Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guava and Pomegranate

As a kid these were my two favorite fruits apart from Nellikayi (Amla) and Mangoes. Mangoes used to disappoint a majority of the time, as most of them used to be bitter (except totapuri). Of course I am talking of the stolen mangoes. In fact I am talking about stolen guavas, pomegranate and nellikayis as well.

Some of my most memorable childhood summers in Bangalore ( i used to spend a lot of time in my village in Chitradurga as well) have been spent stealing the above mentioned fruits from my neighbours. We also used to fish for Tamarind and Gasgase (some form of red berries) during the summer. But since these were mostly available easily ( and hence probably never tasted that good). Custard apples always turned out to be raw, so never used to fish for the same.

Stealing Guava, pomegranate and Mangoes required some exquisite skills. usually follows a 3 stage process - finding the right target house, spotting the right fruits and timing the plucking. (and sometimes you need to be "Beware of Dogs", screeching gates, slippery floors etc etc ). Apart from that each fruit had its own set of problems

Guava - U need to get the riped one and not the rotten/raw one (the ones which fell on the ground were for secondary citizens)
Pomegranate - Finding a ripe one was tough and the plant has sharp thorny branches and you could not climb the tree as well
Mangoes - The size of the tree was somewhat scary.. the risk outweighed the benefits

I can remember sneaking out of the house from the backdoor (hated those doors which used to make screeching noise) during the hot afternoons of the summers. Between 2 -4 was the best time as most mommies who are the guardians of the fruits/ us would be fast asleep at this time. Before 2 pm they would be busy with the lunch and post lunch activities whereas by 4pm, the milkman used to wake them up. We used to roam around the locality during this period, take a guess at the least risky target (some spying ensured this) and u would go for the kill. Each member of the gang would take a turn indeed.

You would end up with half a dozen guavas / 2 mangoes/ 1 or 2 pomegranate / or pockets full of nellikayi for a day, which would be split between friends and savored along with some uppu/khara (salt and red chilli powder, except for the pomegranate). Also you were to make sure you would sneak back into the house and pretend to be asleep. Unfortunately you would be caught sometimes, which means being reprimanded, complained which would ensure no activity for a week when you would settle for Tamarind on gasgase. (and being condemned with bananas and moosambis from the market, these were the worst fruits along with apple)

this summer there are still plenty of guavas and mangoes... some kid somewhere in the by lanes of Chamrajpet might making his steal.. we will head for the street market sometime during the week and settle for some fruits using HKD....

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