Ten jamuns for 50

As a kid I reckon eating jamuns straight from the trees. So when I last saw ten pieces of Jamun for 50Rs in Mumbai, I was in a state of culinary and monetary shock. My desire of celebrating to the purple sweetness faded. And I and my daughter, standing next to the vendor, waited for our turn for our limited source of joys.

A locale with her daughter inquired the rate and looked at the jamuns thoughtfully. Her daughter was about six years old. Like my daughter, her daughter had also pulled her to the vendor. Mumbai shopping culture is not very bargain friendly, so the delay in purchase convinced me, that the lady was short of money. She looked at her daughter who was still admiring the purple beauties. Just like my daughter. For a moment I thought to share ours. But the vendor agreed to give a few pieces for ten Rupees. The little girl carefully cupped the berries and smiled content.

I wanted to write so, but in fact the vendor offered something in Marathi, the lady denied and before I could offer, the lady and the girl where lost in the crowd. Those I bought that day where the most bitter jamuns of my life.

That whole evening I only wondered about my childhood and the beautiful trees around our house.  Amrood, imli, Ganga Imli, aam, jamun; we had grown up with them. I reckon, we never bought Amrood or Ganga Imli from market. They were just next door. And aam was always stolen. It was a popular belief that stolen and parrot bitten mangoes are the sweetest.

How can a childhood exist without these sweet pleasures of nature. Shouldn’t Such joys be uninhibited……… Free?

Trees are sources of livelihoods and not business growth modules. We don’t need to be great social workers to provide happiness to our kids. But our passive attitude towards deforestation is limiting lives. Fruits from a mall can never inculcate nature love. Only one who has spent himself in the shades of a mango tree and sucked the heavenly yellows right from the tree can understand the precious ness of these trees. Lets bring back trees to childhood. Let them have them for free. The decor plants or Palm trees alone can never serve the purpose. Let’s bring jamun, Amrood, Aam back for our kids. Let’s do it!

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Happy Valentine’s day…. with a tiffin

Valentine’s day has grown up to become Deepawali for lovers. At least there is Spark that doesn’t cause pollution. Never mind, there is this lot of woman whose indian husbands wait for that special day to make them feel special, but when that special day arrives they are reminded how special every day is. I belong to that lot and understand that ” on this 14th I am going to cut heart shaped carrots and fix them in the cucumbers.” (😅Thank u facebook)

There’s more. I would like to share with you the love story of our watchman. At least I believed so. Three years ago, when I was in Mumbai, every night at about 8 pm, our watchman’s wife brought him a tiffin. She would stay for an hour and leave. She religiously followed the schedule every season. And anyone who has survived, or not, in Mumbai rains could understand the height of her diligence. She was always there. Right there, rain flowing down her saree, winter giving the chill and summers….I, without fail, found her seated on that stone chair with the tiffin.

I gradually developed deep respect for them. They reminded me of my parents. Either papa would come for lunch or mother would take the tiffin for him. These days we are so busy we can hardly have our meals peacefully. Our education system has taught us one wrong thing “it has to be used to earn, even if we don’t need it.”Seriously, we don’t have time for us.

I really don’t know about the watchman and the lady, may be they were related in different ways. But they were having a lifetime. I take tiffin for my husband these days. It seemed funny and stupid first. With all those restaurants around, why bother? He can even carry his tiffin… Can’t he? And yes, where is the special day, gifts?………..

Life is too short to spend in what we don’t have….. So let’s have a tiffin and bless the watchman and the lady….and we have a happy Valentine’s day.