It was not about the two-minute noodle. It was Bihar’s version of the La Tomatina festival.
Unlike in Spain, where tomatoes are thrown, the face and hand of participants here were smeared in yogurt, giving a comical look, as over 350 queued up for the ‘Dahi khao inaam pao’ contest, organised by the Patna Dairy Project (PDP) on the occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’.
Expected to consume as much fresh curd as they could--all in three minutes flat--the participants devoured eight quintals among them. The winners--Jehanabad’s Pranaya Shankar (3.934kg) and Delhi’s Sunita Kumari (2.350kg)--accounted for over 6kg curd between them to hog the limelight on Monday.
Burping after a brimful of yogurt, Pranaya Shankar, 55, who has been a personal assistant to a former cooperatives minister, said, “I had curd even before coming to participate in the contest, and still have appetite for more.”
The pleasure on Shankar’s face was evident as he defeated previous year’s winner Baijnath Yadav (3.550 kg) of Darbhanga, to be crowned the ‘Dahi Kesari’. “People from the Mithilanchal region are known to be curd-lovers. I am happy that I have broken the Mithila hegemony in this contest,” he said.
Shankar also set a new record, beating Yadav’s previous best of having consumed 3.907 kg in 2015.
A resident of Delhi, homemaker Sunita Kumari, emerged victorious in the distaff category to be crowned ‘Dahi Samragyi’ (empress).
“I had come to spend some time with my mother in Patna when I decided to participate in the contest. I enjoy curd over milk,” she told HT. Kumari had come third the last time she participated in 2014.
Cool as a cucumber after gulping down almost eight packs of 400gms curd, Kumari outperformed last year’s winner Tara Devi of the railways who consumed 2.180kg curd. Jyotsna Devi (2.10kg) came third while Kiran Devi (1.880kg) had to settle for the consolation prize.
Among the 355 participants were S. Uday from Hyderabad, Siddhant Kumar from Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur and Jeri Jaan from Bhopal.
The PDP, which sells its products under the Sudha brand name, has been holding the event for the last six years on the occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’.
Managing director Sudhir Kumar Singh said, “I was inspired by Phanishwar Nath Renu’s novel, which talked about legends like Gonu Jha who would devour curd and ‘rasgulla’. I always wanted to host something with a rural connect in the state capital. The ‘dahi khao inaam pao’ contest fits the bill.”