Written by Shriya Dasgupta
Jamai Shasthi, a day committed to the Bengali sons-in-law, burnt a hole in the pocket of many middle-class households. While the prices of meat and fruits were already sky-high due to Eid, there has been an additional surge in prices of fish on the occasion of the Bengali festival.
Hilsa, the hot favourite of Bengalis, was priced between Rs 1,200 and 1,400 for a kilo. Lobsters cost around Rs 700 a kilo, while the prices of prawns ranged between Rs 400 and Rs 600 a kilo. Chicken cost Rs 200. Even seasonal fruits like mango gave a pocket pinch, costing between Rs 60 and Rs 80.
“I bought mutton, pabda and catla, besides mango and sweets. The total bill was nearly Rs 4,500,” said Anil Sen, a resident of Bijoygarh. His daughter and son-in-law live in Mumbai and came down to Kolkata with their two-year-old daughter for Jamai Shashti.
As Bengalis swear by sweets, any spread in their absence is incomplete. So, sweet shop owners go on an overdrive to woo the customers.
According to Rana Nandy of Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra Nandy Sweets, along with new kinds of sweets, they also took special care to make the traditional ones like jolbhora sandesh and rosogolla, which hold the flavours of the past. Kathaler (jackfruit) sandesh is their highlight this Jamai Shashti.
“Sale has been very good throughout the day. Sweet prices started from Rs 20. As choice of customers varies, so all kinds of sweets find takers,” said Nandy.
However, the age-old tradition of celebrating Jamai Shashti noted a marked change in the present day. Unlike past, some mothers-in-law preferred to treat their sons-in-law in the restaurants.
“I want to enjoy some quality time with my son-in-law and daughter, and not spend hours in the kitchen while they visit us,” said Rima Bose, a school teacher and a resident of Ballygunge.
Grabbing this opportunity, some authentic Bengali restaurants have curated special menu for the occasion. So, not just for the jamais, but the mothers-in-law also dug into their bowls in the restaurants that dished out delicacies like illish, bhetki paturi, chingri machher malaikari, kosha mangsho, pulao, kancha aaamer chutney, papad and rajbhog.
(Shriya Dasgupta is an intern with The Indian Express)