In Bengal, beyond the urbanscape, there are rural pockets where the glamour and glitz of Bollywood has not yet penetrated, where Jatra Pala still rules the roost. The literal meaning of the Bangla word Jatra is ‘Journey’. The Jatra Pala is a little different from the more commercialised Jatra but has been the unparalleled medium of entertainment for rural Bengal. Loud and colourful, Pala is a long musical narrative that describes episodes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana or other Puranic Texts. This traditional open-air folk drama combining acting, songs, music, dance, is characterized by stylized dialogue delivery and exaggerated gestures and orations. The whole troupe travel from one village to another and perform during the night.
Like most people from Bengal, Fish is something close to my heart or stomach for that matter. But have you ever thought what goes on from when a fish is caught till it appears in your local market? A lot actually, as I found out during some of my visits to the Malabar coast, more specifically the South Karnataka coast.
This stretch of the Arabian Sea coast is rich in marine life. From time immemorial people of this region have been venturing out into the sea and bringing back a rich haul of fish, Sardines and Mackerels being the most popular variety.