Every winter in the last whole decade, I have tried to get a little bit of Patna on my plate. A mooli paratha here, a gajar-mutter there. But what I really, and still miss, is everything sattu. And gud. My Bihari cook, a young boy of 22, who left Darbhanga a few years back, is now too Bangalored and commercial, to have the kind of patience that makes litti what it is worth.
I may have the adrak ki chai, but what I really miss is my customary two weekly sattu parathas with baigan ka bharta.
And litti. The real one. Made on real fire. Not steamed and fried and definitely not sattu momos. I miss that real litti that my fufaji would make on a coal lit iron vessel. On chilly winter evenings. Served with gallons of ghee (that once Ma and I avoided like plague) and. Yes. you guessed it. Baigan ka bharta.
And I miss that kilo of laktho that made for the best afternoon dessert ever. All of December and January.
And I miss ma’s one stop solution to sniffling and coughing all winters. Gud adrak. And anarsa. And Ramdana ka ladoo.
One December I will go to Patna, I will sit in the heated living room of my Patliputra apartment. I will have chai with my neighbours. And I will eat all this and throw in some noodles from Banjara for variety. And I will ring in Christmas in the Notre Dame chapel, and eat all the brilliant pastries and cookies and donuts that the Sisters make. And I will ring in the new year in Golf Club. Dancing to unbelievable music. Or sitting around a bonfire. I wonder how I never thought any of this was fun while I was living it. Distance does make the heart grow fonder.
I miss Patna. The most in December.