As the evening gradually flowed into the night, earthen lamps were burned and fairy lights bedecked buildings just like stars adorn the night sky. As the flames flickered in the wind, echoes of laughter and excited voices filled the air already laden with the smell of freshly made halwa-roti. The streets of Dhaka were getting ready to celebrate Shab-e-barat, the fabled night of fortune and forgiveness.
When comparing dinner tables of a Bengali and a Westerner, it's hard to understand the importance of bread in our diet as ours mostly consists of rice. That's not to say that bread has no place here, as we have our own way, time and type of breads to consume, making it very much a part of Bengali diet and cuisine. Bread's significance does not merely lie in its many nutritional properties. Its history and significance in culture and different religions is enough to fill tomes in museums across the globe.
Fast forward to today, and you will see that love for traditional Bengali sweets is still going strong. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to have changed is that we now have literally no time to dabble into the wizardry of sweet-making as the city life has its own set rules, which mostly do not include making desserts at home.