Fruits for All — Eating, Sharing, Curing

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 15 Jul 2019

Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Most countries grow different types of fruits. Cold countries such as Europe, Canada USA and colder parts of other countries grow apples of different shapes, sizes and flavors. These regions also have cherries, plums and other varieties that grow best in relatively cool climates.

In warm regions such as Saudi Arabia and middles east countries, a common fruit is Date again of varied sizes and tastes.  Two other fruits that require warm weather to mature are Tarbooz and Kharbooz. These have thick outward skins but delicious red insides that are delicious and quench one’s thirst in the warm weathers. I have given these local names (don’t know their English counterparts), but these names are used in many countries from Turkey to Iran to India with slightly different pronunciations. Citrus fruits like oranges grow in many regions of the world and are quite popular for their taste and flavor.

Another delicious fruit that ripens in summer months is called lichi.  It has a brownish skin that has to be peeled off to display a whitish fruit that is delicious beyond words. One must eat several of these lichis since they are small and have relatively large seeds that are to be thrown away. The name of this fruit suggests that it was earlier grown in China and then found other pastures to grow including in India.

Kiwi fruit is another fruit that grows in cooler climates in many countries but mainly in New Zealand California and Italy. An interesting aspect of this fruit is that there are two varieties of kiwi trees – one male and the other female. In order for the fruit to grow properly, there should be one male vine near nine or ten female vines.

Another fruit that is quite common in many parts of the world is grape. It grows in many regions but one memory that I have of this fruit is a grape tree in Southern Germany, weighed down by the large number of grapes that presented a beautiful sight and were also delicious to eat.

Coastal regions are known for the palm and coconut (narayal) trees which produce coconut that gives healthy, tasty juice as well semi solid white part that is eaten. When there is some breeze the branches and the large leaves move around or should I say dance interestingly.

Then there is the common fruit banana that grows in most parts of the world including India. In the South of India especially in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, dozens of different varieties of banana – both in their outward appearance, size as well as taste are found and consumed. Not only banana as a fruit but banana chips are popular with people. Each fruit has its own nutritive value and benefit. Bananas are good to eat if a person has some stomach problem. Another fruit that is beneficial for people suffering from diabetes is called jamun. It is about the size of a lichi and is violet colored and ripens in summer months. It is being sold in large numbers these days in the warm climate of Delhi and surroundings.

Why have I not mentioned the fruit mango? In India it is called the king of fruits by many people although its Indian name is Aam, meaning ordinary. There are not enough words in my vocabulary to praise its deliciousness and delicacy. I should just say that if you eat a ripe mango you will fall in love with it and would like to eat dozens of mangoes at one go.  This fruit again has many different shapes sizes, colors and obviously prices at which they sell. Again different regions of India produce different varieties of mangoes – but all are delicious and appetizing.

One strange experience I had when I was travelling in a train in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu was that hawkers were selling mangoes and other items at the railway platform. Nothing strange – this is quite common in Indian railways with hawkers enticing passengers with different items – to eat or to take as gifts etc. But this particular hawker who was selling mangoes said that this variety was called makhi aam.  Now makhi means an insect in Hindi. So what did this name imply? The hawker did not speak much Hindi language but all he said was “Eat it you will like it”.

We peeled the mango and what happened – a living insect (or was it a mosquito?) flew out of the mango. We were surprised beyond words but the makhi aam was as delicious as any other variety. Apparently the makhi had not spoilt its taste.

As I indicated earlier, there are several varieties of this king fruit – may be about a hundred. Despite this, or maybe because it is felt by some government agencies that these different varieties should become well known to ordinary people, annual exhibitions called mango festivals are held in some prominent parts of major Indian cities. Efforts are made to exhibit newer varieties on such occasions.

This year two new varieties have been given exotic names – Dhoni and NaMo. Dhoni is the name of a prominent cricketer who is quite popular these days because of the world cup cricket matches going on in England this year. And what about NaMo? Well, if you haven’t guessed what it signifies, it is named after the Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi whose party BJP won a spectacular victory in the Indian Parliamentary elections in May of this year.

Politics is another aspect of life that becomes prominent if all walks of life – economy, governance, parliament, education, culture and all aspects of life. Now we can say that in India it is important in cultivating mangoes also. Good as long as we don’t have conflicts and tensions but believe in peace, harmony, justice and delicious taste.

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Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Jul 2019.

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