Unseen Passage: Theme in Tagore’s Works

Reading Comprehension

Is there a central theme in Tagore’s works? There is a central theme, and that is his love for freedom and nonconformity which is evident in his works. Apart from being a literary genius, have you ever wondered what else did he love? Have you ever thought of tasting the bard’s favourite dishes?

Now Kolkata can boast of a cafeteria-cum-restaurant, ‘Cafe The’, where people can get a taste of Tagore’s culinary indulgences–all under one roof. It was conceived by Ratikanta Basu, who undertook a lot of research to make it a reality.

The restaurant is located on H Chi Min Sarani in south Kolkata and is the first cafe-cum-restaurant in India that is exclusively dedicated to Tagore cuisine.

Tagore would encourage the ‘thakurs’ (cooks) in his ancestral palace in the northern part of the city to introduce variations in the platter, by including local versions of continental and Peshawari cuisine. Thus, the cross over culture ensconced silently in the kitchens of Thakurbari was launched, much before the clamour for cross-cultural cuisine actually started.

The poet’s innate wander lust took him to places like Italy, Spain, England, Turkey, and he imbibed the food traditions of respective countries. Since he was exposed to both oriental and continental cuisine, a penchant to blend the two forms came naturally.

There are not many documents to support that Tagore was a die-hard food lover. But he actually was one, and whenever he attended a lunch or dinner abroad, he used to collect and bring back the menu cards.

A part of the menu card will be a facsimile of the menu laid out for the dinner party hosted by India society, London, in 1912 to felicitate Tagore on the occasion of the publication of Gitanjali, a collection of his poems. Even the decor of the cafe in south Kolkata has been designed to suit the ambience with large portraits of Tagore at various lunch and dinner parties across the world, his framed write-ups on food, of course softly played Tagore songs.

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. What is the underlying theme of Tagore’s works?
  2. How has Ratikanta Basu paid tribute to Tagore?
  3. What do you understand by “cross-cultural cuisine”?
  4. What was the purpose of the dinner party hosted by India society?

Answer

  1. According to the writer, the underlying theme of Tagore’s works is his love for freedom, and nonconformity.
  2. Ratikanta Basu has paid tribute to Tagore by opening a cafeteria-cum-restaurant, ‘Cafe The’, where people can get a taste of Tagore’s culinary indulgences–all under one roof.
  3. ‘Cross cultural cuisine’ means local versions of food or recipes being reinvented with a continental touch or vice versa.
  4. The purpose of the dinner party hosted by India society was to felicitate Tagore on the occasion of the publication of Gitanjali, a collection of his poems.

Q. Choose the correct alternatives:

  1. What is meant by ‘penchant’? (Para 5)
    1. desire
    2. material
    3. process
    4. None of the above
  2. What is meant by ‘innate ‘? (Para 5)
    1. noble
    2. appreciated
    3. natural
    4. real
  3. Find the word opposite in meaning to ‘disperse ‘. (Para 6)
    1. collect
    2. support
    3. lover
    4. back
  4. Find the word opposite in meaning to ‘covered ‘. (Para 5)
    1. imbided
    2. blend
    3. penchant
    4. exposed

Answer

  1. desire
  2. natural
  3. collect
  4. exposed

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