'Maachh brought me close to Maa'

'Maachh brought me close to Maa'

My mother-in-law never really did approve of me, even before I got married to my husband. It was weird in a way because we rarely got a chance to interact with each other.

I could only turn to my imagination for reasons as to why there would be any differences between us, if any at all.

Whenever my husband would ask his parents to come over, there always seemed to be a perennial flow of excuses that led to my father-in-law having to politely decline our invitations.

It always left me pondering because my father-in-law and I shared a bond which I believed was jocund and friendlyto say the least.

Feeling helpless, I confided in my husband one evening. He wiped the solemn tear off my cheek and went out to the market immediately, returning about half an hour later with a big Hilsa.

I had never cooked this fish nor did I eat it very often, primarily because of my inability to cook it, I guess. He proceeded to teach me how to clean the fish, and then subsequently prepare it and I was glad he did, because it took my mind off other things, although I had no idea as to why he had gotten a Hilsa out of the blue in the first place.

Once cooked, we ate it too, with a sizeable amount left over after we were done. The next day I woke to find the right side of my bed empty.

He had probably left for work, early again. What wasn’t empty was my cellphone’s inbox that had a solitary message from Maa. It read “Bouma, tomaar haat er Illish kheye mon bhore gelo.

Robibaar aashchhi. Baaniye raakhbe toh?” (Darling daughter, the Hilsa you cooked engulfed my heart with joy.

I will be coming on Sunday. You will keep some for me, wont you?). We have been the best of friends since.
As told to A. Ayush Chatterjee by Smita Chakroborty

Serves 4
Ingredients: Hilsa (Ilish): 6 pieces
Mustard seed (sarson):
2 tablespoons
Poppy seed (posto):
2 tablespoons
Green chilli
(kacha lanka): 6/7
Mustard oil (sarson tel):         3 tablespoon
Turmeric powder(Haluder guro):
3 piches
Salt to taste

Make a paste of mustard and poppy seeds along with 2 /3 chillies. Wash
the fish pieces well, take them in a shallow microwave bowl.

Add salt, turmeric powder to the mustard and poppy paste. Mix the paste to the fish well and pour the oil over it, also add the remaining chillies.

Microwave for 5 / 6 minutes at 800watts (microwave high), in between check whether the fish has become soft and the mustard smell is coming out or not.
Serve hot with rice,
and enjoy this great