Poems by Laksmisree Banerjee

Laksmisree Banerjee



Oh Calcutta, my home of gastronomic revelry

kitchen-palace of heady cooking scents

splendid palate of heaven and earth

roving our nooks, skies, realms

all corners, crevices and interstices

wrapped lavishly in the diverse aroma

of piquant, savoury and dishes syrupy

the tangy, zesty, the sweet and sugary---


You birth every moment with your luscious food

 insignia of our Bengali ethos of fine culinary craft

 perennially invigorating every space, every being

 every highway, alley and gulley of our city of joy

of heightened gourmet artistry and hospitality

spilling out and over into the cosmopolitan as well

celebration of life with our connoisseur taste-buds

strengthening our well-known Food-Camaraderie


typical Bengali tongue of repute

foodies flapping, fluttering in mirth

like winging birds through our homes

street corners, amusement parks, restaurants

a Food Paradise of epicurean delight

flocked by people multi-hued in togetherness

with singular love for the Kolkata biriyani,

machher jhol, bhetki paturi and sondesh

with omnipresent flavours of hot and cold


of pungent, soft, saccharine and bold

under open skies, hotels, houses or roads

enhancing ever our days and nights ---


Apex of joy forever fixed on eager taste buds

those enlivening phuchkas served gleefully

along cross-roads, corners, curves, bends

pivot of our universe of fulfilment

how I yearn to gobble these crisp rotundities

of delicious spicy fillings with sweet and sour soups,

add-ons our songs to enhance the taste of life ---


Or those huge spongy globules of roshogollas

dipped in honeyed succulence

a global enchantment, globes of angelic thrill,

born much before the Colonial Raj,

offering gratification across Time and Space

a sweetness of love sent around with love

a message of friendship from Bengali India

spreading through expanses of the world

while our tongues and ties unite timelessly---


Human bridges of our Bengali cuisine

fasten the cherished bonds of tasty brotherhood

of diverse races and cultures, an international fare

when the ambrosia of food and warmth

our magic of Bengal spans across

diffusion in arrays and assortments

of heavenly cookery of sense and spirit

our Junction of arduous amity

unites our Home and Abroad---






Sitting outside the Café de Flora,

As past infiltrates the present panorama

In this street of Food-Timelessness

Philosophy and nibbling appetite in coalescence

Imbued with Sartre, Flaubert, Beauvoir

Watching in sunshine the world go by

Parisian, European, Asian, Persian

All in the medley of our scrumptious food

Sizzling wine and caviar unknown exotica

Flowing from palate to throat like a river

As the mundane poach on toast appeases

Our multi-ethnic taste awakens in delight---


Criss-crossing each other in variant colours

Men and women with multifarious taste-buds

Flocking to taste lip-smacking dishes

Shifting screen across the brasseries and bistros

The food a fare of curiosity and miscellany

Eager hungriness to know and savour more

Grape juice leading to a harsh French coffee

Thick onion soup too tasty but hard to gulp

Multi-cuisine spreads of gourmet glee

Juicy delicacies of Paris harmonize with mingled spree---


Moving around from afternoon to evening

With sensorial rhapsodies seeping into the soul

How often I see you from my distant lands in caress

A sudden reverie, a spanning thought of the gleaming hills

Green and red of the Palamau range from afar

The dancing belles of the Santhal Parganas relish


Their fermented rice with onions and pungent pepper

A vibrancy echoing the deep dulcimer of Jagjit Singh

The frolicsome folk songs of our Tribal East India

In friendly resonance with Mozart’s Fortieth Symphony---


In this Café with reams of history invoking

My heady soul and sense touching the peaks of solace

With Existentialism stirring my thoughts of the Upanishads

My taste-buds stimulated with a mingled uproar

Surreal joy of union through the warm afternoon

Slipping into the inebriate evening as my wine of Paris

Permeates my Indian broth of hot fish curry across

The waves of the seven sees free and boundless-----






Grandma’s red bordered white saree

brought in a ribbon from the skies

an exhilarating aroma of food and love

a connecting streak from another world---


Across the Howrah Bridge

she lived on the far other side

in her ancient mansion of pure air

distant from the clumsy bottle-necks

of heated Kolkata traffic jams

a placid moon-like existence forever inviting---


Her verandahs, open spaces and mildewed gardens

with scented flowers and huge trees

of succulent mangoes, jack fruits, bananas, guavas

a tranquil, un-invaded paradise for childhood to bloom---


A half-open door, a glimpse into her huge kitchen

she pottering around the large clay ovens,

the white-haired Brahmin cook with brown dried skin

a sacred thread of a noose hanging around his neck

his peevish energy as the fire-pits, following her directives----


Grandma’s food-court churning out prawn malai-curry

machher kalia, jhol, kawsha mangsho with piquant pancakes

mooshur daal, crisp alu bhaja, begun bhaja, potoler dorma,

finally with tomato chutney, mishti doi and roshogolla

a befitting crescendo to grandma’s Bengali Food- Sonata

with a creamy payesh, a grand epilogue to pamper

our sweet tooth and security needs for juvenile afflictions---

Grandma’s cool snuggery and culinary magic

was a sun-bliss, a fairy jingle, a way of life

breeding unalloyed innocence that suddenly stopped

with a fatal shriek rupturing the whiff of a scented mesh

a sleeping death alive, a shining horizontal porcelain-piece

of Eternity from my yester years---


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