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Photo Courtesy: Neighbourhood Diaries
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Ilish Porbo: A Community Food Festival

22 May 2019

People often associate strong emotions of ‘home and comfort’ to certain kinds of food and food preparations. This stands true for the first generation Bengali migrants living in the Delhi-NCR area. Ilish holds a close place in the heart of every Prabasi (non-resident) Bengali as it evokes memories of their home town and childhood

People often associate strong emotions of ‘home and comfort’ to certain kinds of food and food preparations. This stands true for the first generation Bengali migrants living in the Delhi-NCR area. Each year, during the monsoon season, members of Amraa Shobai, group of Bengali residents from Delhi and NCR, organize the ‘Ilish Porbo’ food festival in Chittaranjan Park (CR Park).

The food festival which serves various home cooked Ilish (a fresh water fish found in the East) dishes, is mostly hosted at the residence of one of the Amaraa Shobai group members in CR Park. Ilish holds a close place in the heart of every Prabasi (non-resident) Bengali as it evokes memories of their home town and childhood.

When asked, what images were evoked when they thought of Ilish, one of the members present replied, “The fish looks very beautiful, it is white and when covered with curd it looks very beautiful. People also like the fish because of its lovely smell. I have been hearing about Ilish since my childhood; how it is great…”

While another member shared, “It is monsoon season and if we don’t find Ilish in this season we fell like the monsoon is unfulfilled. The fish is tasty because it is a fish that swims against the current beginning from the sea and going upstream…”

However, many of the older residents present at the lunch shared with us their disappointment about the changing food culture among the younger generation of Bengalis in the city, how they no longer shared the same connection to traditional and local cuisines as the older generation.

Comments

good read

It is interesting to see the role of food in communities and the disappearance of the younger generation from 'these community building' events, which are very important for the earlier migrants.