Tag: View Point

Taste of Soursop

soursop

The fruit with prickles stocked in large quantities in the cart caught my attention. Though it is the season of  jack fruit, the fruit in offering looked a distant cousin of the same.

A close look spoke a different story all together. And the fruit vendor insisted that I buy one. To my ignorance, he added a chapter on the significance of the fruit, locally (Kerala)  referred to as ‘attichakka’, and “it is a healthy fruit for cancer patients.” As the Malayalam (language) name goes, the fruit is in fact a variety of jack fruit.

With a thick crust and custard apple like inner formation of white creamy edible pulp surrounding seeds, the fruit left a mixed taste of a tangy and citric custard apple.   Of course, the fruit did not fancy my palate, but my inquisitiveness led me to search. My quest landed me on Google, and with the information in hand I clicked the name ‘guyabano’. A further search led me to its English name ‘soursop’, called so because of its sour or rather acidic taste. In fact, its names were endless.

A native of South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Saharan parts of the African nations, soursop’s adaptability to the tropical climate has brought the fruit to the Southest Asian countries as well.

As a rich source of carbohydrates,  vitamins (mainly C & B) along with minerals such as potassium and dietary fibres, the fruit has become a staple with ailing patients. According to a well researched site , a research conducted in 1976 found a chemical in guyabano or soursop that is “10,000 times more powerful and potent than a drug used for chemotherapy called Adriamycin.”

To quote another site, “soursop consists of annonaceous acetogenins, which might stop the development of damaged cells just before they could become cancerous. {Also} soursop has demonstrated specific guarantee in eliminating cancer of the breast.”

Researches have also found its significance in various other treatments that include  regulating blood sugar, controlling hypertension, preventing anemia, and relieving pain and inflammation.

A fruit is a fruit anyway. Little wonder, the commercial market has utilised soursop to flavour candies, make drinks, and other  sweetmeat. Someday I hope to taste its other delicacies!

Going back to the fruit vendor’s information, the fruit comes to the market and gets sold out fastest, especially with the Regional Cancer Centre working in full swing and the families of patients taking good care of them. I looked at the humble fruit that hardly spoke but works wonders, definitely.

Father

fathers day

My name, ‘Deeya’, has always fascinated me. Etymologically, the word has its roots in various languages. But my father named me ‘Deeya’, inspired by the Hindi word ‘Diya’, which means ‘lamp’.

I grew up listening to my school teachers, fondly, referring to me as the ‘lamp of the family’; and I travelled with my family where ever my father’s transfers took us, changing schools and accommodating cultures and traditions.

Once on a long vacation, we happened to be in our family home in Kerala, and my father showed me his world of books and writings. There I came face to face with ‘Deeya’, my father’s pseudonym.

A surprise indeed! My father had never mentioned his joy of writing, except that he enjoyed reading my creative ventures. To help me improve my writing skills, he encouraged reading, bought books, gifted diaries, and advised me to make them my best friends.

Occasionally, he would enquire about my latest diary entry, and I used to read it out to him very reluctantly. Then it had mattered less to me. Gradually, I found myself sharing every single write up and poem I penned; and he was more than happy to view his opinions and mend.

In fact, my first book of poetry materialised due to his quiet work of passing on the poems to the publisher.

Years have passed by. Nothing seems to have changed. Even today we spend hours over the phone (distances hardly matter!), especially on holidays, discussing news, views, and his critical observation of my writings.

Need to mention, he hopes to see me read and understand the depths of Malayalam literature. To begin with, recently he gifted me an English translation of the great legends of Kerala.

Over a period of time, my relationship with my father has matured from a father-daughter one to a guru-shishya (teacher-student) level of understanding. A teacher, who understands, guides and accepts the student as she is.

I often wonder if I have idealised him. However, I am still learning from his philosophy of life. And I have realised that I am truly his “Deeya”. On this Father’s Day, I salute you, my dear acchan (Father in Malayalam).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Writesi

decipher

Some days I sit long hours glaring into the computer screen. I know what I want to write. But, the words simply refuse to come and thoughts vanish into oblivion. Here I am in one such boundless moment where, the mind is behaving meditative and I sense an absolute blankness.

However, somewhere deep within, I hear one of my favourite Rabindrasangeet play.

“Aaguner parashmoni chhnoao praane

E jibon punnyo karo……….”

The lines literally mean “purify my soul”.

And blessed I feel. I do not remember the ‘first time’ when I got to listen to this song. But I do remember the ‘every time’ when I listen to this song and am overwhelmed with emotions. The lines written in Bengali  with its in-depth meaning, spoke the universal language. It touched my heart deeply.

It is then that I picked up an English translation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali (Song Offerings), a collection of poems. To me, the precious creation is an honest heart’s journey of life in communion with the Almighty, and the spiritual connection in every simple thing that makes them the most extraordinary beings in life.

This year marks Gurudev’s (as he is fondly called) 154th Birth Anniversary (May 7, 1861). His creative endeavours are still refreshing. To quote one of my dearest friends from West Bengal, “Meaning changes with each passing phase of life….That’s the magic of Gitanjali.” “That’s the magic of Rabindrasangeet too,” I added.

Little wonder, my mind plays his music magically therapeutic. And I write, the words from my heart.

To Mothers

birdies

 

What does little birdie say

In her nest at peep of day?

Let me fly, says little birdie,

Mother, let me fly away.

Birdie, rest a little longer,

Till the little wings are stronger,

So she rests a little longer,

Then she flies away.

 

The famous lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson, written ages ago, taught  and is still being taught, have remained ingrained in my mind.

My school long forgotten, and we classmates awaiting our little birdies’ flights, still enjoy reciting this poem.

As I clicked the picture of a nest with little birdies in my garden, I look at the mother bird struggling to keep her calm.

The hummingbird that appears ageless, in her tiny body, blue sheen, and beak sharpened to perfection, fluttering, I wonder how much we struggle to look young. At the same time, life has been a sweet struggle when we take the role of providers to our children. Probably, all in the hope of living up to their expectations!

And then comes the day, when they find their way into the bigger world of dreams and aspirations. The excitement to take on an independent life makes them camouflage their love, and it transpires into achieving a living.

Apparently, most mothers, in spite of their busy schedules and work, find it hard to deal with this parting. Gradually, their love transcribe to loving selflessly. And then they learn to live with the day.