Finally the yearlong wait is over and we the bookaholic and foodoholic Bongs are ready to welcome the mela of all the melas: Boimela! Our beloved Kolkata Book fair will be turning evergreen forty this year. Started in 1974, Kolkata Book Fair, which is known as International Kolkata Book Fair is something we cherish, we enjoy and we live every year. Every year “Boimela” came with a distinct theme where a country represents their culture of rich books. Over the years this famous cultural event has seen many changes and has faced tragic accidents too! Started in Kolkata Maidan, now Boimela is shifted to Milan Mela and is equally celebrated and there are two things which are common in both the places: first and foremost is a huge collection of books and last but not the least is several food stalls! Yes our beloved “Boimela” is having some really good food options that booklover (and foodlover) people of the Kolkata try each year.
You may ask, why I am writing about food while discussing Book Fair! Basically these are two things apart from “Nirbhejal Adda” ( chitchat) which Bengalis cherishes most! We can’t just ignore the nostalgia of discussing politics to cricket to new books at Book Fair ground over an earthen cup full of hot tea; Having fish fry at Benfish and then to visit different publishing house’s stall for their new collection; to get the first “Burir Chul” at Boimela and to purchase life’s first “Thakurmar Jhuli” and nowadays to grab some Momo or Idly and many more. Probably these are the reason that there are several food stalls by City’s famous groups at the “Book Fair ground which are equally visited by us during the Book Fair. To name the famous ones based out of the food court of Book fair are Benfish, Sugar and Spices, Haldiram, South Indian Food Stalls, , Sweets, Ice Cream stall local Momo/ Roll/ Mughlai Paratha stall and famous “Chaiwala”s, and Phuchka etc are present there.
Having a pocket full of Gelusil and grabbing favorite food while purchasing or just touching books; this is something beyond heaven. Though the presence of food in the Book Fair and rush there in the stalls are criticized sometimes and it is also said by few that people are more interested in food than books but nobody can ignore the strong presence of food there! It is just impossible to ignore the aroma of Mughlai Paratha; steamy Idly’s, a bowl full of tamarind water after having phuchka or the nicely fried fishfry while visiting the book stalls; while seeing the famous little magazine stalls or during a catfight over books! This is what Kolkata Boimela is all about; where Book meets with food at Milan mela!