Growing up in a village, and surrounded by fields and forests, my husband grew up enjoying the taste of different wild berries, each having their own particular taste.
Fortunately , in our small place, on our hill sides with its wild shrubs and bushes, we find so many wild fruits, some sweet some sour and some bland. They have their own seasons and we go out to collect them and of course eat them as we gather them.
My husband’s grandfather used to love small red berries called ‘ Kepla Hannu’ in Kannada. My father-in law was telling me that his father used to eat them while walking by the fields. There is this custom which most people observe when they visit the holy place of Kashi. They voluntarily give up eating a fruit and a vegetable which they love. It seems my husband’s grandfather gave up eating these small red berries which he loved so much. My grandfather had given up eating apple which he enjoyed a lot.
Thoughts about these small pleasures came to me as I was reading Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyaya. He has written with so much of feeling about the lives of these two children, Opu and Durga. It is as if the author has become those children and lived their lives as them.
“Opu and Durga , they were young and their palates were untrained, that is why they were eager to sample everything they could , particularly things that tasted sweet . They had never been able to afford to satisfy their craving for delicacies…They were children of a poor home , like poor children everywhere they were driven to find their sweets on jungle bushes; yet coarse and astringent though these simple fruits might be in a world which lives on luscious food, the kindly goddesses of the forest had contrived to fill them with a honeyed nectar all their own.”
The black and white photo is that of my husband’s grandfather, he passed away in1956.