This is something that I had posted on Facebook some years ago when the jackfruit was declared to be the Stated fruit of Kerala, to which state I belong.
“We had no jackfruit trees at our home in Kannur and we siblings became real gluttons when someone brought us one from their homestead. My mother liked the variety with the soft pods that would slide into one’s throat with the slightest movement of one’s tongue. We preferred the “varikka chakka” which we could bite into and chew , savouring the sweetness.
I got married in the peak of Summer and my husband’s house was surrounded with coconut palms, mango and cashew trees and several jackfruit trees. Just a day or two after I had landed there, a ripe jackfruit was sliced open and left on a bamboo winnow on the kitchen floor, for whoever wanted to pick up a few pods and eat. I’m not sure how many I must’ve gorged myself on during the course of that day, throwing decorum to the wind.
This was way back in 1978, when toilets were still not part of the village households . Folks just walked out into the open , found a convenient nook behind some bush, away from everyone’s vision and tended to nature’s calls. Electricity had not made its entry either. I guess I liked the novelty of it all.
But I hadn’t reckoned with the protests of my bowels against my dietary indiscretions. Well close to midnight , it started rumbling so bad that I had to wake up my husband and tell him of my plight. We tapped on the door where my sister-in-law slept and with her I stept out into the ominous dark night. She held a small lamp in her hand, shielding the flame from the breeze. I couldn’t obviously sit down within the arc that the faint flame lit up. I had to move beyond it into the darkness, where anything could be waiting for me to step on or bite or sting my posterior. But life sometimes throws these challenges before you when your adrenaline rush caused by fear loses out before the more persistent demands of the digestive tract.
And then the increasing decibels of the wind that I broke, that echoed into the stillness of the night and the sounds of the treacherous cascade that escaped from my bowels. What could be more humiliating for a young woman whose tale of gluttony would leave these midnight memories for the amusement of one and all.
I still love the fruit by the way .