Sunday, March 15, 2009

Memories of food - Elandampazham

As a child, we were not allowed to eat elandampazham. Chee, one of the aunts would admonish wheneverI expressed an interest in the forbidden fruit, we do not eat such fruit. It never occured to me ask her why. In much the same way as I never questioned, until much later, other pearls of wisdom handed down to us. I simply accepted it and stayed away from watermelon, sweet potato and elandampazham. All of which, presumably, occupied the lowest rung of edibles. And everyday I was left looking longingly at the wooden cart piled high with elandampazham as it did brisk business outside our school.

For about 10 paise, you would get a paper coneful of sour-sticky, ripe berries sprinkled generously with salt and chilli powder. I never, ever bought a cone but sometimes, on rare occasions, a classmate would offer me a single pazham. I would grab it quickly before she had a chance to change her mind. And once in my hand, I would roll the fruit in my palm, fully aware of the rule I was about to break. What if they found out about it? Would the smells fade by the time I reached home? What if the fruit burst and the juices stained my white shirt? Would I be able to explain it without giving away too much? My mind would be in turmoil. But I would succumb to the temptation and pop the fruit into my mouth. I'd bite into its sumptuous flesh and savour its sharp sourness. In the following years, I have started eating watermelon and I make the most delicious falafels using sweet potatoes. But elendampazham? The aftertaste of guilt that lingered once the berry was gone was not very nice.

On Milkmaid, maggi

6 comments:

Kalthoon tilakji said...

Your aunt said No may be 'coz of this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DtLGFKvviw

which is considered a 'record dance' song

SUR NOTES said...

oh please oh please give me the translation of Elandampazham?
Are they those small bright red berries, sour and divine? Normally sold alongside slices of raw mango, tamarind and (in gujrat) bunches of green saunf on the stalk.

i think i will walk to a school gate and find those suppliers of forbidden fruit and gorge.

aangtce said...

I still remember clearly the day i rolled the seed of elandapazham into the cap of the pen and closing the pen just to see what would happen... :D

whereimcallingfrom said...

I KNOW THE SONG! do not know the froot.

aangtce said...

@sur notes: yeah it is exactly those ...except i seemt to remember those as being dark red, almost maroon coloured more often than the bright red....

Anonymous said...

i used to eat the forbidden fruit
till one day an uncle saw me eating and said
"adhula puzhu irukkum" and I said "enge?" and pulled a half bitten berry and saw one squirming.

Stopped eating after that (for some time).