If Rosogolla Gets GI Tag, So Should BC (aka Butter Chicken)

Guess Dilli could GI Butter Chicken, especially the one at Gulati’s, Pandara Road.

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Never knew Children’s Day would bring such delight to Gelusil-junkie Bengalis. On my WhatsApp groups, it’s like Tagore had won the Nobel and Saurav the World Cup, on the same day. Mamata and Hasina have jointly announced that 14 November – hereinafter Jatiyo Rosogolla Dibosh – will be a holiday.

Academics are saying that the Bengali language, and even the Bengali himself, have both evolved from the rosogolla, rounded as both are. School textbooks are being re-cast, and the TMC is now confident of sweeping 2019.

Where Bengal Wins, Odisha Mourns

Meanwhile in Odisha, which has earlier battled Bengal over this, it’s not just bitter medicine, it’s unjust desserts as well – the mood is grim and flags are flying half-mast. We should not be surprised if the Kalinga Kings declared war on Mamata, or Lord Jagannath thundered in on his chariot, demolishing Calcutta’s rosogollas in the wake of His Wrath Yatra.

Peering through a history as smoggy as Delhi’s finest, this hardline version of rosogollatva is hard to digest. For it is against the multi-faith culinary culture of this country, which even embraces heresies such as the sponge rosogolla, which tastes, well, like sponge, and has none of the chewy, milky grain of the rosogollas of our memory. Like the ones sold on the wonderful Puri beach.

Indeed, this myth-making GI tag may be entirely worthless.

In Bengali, to get a rosogolla is to get nothing, score a duck. As in, Gablu’s got a rosogolla in math. Similarly, this myth-making GI tag may be a bit of a rosogolla itself. GI tagging is done in the case of Champagne, for example, where what the French, literally, call terroir, apparently makes the produce a singular speciality, simply impossible to replicate elsewhere, and hence deserving of that exalted name and economic stature. Not sure the rosogolla quite qualifies as such.

And If Rosogolla Can, Then So Can Butter Chicken

BC does. We’ve spent many a sultry Mumbai night trying to score the stuff, somewhat like Ginsberg wrote:

‘I saw the best minds of my generation ravaged by BC, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the dirt-roads at dusk looking for a spicy fix,

lightheaded losers burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness floating across the tops of cities contemplating Daler, roti and BC'

But alas. The Butter Chicken served in Delhi’s nullahs is better than what you get in Mumbai Five Stars. We were inconsolable. Then my pal Karanpal advised: ‘Arre nahi milegi yahan, yaar. Mitti-paani ka farak hai’.

It’s the terroir.

So yeah. Guess Dilli could GI Butter Chicken, especially the one at Gulati’s, Pandara Road. But Dilliwalas are not insecure like that. Indeed, they’re quite Prime Ministerial in such matters. Khao aur khane do, they say.

Let south Indian cooks put curry patta in the BC all they want, we’re good...

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