Yesterday, I had a taste of a quintessentially Bengali preparation after a long while -- sorshe chingri bhape, or steamed shrimp in mustard sauce. During this period of deprivation, I had survived on ready-to-eat packets of rajma masala (curried red beans), spicy vegetable curry, and tadka dal (tempered, or spiced, lentil). All this while, my family was away in Kolkata and I was busy with several things that I wanted to accomplish during my demanding 3-year-old daughter's absence.
On Sunday I got a jolt of the strong mustard sauce, an explosion of flavor I was dying for. My wife's preparation was intense. I had it for lunch as well as dinner. This experience was the one bright spot of my day.