Chicken Curry for the Migrant Soul

Migrant eateries are fragments of home or Bari/Basha/Ghar in the Khaleej/Gulf. A cramped coffee shop turned rotir dokan or a bread shop which offers murgir jhol, daal, cholaar buut and the sujir halwa, is like a panacea for the migrant looking for a pocket friendly but a sumptuous bite. The chicken curry was like for me in a typical Bengali kitchen in Kolkata and the tandoori rotis were baked hot. The Dal was homely, and the Suji Halwa was ideal, not sweet and brought back memories of a past which recedes in memory. Taste is a rich node of memory and recollection.

The bylanes of towns in the Gulf hold such spaces, which are geographically interchangeable. This dhaba could have easily been in Bengal but it is in an overseas realm. The atmosphere was buzzing with prantik bangla or the vernacular and it was a spatio temporal continuum demarcated by the door, with no signages, which makes its Bangladeshi character evident. The plastic table and stools and the cramped area, was symptomatic of a Dhaba.

I was transported to a different slice of the Bangladeshi Diaspora in Singapore at Rowell Road/Desker Road where Ghorowa and Khana Basmati served similar fare. Me and my friend from Lucknow paid a bill of an equivalent of SGD 6.

#migranttales @ Al Khuwair Muscat, Oman


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