Pujo, Inktober and Biryani

Pujo 2020 is downright weird. It is my first pujo away from home and family, and from what I hear from people back home, the vibe isn’t the same. The situation is dire, and under current circumstances, the best thing to do is stay at home and keep our fingers crossed that the next year won’t be the same.

Pujo 2019 coincided with my first article on Bengali food, a nerdy dissection of the glorious kosha mangsho (check it out here). This year, we’ve had an ongoing series of Bengali articles during Pujo season. The pièce de résistance of the series will deal with a dish that is near and dear to my heart, and the heart of Bengalis everywhere. The almighty Kolkata biryani.

Now I know today is Ashtami, and an article on one of the meatiest dishes of Kolkata seems rather inappropriate on a day when most Bengalis maintain a strictly vegetarian diet. You could, infact, go ahead and give the bhog article another read, the one I posted during Saraswati Puja all the way back in January this year (check it out here). The Biryani post will have to wait till tomorrow, since Nabami seems to me the perfect day for a biryani article anyway.

Today, let’s focus instead on a great month-long worldwide event. In 2009, Jake Parker created the concept of Inktober to “improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits”. A prompt word is assigned for every day of the month, and artists worldwide produce artworks in ink based on it. The popularity spread worldwide and now every October the Internet is inundated with incredible artworks by budding artists.

In Inktober 2019, I collaborated with an incredibly talented junior, Souvik Das, on an article about cheesecake and the art of deconstruction. This year, he graciously agreed to collaborate me again, despite his hectic schedule of first year residency, to come up with a magnificent digital artwork to accompany my article.

In the center is the glorious plate of biryani, chicken not mutton, which I think makes it more visually appealing. It is surrounded by three of biryani’s commonest allies: chaap, raita and firni. It is fringed by an array of spices and aromatics, all of which come together to create the glorious plate of ambrosia that is the biryani. The detailing in the artwork perfectly captures the complexity of the dish itself. Do check out some of Souvik aka Art O’ Nerd’s other marvellous creations on Instagram. https://instagram.com/artonerd?igshid=9auensoi64mw

Another amazingly talented junior has also joined in the Inktober fever. Neeladri Dawn’s photography is absolutely mind-blowing, and his calligraphy skills are at par. He also has a rather cheeky sense of humour, so I thought it would be an interesting idea to ask him to pen a sentence that captures his artistry as well as his humour.

Undoubtedly the most viral meme of Pujo 2020 is the young boy going “O ma go turu love”. If you haven’t seen it yet, just do it already. Why not combine a viral meme trend with a beautiful quote on biryani, penned down with elegance, I thought. And I’ll have to say, I’m incredibly pleased with the end-result. Check out some of Neeladri’s other works on Pathologically Introvert’s Instagram page. https://instagram.com/pathologically_introvert?igshid=g6yc300cijhy

A huge shoutout to both Souvik and Neeladri for their commendable contributions to my humble blog post. Do tune in tomorrow for the main event, a long-winded ode to a dish that is near and dear to our hearts, the epitome of heaven on a plate.

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