SHILLONG, July 24 - Mixing the famed Assam tea with the humble �S� cookies,� Assam Assembly Speaker Ranjit Kumar Das is trying to make a subtle statement: �promotion of indigenous knowledge and customs and staying grounded.�
�The �S� cookies were very popular during our childhood. It still is in several parts of the State and is baked by small-time bakers. I want to promote these bakers in my own humble way and also stay connected to our roots,� Das, who is on a stress-busting vacation with his family here, said on Saturday.
�S� cookies may seem crude for some, but such �weird looking but tasty� cookies are immensely popular in Europe, North America and are baked with different recipes. Essi or �S� cookies have been baked for centuries around Venice.
Recently, the picture of the �S� cookies and Assam tea, being served to former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi by Das, was splashed in the media. �The CM (Sarbananda Sonowal) came to meet me and he too was served the same treat of �S� cookies and Assam tea,� Das said.
Das recently served the cookies and tea to a senior journalist from Bangladesh and surprisingly hit an emotional chord with him. Joint Editor of Bangladesh�s leading Bangla newspaper, Prathom Alo, Sohrab Hassan was pleasantly surprised when he was served the cookies and admitted these are still popular in Bangladesh.
�We share the same boundary, same culture, custom and we eat the same �S� cookies, so where is the problem,� Das stated in a lighter vein, when asked about his opinion on the present ties between India and Bangladesh.
Although Das� approach to the problems may not seem conventional, but he was serious in stating that we tend to take things more seriously and try to find complex solutions to all problems.
�Every problem comes with a solution, we must first try out simple solutions,� he told the visiting foreign journalist.
Das also believes that every initiative does have its impact. �There is no such thing as a small initiative or a big initiative. Every initiative undertaken with a good intention is worthy,� Das asserted.
On a different note, Das said the first thing he did after taking the Speaker�s office was convening a meeting with all his staff � from officers to peon and sweepers � in the Assembly Secretariat.
�I told everyone that nobody works under me, but we work together. I was told that it was the first time the group-D employees sat across the table with a Speaker and had a meeting,� he said.
Stating that the Speaker�s chair is a �symbol of the State or of the Nation,� he said his endevour would always be to rise above party politics and raise issues for the overall benefit of the people.
�I have written to various Commissioners recently underlining several problems and these are being worked upon,� Das states. Another issue close to Das is banning toy guns. �Such cheap Chinese toys not only harms a child�s psychology, but also the State�s economy.�