I did not know how to cook Pulao. I tried it several times but failed to get its actual taste. When you will learn some thing new to cook, then the taster should be also a good one. But my husband is not a good taster. He generally compromises with my cooking!!!! If I forgot to add salt to the Daal, still he would not complain any thing, rather he would mix some salt to it and take the meal nicely. He is keeping himself a bit cool with the meals, either it is a very heavy diet or the simplest one.
That’s why, my Pulao did not become good after several attempts…every time, though I got the theoretical classes from many experts. But this time, I have learnt it from my sister and even cooked almost Pulao at Guwahati. So I decided to cook it for my husband also while I came back to Mumbai. My mother advised me to prepare it with the Joha chawl, the scented rice of Assam with which the Pulao would be more delicious. Accordingly, I got ready to cook my Pulao with all the ingredients, especially the wet Joha chawl. When I put the rice in the pressure cooker and started cooking it, after some time, I noticed that my Pulao got stuck between them. I could not understand what might be the reason for sticking my Pulao and becoming coalesced.
I called my mother telling her my running problem. She asked me from which container I had taken the rice as she set all the containers of our kitchen while she was in Mumbai. When I said her the exact container, she then clarified it me that that was nothing but the Bora chawl, the sticky Assamese rice which is mainly taken as breakfast. I could not recognise the Bora and Joha chawl, though they looked different. Bora chawl is a bit smaller than the Joha chawl and Joha chawl has its own scent. Still I could not recognise them. What to do now??? My Pulao was going on….finally I put a little water on it and left it for a single whistle of the cooker. But surprisingly, my Pulao in Bora chawl appeared as a tasty dish, quite a different taste from other Pulao. We enjoyed that day with it and got scolded by my mother for not recognising our very own rice.
At Bhubaneswar, the Director of the Institute of Mathematics and Applications, asked me about the Boka chawl. That time also, I could not recognise the rice. He elaborately described me about it….a little bit sticky, scented also, small sized….still I answered the Bora chawl. He said NO. I was quite confused about which rice he was asking me. Then suddenly he asked me which part of Assam I belonged. When I said that Upper Assam, Sivasagar…to my great surprise he replied that in my place it is said to be as Komal Chawl and in the Lower Assam, it is Boka chawl.
I simply apologised for not being able to answer about my culture and ashamed of that unknowingly.
My senior also faced same type of situation when he was asked by his colleagues about his historical background during his PhD course in Germany. That day he was so ashamed for not being able to tell them about the 600 long years Ahom history.
Our culture is not only for celebration…its some thing to be shared with them also who ask you about your origin….what do you think???