The factory, a five-minute stroll from the river, is tucked away in a lane named after Ramakrishna Paramhansa. I can smell the boiling syrup from a distance. The security guard, when I tell him that I have an appointment, courteously shows me into the reception, where I sit under a giant portrait of a man called Sarada Charan Das (1906–92), described in the caption as ‘the father of globalisation of Indian sweets.’

Sarada Charan Das, the family tree in my notebook tells me, was a son of KC Das and grandson of Nobin Chandra Das, the ‘inventor’ of rossogolla. Sarada Charan Das himself had seven children, among them Dhirendra Nath Das, who had opened the shop on Jatindra Mohan Avenue and whose son, Dhiman, I have come to see.

“I have been going to that shop right from the day it opened in April 1985. I was thirteen at the time," Dhiman tells me when I meet him in his cabin, “I would sit next to my father. That’s where I learned the ropes."

He says, “My father named the shop after Nobin Chandra Das (and not KC Das) because he wanted at least one shop to be named after him so that people don’t forget that he had invented the rossogolla."

“Did he really invent the rossogolla?" I ask him.

“Yes, he did. Some people say the rossogolla came from Orissa. But we went there, made enquiries and found no evidence. Even if something similar to the rossogolla existed at the time, it certainly did not match the quality and texture of what Nobin Chandra Das had created," says Dhiman.

*****

The store
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