Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Jackfruit Tree I Planted... and Why Jackfruits Are So Important to Mallus!

Sometime in my childhood, I wanted to be a farmer and would go around our property in Kerala with a hoe and plant trees and look after a cow that was gifted to me by my mother. And then I had planted this jackfruit (it's also called breadfruit in some cultures) tree in our property. Actually, I took a plant that had germinated from under a jackfruit tree and re-planted it, and then watered it. The tree did very well and grew. Today that tree has sprouted many branches and my brother Joseph John sent me this photo, which shows, well, a lot of fruits. 

Erm, what I am waffling, eh, proceeding to announce here is the joy of seeing something bear fruit. This does warm the cockles because other endeavours of mine are forever languishing: a novel, a collection of short stories, a book on Kerala. Well, they are taking their time, while the jackfruit tree has spread its wings in many directions. Secretly, in my heart, what I am wishing is: why hasn't my other projects taken off? Where am I going wrong? Of course, health issues and medical system have taken a toll, but do I give up so soon, without closure? I don't know. 

I need to... need to.... Okay I will leave it at that.

In Kerala a jackfruit is put to different uses (as every Malayali knows), as I said to Facebook friend and guitarist Lindsay Legane:

We eat it as a fruit
We make a sauted delicacy of its seeds
We fry it in coconut oil
We steam it 
We make a curry out of it
We eat it raw
So on and so forth....

Well, so many We's in the above for my liking. I will let it stand. That's because we Mallus are an egotistic people when it comes to our fruits and our eats. He... he...!

So, people, never ask a Mallu if he misses jackfruit. He may well double up his lungi into an improvised short pant and prepare to climb a jackfruit tree. And sure as hell he won't come down for hours until he finishes his "chakka" on the "plavu."

Here's the Wikipedia article on Jackfruit, if it interests you.

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