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Purvaiya--- the aromatic breeze from Bihar

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A long, long time ago, there were jute mills in West Bengal. And, in those mills, the labourers were the migrated communities from Bihar, the neighbouring state. They brought a bit of their culture and a lot of their food in their own ‘promised land’. As they worked and lived in Bengal, they adopted the food habits of their new settlement and adapted to its living as well. But they did not forget the food of their motherland. They ate the simple meals at home and spread the flavours around. The merge and the mix were somewhat inevitable.
This simplistic deconstruction doesn’t really shed light on the plight of the jute mills workers when gradually the mills shut down one by one but it does one thing… point out how, with time, the food of the two cultures grew close. Yes, the foods of Bihar and Bengal have much more similarities than one might be aware of, but as I tucked into the Litti and Baingan ka chokha at the Bihari Food Festival called Purvaiya in Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar two days…