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. )

 

 

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. I used to go to the Home for the Mentally challenged in our campus twice a week. I have been going there since 2011. The members are an important part of my life. Covid-19 has made it difficult for me to go there regularly. Hopefully I will be able to go there again. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made life so much more richer.

7 comments

  1. There have been many. many suggestions here in England about why House Sparrows are getting so rare. One that has gained a lot of favour recently is that there are virtually no crumbs and other food spilt on the floor any more. Neither do our mechanised farmers spill much grain or seed in their farmyards. One particular thing featured is that people here do not have tablecloths nowadays. At one time, after every meal, the careful housewife would take her tablecloth outside and shake all the crumbs out for the sparrows. This winter, despite feeding the birds every single day, I have only seen one House Sparrow.

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    1. Yes it is the same here Sir. Till about 29 years ago we could see them everywhere. I remember they used to build their on top of a clock in my grandfather’s house. Smaller birds are in plenty .

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  2. Like you I didn’t much care for bitter-gourd/ karela as a child, but got used to the taste. I cook it with dried prawns, but sadly avoid putting chillies for health reasons. San

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    1. My father-in-law cannot eat spicy food . We make bitter gourd rasam using cocum instead of tamarind and battery. I do not put green chillies or chillie powder for him. I season with mustard and garlic.

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  3. We have many sparrows. They nest in the hedge between us and the neighbors. We have several varieties. As for bitter, I think that as we get older we come to appreciate bitter. I too dislike any sweet in my tea or coffee.

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