In India and more so perhaps in Bengal, pet names given to children accompany them through life. Often the ‘proper’ & pet or nicknames have no identifiable connection causing at times embarrassment and confusion. I , Mohan and Shantilata Ghose firstborn were so pretty and cute that it was said she looked like a ‘cupie doll’. The celluloid Barbie doll of the 1930s.and so Minakshie was called Kewpie by all who knew her. The spelling change I suspect was her doing later on.
One morning, kewpie aged three years embedded her mother’s kitchen and sat on a stool placed at a safe distance from the open coal fire. She observed mother cutting the vegetables for the different preparations on the ‘bote’ and then the fish and meat. Seeing her keen interest, she was sometimes allowed to stand on the stool and give a stir or two to the contents of the cooking pot.
She quickly realized how important the ingredients that went into the pot Kewpie, aged six, clutching the hand of the maid embarked on her first shopping spree to the local bazaar close to her home in Calcutta to choose the items she was going to help cook for the family Sunday lunch.Kewpie would say, “My mother taught me to appreciate my heritage “, one of them being good food savored and enjoyed as a way of life.
Kewpie started her career in a leading advertising company soon after she completed her education at Loreto House, Calcutta in 1950. She was already a second mother to her three siblings- two sisters and a brother and it was the combined experience which developed her organizational & public relations skills.
When Kewpie married Mitu Dasgupta formally. Pratip Kumar, she Came to live with his aunt who was also an excellent cook of another style of Bengali cooking, Thus the subtleties of the two rival culinary disciplines of east and west Bengal – “Bangal “ and “Ghoti” were familiar to her. Writing about