Friday, February 24, 2006

The Jackfruit

As a kid N K Pillai often traveled home to Kerala form gulf for summer vacation. It was in one such trip that Jackfruit caught his imagination.
Till that day he thought he had deciphered one logic in gods creations. God kept big things near to earth and small things on top. Like sparrows, crows fly and Ostrich does not. Pumpkins grow close and mangoes grow far. At times he felt lazy and kept even small things close to earth but with Jackfruit god chose to keep the huge fruit high up on tree. He got the sample of the edible part of the fruit form one of those visiting ‘unknown aunts’ who asked the same introductory question “Auntine Ormayundo mone?” .Question roughly converts to “do you remember me son?”. Ofcourse he always suspected even his mother got some secret help from Grandmother to recognize these guests. Then the sweet taste and smell of jackfruit again caught his attention. Looking at a big one high up on the tree he made up his mind to get it down. He put forward his plan to his two cousins. First time in that vacation both took out their school books. Next was his brother, equally impressed by the taste jumped out to his help. One look at the tree, second look at the fruit on top, and then I saw him getting ready for a bath like an obedient son. Some are overwhelmed by thoughts of hardship, few other turn back at sight of it. Kids lack guts he thought.
He put forward the plan to his mother and aunt. Mother went to prepare tea. Aunt taught him many new things. Jackfruits are bad for diabetes. Bananas are better for health. Jackfruits make good food for cattle. It is popular only among poor. She does not like it. Her kids never even taste jack fruits. Implicitly she was not getting into this mess.
So his next target was a group centered on his father. And this group was into real serious stuff. Local politics, international events, great promises and greater letdowns were the hot topics. He put forward his action plan. Father was quick to react. He suggested trying something less messy. The resin from jackfruit is unpopular enough to shy away any reasonable dressed person. They leave indelible stain on dress of the person who tries to handle it. It leaves our hand stained and smelly. It requires a lot of work, cleaning with coconut oil and dry cloth to clean our hand.
In addition to word of caution he also got from the group the way to his aim. He was showed a big bamboo long enough to reach the jackfruit. He managed to drag it to action area. He looked up contemplating the next step. Then he spotted the great Moni (the village coconut tree climber) on a top of a coconut tree. The small muscular man seeing NKP’s effort came down and helped him bring down the big fruit. With some effort he cut the fruit brought out the edible parts and laid it neatly on a big banana leaf. By this time NKP was looking dirty enough. He was send to his mother’s custody to be cleaned. His clean brother made the first attack on the fruit. Soon the studious cousins followed. Next was the aunt who hated jackfruits. The group of nation builders led by his father felt it fit to have a snack break. And then of course NKP. Moni uncle who cleaned up all the inedible part got that waste as a gift as it made good food for his cows. The effort built in N K Pillai a big love for the sweet, common and undervalued fruit. The effort taught him some things more than getting jackfruits down. It gave him valuable lessons he always carried.
1. If the desire is strong enough help comes form the top of coconut tree.
2. You cannot be honest and enjoy Jackfruit without getting your hands dirty.
3. You can have Jackfruits without getting your hands dirty provided some fool dirties his hand for you

1 comment:

thedaydreamer said...

You too brutus

Ninteyullilum oru saahithyakaaran urangikidakkunnundo :-)