Thursday, July 10, 2008

When the groves started whispering to me

It would start with collecting cashew-nuts early in the morning. Being there I could never catch sleep. I would be up before 6, a coffee and follow granny to the fields to graze the cattle. We would tie the cattle in the filed and be back. Now I would go roaming to collect cashew nuts from the farm. I liked roaming alone. Not because I liked liked to be left alone, but because I liked to be without supervision. I would feel like a grown up. We had 8 trees in all. I liked the fruit as well. If the fruit was good I would take back fruits also. I liked eating the fruit with salt. The nuts would be put for drying. Granny's farm had two types of fruits, one yellow and the other red. Yellow fruits tasted good, but I liked the red ones because they were rare in our farm and the color was very attractive, though they did not taste as good as the yellow ones.

Then the letter would come, a letter telling I am supposed to come back to B'lore. The last week of May would be for returning to Bangalore, back to school, back to books, and back to everything I disliked. In the last week of May granny would make a fire pit and we would throw cashew-nuts we collected in the two months into the fire. This was followed by the aroma of burning cashew. Granny always knew when to put the fire off, and the right time in which the nuts would be fried. Then we would put sand to douse the fire. This was followed by another batch of nuts, and another, till we were out of cashew nuts.

Then we would take some light weight and crack open the nuts. Some were packed into bottles for me to take it to Bangalore. It was fun having cashew this way. Now a days I go to a shop and buy haldirams salted cashew. But this doesn't taste any good. No where near the cashews I collected and granny burnt for me. My hands used to be very dirty after cracking those nuts due to the oil, but the fun was priceless. The more cashews I collected the more I could get to eat in the end.

A week back when I was traveling in Moodabirdi, the smell of burning cashew brought back these memories. Missing the place where I grew up, missing granny at that place. Now she has shifted to Kasargod town.

PS: Sorry about the subject line. Could not find a better one.


Kit said...

Remember the hill that has to be crossed after Dhoopadakatte to go to Karkal? It's called Parpale Gudde. I don't if you've noticed, but there's a church on top of this hill. We used to go to this church on Sundays when I was visiting my grandparents in Karkal.
Outside the church, scattered all over the hill are cashew trees. After the church service got over, I used to roam around the hill and collect cashew fruits. There's a short-cut to Karkal town from the back side of this hill. Steep as it is, it was fun to come down this hill with the Bible and Hymn book in one hand and a bag full of cashews on the other. You can also get a close up view of Gomata Betta and Chaturmukha Basadi while coming down. Once I reached home, I would give the fruits that I collected to Grandma and we would eat them with salt. Yummmy!!!

Kim said...

ya I remember parpale gudde. I have spent many evenings on that hill viewing the town from there. But like I told you last time, still I am not able to recollect the church. I remember the shortcut as well.

This was when I started liking 'kallu uppu' the ones that come in crystals. And yes the fruits are yummy. Its been years I had the fruit. Last time it was not the season yet. The fruits were still green. This time around it was well past the season :( really missing the fruit and the fun

Kit said...

Of course! "Kallu Uppu" - how can I forget that! That's what we also used to eat the cashews with. Remember how they needed to be put in earthen pots (Mannina Madake)... You cannot put them in steel or plastic utensils since the salt would corrode them. Much stronger (in taste) they were.
Same here... It's been ages since I've eaten the fruit.

Kim said...

Ya, mannina madake reminds me of many more things. May be a blog on that some other day.
One of them is, granny used to salt unripe mangoes in an earthen pot. If mangoes fell before being ripe they would find their way into these pots.
She used to use these mangoes after they are salted to make a particular dish. I dont know what it is called. It was something like this.
Crush a salted mango, add water, chilli, and onion. Now put 'oggaraNe'(tadka). This was also my favorite side dish with 'ganji'