I can still tell you exactly where my Maa stored our family’s huge picnic basket. I can still see my Deuta packing fish and chicken for us, despite him being a pure vegetarian.
If I close my eyes, I see myself travelling in an over-crowded bus to a hilly spot for the family potluck gathering; my Aita relaxing in a folding chair, sand-clad feet stretched out in front of her.
Picnics, quite simply, make for glorious memories. I’ve always believed warmth and magic happens when people eat, drink, and share stories at the same time.
But why am I suddenly talking about picnic after twenty something years? Recently, on Friendship Day, a group of foodies in Guwahati got together for a friendly potluck-cum-picnic at a scenic location on the outskirts of Hajo. And the whole idea of doing that was to bond over food, while promoting eco-friendly environment.
The initiative by Sisir Kumar, founder of Guwahati Foodie, a social media community on Facebook with a strong following of more than 93,000 food lovers, has caught the attention of many and he has been receiving endless number of calls to organise more such offline activities.
“You know, in the digital era today, people have lost the physical connections and this irks me. The world begins and ends on social media. Thus I thought potluck/picnic would be a wonderful way to bring in people together under one roof, do some cooking on woodfire, share food, get to know each other in person, and have a ‘real’ good time. Also, we took some steps to minimise the usage of plastic. I’m glad that the idea worked. Not that this is the first time I am organising an offline activity. I have in the past organised a special FIFA screening at Oriental Bistro, Guwahati, and a food meet-up in Assam Bhawan, Delhi. I guess it is about time we need to spare some time from the digital world and experience the beauty of bonding in real.”
Well, I couldn’t agree more to what Sisir said. The feeling of sharing in the joys of a good meal, cooked with passion, and garnished with love is incomparable.
The picnic menu had Fish cooked with elephant apple, Pork with banana flower, Chicken cooked in Assamese style, Egg do – pyaza, Lentil, Steamed Rice, and Salad – all served on banana leaves. For refreshment, they had freshly cut pineapple and fresh lime juice, offered in bamboo hollow.
Chirasmita Devi, one among the 20 foodies that were a part of this beautiful gathering, said, “Being a part of Guwahati Foodie’s event is always fun. But this time it’s something more. The idea was to be eco-friendly with minimum use of plastic. The experience of meeting fellow food enthusiasts, working like a team, cooking together was an experience to remember for a city dweller like me. The location was, of course, the cherry on the cake. Looking forward to more such events by Guwahati Foodie.”
However, Guwahati Foodie is not limited to only this. Sisir, on August 13, had organised a day-long programme – EATucation – at Kaliram Barooah Girls’ High School, in Guwahati, in collaboration with Fat Belly chain of restaurants, to help students interact with industry leaders, harness their soft skills, and decide on their career choices.
If you’re now curious to know more about Sisir and the upcoming events, keep a tab on the Guwahati Foodie page. Or drop him a message if you would want to meet in person. He’s always ready for some good food and conversation.