Eat sweets, sleep, repeat: Story behind Bengal’s sugar rush amid COVID-19

Bengali sweet shop COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown
To ease their lockdown blues as well as to avoid wastage of milk, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee allowed sweet shops to run from 12 noon to 4pm, but only for takeaways. | Image - Prathap Ravishankar

On the afternoon of March 31, retired bank employee Sudip Dasgupta hopped into his neighbourhood sweet shop in South Kolkata’s Jadavpur area as the state government allowed a four-hour window to tickle the taste buds of sweet-toothed Bengalis.

Armed with a face mask and a jhola, the 67-year-old rushed to get his favourite dessert —  mishti doi (sweet yoghurt) — the moment he heard that the street-corner sweet shop had opened its shutters. Dasgupta was a little disappointed though to find that yoghurt was not yet ready and had to make do with just rosogolla. Nevertheless, he got his much-needed daily dose of mishti (sweet).

Rosogolla in rosmalai with shredded dry fruits

“My meals feel incomplete without something sweet, preferably mishti doi... sesh pate (to wrap it up),” he says, sheepishly adding that doctors have advised him to try and give up this habit as his sugar-level is “in the borderline” — which medically means, he is in the threshold of joining the ever-burgeoning club of type 2 diabetics. According to a health survey, done a few years ago, 3.5%-5.7% of Bengal's population is diabetic. The figure shot up to 12% for Kolkata.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 149