-in-law says of late he was listening to yesteryear Bengali singer 'Sandhya Mukherjee' a lot. From Paul Robson to Pete Segeer to Sandya Mukherjee and yes his mobile ringtone was of a Katrina-Akshay Kumar movie.... Thats my brother's work for sure. One of my dearest, closest of buddies Chandrayee Dasgupta constantly says..... S only remember the happy moments you have spent with him... you will feel good. Whenever I am tensed... I call her and eat up her head. Today happens to be Tagore's birthday... I could not arrange few words to pay him homage... my friends did. Tomorrow is Buddha Poornima... I have special prayer at home as usual.... in addition I will pray for my dad.
Coming to Bael er Pana or Shorbot, we had it regularly during summers. Since my father need not be like others... my mother used to prepare it for us. During Shivratri or Neel Shashti, I used to prepare it for mom. My maternal grandparent's home had a bael fruit tree.... I was too scared of it as they say ghosts live in bael tree. Whatever it is.... the tree bores very healthy fruits that helps in digestion. We have been benefitted a number of ways drinking it. It is done either adding milk or yogurt among the Bengalis. We have it adding water too but it tastes bland. I always loved it with yogurt, so will share that recipe. I have tried to do it as perfectly as my paa-in-law though I lack his patience. This is otherwise a very easy recipe which we will do together.
Bael / Wood Apple : 1big
Plain Yogurt : 1medium cup
Sugar : 2tbsp
Lemon Juice: 2tbsp
Water : 1big cup
Ice Cube : 2 for each glass
Take a look at the bael fruit / Wood Apple / Stone Apple.
Hit it on a hard surface one or two times to break.
Scoop out the flesh on a deep bottomed vessel. Add little water and squeeze and keep on doing that for 2-3 minutes.
Take a strainer. Put the flesh on it and rub.
The remains will stay. We get a nice, smooth puree.
Now pour the puree into a mixer. Add water, sugar and the plain yogurt. Pulse for 2 minutes.
Pour onto glasses. Add few drops of lemon juice and 2 ice cubes in each glass. Serve chilled.