The West Bengal-Odisha battle over the genesis of the rosogolla may never be settled. In gastronomy, such contests are rarely decisive. But the challenger seems to have a stolen a march on one count: When the two states went to war over the spongy syrupy pearly white cheese ball, two years ago, Odisha dedicated a day to the sweet. Yesterday was the third Rasogolla — oops Rasagola — Dibasa. The deities Jagannath, Balbadhra and Subhadra were given the sweet as bhog when they returned to their abode in the Jagannath temple in Puri after their nine-day long sojourn outside — Odisha’s way of marking the rasagola’s historical association with the 12th century temple. Sweet shops in most parts of the state offered free treats to people, many of whom went back home to renew their commitment to the two-year long battle — on social media — and researchers reproduced evidence to back Odisha’s claim to the rasagola. Such effusion of sweetness was obviously not well-taken in West Bengal.
The Indian love for food has rarely found expression in dedicating days to especially reflect the country’s culinary diversity. Germany has its Beer Day and Soup Day, Sweden its Mud Cake Day, the British have their Fish and Chips Day and the Sausage Day, Japan observes the Strawberry Day and the Sushi Day. The US has more than 150 days dedicated to food. The Idli Day in Chennai and the Undiyu Day in Gujarat are India’s measly contribution to this smorgasbord.
With the Rasagola Dibasa, the menu gets sweeter. It could also be much less stickier if Odisha and West Bengal give up their acrimony over rosogolla/rasagola and come together to celebrate the sweet. A caveat, though. The Rasagola Day follows the lunar calender and it could be tricky if the day coincides with some of the commemorations in the Gregorian Calendar — the World Diabetes Day, for example.