21 September, 2020

Just Not Too Maach!

With the famed hilsa fish registering a low catch for the second year running, West Bengal plans a conservation drive

Swapan Nayak
Just Not Too Maach!
It’s a Sunday treat the Pauls never miss. Every weekend during the monsoon, patriarch Prabhat Paul visits the neighbourhood market to handpick the best and biggest hilsa he can find for a lavish family lunch. He’s been doing it for decades. But this year, the Calcutta family found itself out of luck. The city’s markets have been inundated by a kind of juvenile or young hilsa (called ‘khoka’ or young), and the tastier, full-grown fish has been hard to come by. So when Paul’s daughter-in-law Subhoda discovered that a Calcutta jeweller was organising a mouth-watering promotional—a free hilsa with certain purchases—she rushed over to the city store, and came back with a whopper, from the Rupnarayan river. "It’s the best hilsa I’ve had this season," she says. "It’s been difficult to find freshwater hilsa in all these weeks, so I wanted the family to enjoy at least one good catch this season. I’ve heard that the river variety of the hilsa might not be around much longer."

This is a very real fear among Calcuttans this monsoon. After all, the hilsa isn’t...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Labonita Ghosh

Latest Magazine

September 28, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section