Ice Cream in Calcutta

Photo: "Good Morning Calcutta" by Girish Kumar PJ/

When my husband was a kid, he had ice cream once a year.

At the time, ice cream –real ice cream– wasn’t available in the town of Krishnagar, West Bengal, where he grew up.

Oh, they had rasagullas and gulab jamun and their most famous confections, sorpuria and sorbhaja (types of very mildly sweetened, impossibly fluffy sandesh, covered in devonshire cream and then baked. Uhhhhhhhhh.).

But no ice cream.

To get ice cream, you had to go to the big city, which is what they did as a family once a year, when they made a 3-hour trip, by train, to the Calcutta Zoo.

I imagine it was not unlike my family’s annual pilgrimage to Disneyland.

While perusing the exhibits, they ate ice cream purchased from the “Quality Brand” cart, pre-packed into individual cups, with classic, flat wooden spoons.

And every year, my husband chose vanilla.

I can only imagine how good it must have tasted.

Observing tradition

Although tradition is often associated with religious ceremony, it can be as simple as having an annual ice cream at the zoo.

Havi Brooks, of The Fluent Self, says that traditions are important because they help us measure the passage of time. In addition, they ‘bookmark’ a particular time and space, making it easier to recall.

Maybe this is because a tradition simply tells the mind,

Here we are. What we are doing is special. Notice it.

Observances help us to become more observant of everything.

A ritual is just a conscious habit.

Whether we’re brushing our teeth, reading the newspaper or gathered around a holiday table, we can make it a sacred act.

For some, it begins with awareness of one’s body, of the space around him or her, and of others who may be sharing that space. It develops with awareness that we are a part of something grand.

That our lives are miraculous.

In Bhagavad-gita (7.8), we are reminded that Divinity can be found in the taste of water.

How much more so, then, in a cup of vanilla ice cream?


UPDATE:  I’m refilling the cup of my heart right now. If you haven’t already, you might wish to SUBSCRIBE (so that you won’t miss a drop when it runneth over).

<——–  Metaphorically speaking, that is. I’m turning on the tap of tejas, actually. Hare Krsna. :)

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3 Responses to Ice Cream in Calcutta

  1. Nancy A says:

    what a wonderful story Rupa! I love this

  2. Thais says:

    its amazing how something so precious to one person can be fully taken for granted by others.Thank you for sharing Rupa – today I will set an intention to be thankful for all the tiny things that others may not have. <3

  3. so lush and romantical, my head is spinning.

    i would choose pistachio. ;)

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