Borassus flabellifer/Ice apple, often referred to as simply 'palm fruit', is a well-loved fruit. The season of this fruit varies across regions; in this part of the coast it usually lasts from December to March. We have quite a few palm trees bearing this fruit in our fields in the village. However, over the years, the menace of people stealing the fruit to sell in cities is on the rise. During the day, the men go to work, and the women-folk of the house generally avoid confrontation even when they know it's being stolen. Also, people living there don't associate much value with such foods; on the contrary, people pay exorbitant prices for such 'exotic' foods in the city.
This time, we had to visit the village for a Bhootha ritual in the evening. We went a little early to try and pick a bunch or two of these delicious fruits, if spared from the thieves. We were lucky, as there was just one bunch which had a few tender ones. The others were over-ripe which meant it would be less juicy, hard and tasteless. But the question was getting the bunch down, as the tree was taller than usual, and the stick used to pick the fruits was quite pliable. Thanks to my Dad's rural upbringing, he comes up with great ideas; also the way he knots up things can put a sailor to shame!
My Grand-aunt's calf grazed close by, and it looked like she was unwilling to leave. With continued effort, much tugging and pulling, we were finally able to pull down two bunches. Ah, the happiness when I sank my teeth into those beautiful juicy little 'eyes', in the soft evening light with shadows lengthening by the minute- it was magical.
Finally, no visit to the village is complete without a shot or two of the fields at dusk, so here I leave you with this picture!