I WAS writing about jack-fruit the other day, for my edit page. What has jack-fruits to do with a political newspaper?
Everything, it should appear.
Jacks are tough and they withstand the global warming, the droughts and all the vagaries of the nature that it will entail. When wheat and rice and maize whither away in the droughts -- as they do in many parts of the world today-- jack-fruits will remain a solid source of food for human beings, though most of us have forgotten the thrills of enjoying a ripe jack-fruit in the common kitchen.
I have five sturdy trees in my small compound, all bearing fruits in the summer. The fruits are everywhere, and they hang from the trunk like udders from an old bovine. As the summer heat goes up, the mesmerizing smell of the ripe fruit spreads in the atmosphere and birds and squirrels arrive from far and wide--they make a meal of the fruits. And I gather the seeds for the rainy days.
Still, jack-fruit is a nostalgia for most Malayalis today. Part of a lost childhood--for the middle aged. There was a time when the fruits were all consumed, even a time when thieves came to smuggle away the fruits from your yard...Perhaps, even poverty has a bright side?
But nowadays, it is mostly wasted. This most edible of fruits remains un-cared for, and no one bothers to harvest them. There is no market for jacks and market decides our tastes.
How times have changed and how our tastes are manipulated...
Still, the sturdy trees are there in the compound and I hope one day the fruits will become dearer to us, once again. I am told in Viet Nam and Sri Lanka they have set up businesses that adds value to the fruits and sell them in the market. May be someone here also will think about it?
It will be great to have the fried jack-seeds as a nice snack for my evening coffee or beer later on as the sun goes down.