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Life reflections

Of Food

A few days ago I was looking out of the window at our star-apple tree. There were flowers and fruits. These fruits are very juicy and refreshing. It is indeed a marvel of nature that we get these fruits when our weather becomes hot. As I was looking I saw a bunch of fruits shaking, there was no wind to make them swing so. Then I saw a little green bird happily pecking at a fruit. It was quenching its thirst and hunger. We see such birds flying from one flower to the next. It is such a joy to see them plunge their beaks into a flower and pull them out in a fraction of a second. When I see them I think of the sparrow. These birds have decreased in number here but I see them in grocery shops. They are busy eating rice and other grains which spill out of the sacks. Why have they decreased in number, and how do they know where they can find food to survive?

Thoughts about food take me back to my childhood. I just did not like the taste of bitter gourd and used to wonder how anyone could eat such an awful vegetable. I remember that I once walked away from the table in protest against being served the vegetable. But over the years I have grown to love this bitter taste and it is one of my favourite vegetables. I like to drink my coffee without sugar, I relish that bitter taste 😊. Here in India people usually drink coffee with milk and sugar. We make filter coffee because we do not like the instant variety.

My father worked in the Indian railways and we lived mostly in North India. But every summer vacation we used to come to my maternal grandparents’ home in a small town in South India. We had to travel three days by train to reach Mangalore, the nearest railway station to our destination. My mother would carry some food for the journey, but after the first day we would buy food at different stations. We used to enjoy it. I still remember the aloo sabji (potato curry) that we used to get in a small cone made by joining leaves. I make that dish even now. This exposure to different types of food has made it possible for me to taste and enjoy any kind of vegetarian food (in my country vegetarian food is very easily available). Recently, I was in Germany for 2 ½ months with my daughter and her family. She was expecting her second child. I got to taste some of the baked vegetarian dishes. In our daily cooking we hardly bake. I enjoyed the new experience but I could not like the taste of some varieties of cheese 😊.

As I am writing this I remember little birds and squirrels that used to come to eat the chapati pieces that we put out every morning. These days we do not see them much. Maybe they will come back when it starts raining and the weather cools down. I place a vessel of water for the birds. I think they come to take a quick sip.

I wrote this yesterday evening. After dinner I picked up Roads to Mussoorie by Ruskin Bond. He is one of my favourite authors. Very aptly for the occasion, the first essay was about breakfast. The author tells us that he likes to have a solid breakfast in order to write.

6th afternoon taste (1)

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( Cashew nuts are roasted and the kernels within is separated by cracking the shell. )