Watermelon

Jharkhand food series – 03

I opened my sleepy eyes one summer morning and looked outside. My bedroom window opened straight in the garden and I could see the lavish greenery, blooming flowers and chirping birds right from my cozy bed. My eyes wandered with a tiny sparrow chirping and hopping from one branch to another. It was on it’s own. As if it didn’t bother of anything and just wandered alone singing it’s own songs and loving her own company. Flying rhythmatically it sat on our iron gate. It appeared so tiny there but somehow blended with the grayish-black rusting gate. The sparrow sat there for a minute, twerked her head for a while and flew away. Might be she remembered her daily duties and took off to accomplish that?

It was then, when I suddenly noticed, how ordinary the gate looked. Of course, it had the charm of standing there since a decade. So what it has started rusting a bit? So what if it makes that cracking sound when opened? So what if it has deformed from places a bit? It still is the gate I would always love to open and come back in my this house. The house which gave me an identity, solace and unconditional love. That’s the door which leads me to my heaven on earth. But, still my heart cringed for something. It was time to leave the bed and my thoughts, so that’s what I did and got totally lost in my routine life.

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Balakrishnan Kaliyaperumal

The next morning, I woke up to the chirping again. But today, it was different. It was more robust. It seemed happier. I hastily opened my eyes and felt the garden looked more alive today. There was this sparrow meeting happening and everyone seemed too excited to put their views forward. I wondered if it drizzled a bit in the morning. The leaves in the garden looked fresh and danced with the wind. The colorful bougainvillea flowers too were clean, fresh and danced rhythmically today.

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Balakrishnan Kaliyaperumal

I guess the meeting ended on a very happy note. Everyone seemed so excited and content and flew together and sat on the iron gate again. My sleepy eyes opened wide. The gate was painted in a cool blue color. It didn’t look ordinary any more. It looked so extraordinary suddenly. It radiated energy, happiness and coolness all around. It looked so fresh and radiant. My heart swell up with happiness. I ran towards the gate to have a closer look. The gate was mended and painted. The swirls and climbers around it looked happy and great too. The sparrows were still sitting there chirping loudly. It seemed they wanted to tell the whole world how happy they were today. Their happiness was spreading like the sun’s beam on a dark spot. Enlightening everyone who came it’s way. Soon the gate was full of more sparrows, parrots, mynas and other colorful birds chirping loudly and hopping in excitement. I wondered what was the talk about?

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Gulmohar Doodles

I realized on that day that any ordinary thing can be made into an extraordinary element. It just need some patience, hard-work and tons of love. Anything can be achieved and can be given a new form and life if one has perseverance. Growing up in a small town, I saw and imbibed that in myself. I saw my grandmother and mother trying to make extraordinary things out of ordinary stuffs. No internet and not much ways of transferring or gaining knowledge yet they knew a lot. Everything was passed down from generation after generation. The quest to try, the zeal to learn and the willingness to fail and achieve. They always surprised me of their creativity. I am happy and feel blessed to have learned things from them. It is a blessing which can be passed on to another generation. And I thrive to do the same.

When my mom got married and came to my father’s home, she brought with her all the wisdom and knowledge which my Naanima (maternal grandmother) passed on to her. Along with her side jewelries and dresses she also brought her mother’s cuisine with her. That was the charm. Two families coming together. Both from the same state but a totally different way of food preparation, ingredients and taste. My folks never believed in wasting food. I remember eating lots of curries made out of peels, flowers, leaves and young branches of different vegetable plants/ creepers. It was my mother who started making the watermelon rind dry curry and even when people retaliated in the beginning, they soon started looking forward to it. It was a big hit at home. Summer meant “tarbooz k chilke ka bhujia”. Everyone loved it. Of course we made murabba out of it too. But, the bhujia remained my favourite.

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Gulmohar Doodles

So you see, it would be a lie if I tell you that every time I get to see a watermelon, I don’t think about the watermelon ridge bhujia/curry and salivate. This bhujia is one of the special food which was prepared without fail whenever a big fat watermelon was brought home during the summers. It is packed with nutrients. Health was the primary thing even back then. Food was organic, home grown, nutritious and mouth watering. How I miss eating one more morsel of this bhujia wrapped in generous amount of ghee rice from my grandmother’s hand 😔

I will be posting the recipe soon. Do try making it and let me know how you liked it? Will you? Sending warmth and love your way till we meet again 😊

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