I was having bilimbi pickle today afternoon and I felt that I should dedicate my next post to Bilimbi fruit.
Bilimbi, also called irumbampuli in Malayalam is a sour tangy fruit that always reminds me of my childhood. There used to be this huge bilimbi tree in my grandma’s place and every summer it used to thrive with juicy fruits. I used to mix some salt and chilli powder in a kutti dabba and keep on eating this the whole day.
This is an unusual tree in Coimbatore because none of my friends here have seen or eaten this fruit. So who planted this tree in my grandma’s house?
When I was in pre-kg, my dad used to drop me at my grandma’s place every Saturday morning and pick me up in evening. Sometimes I would go over on a Friday evening and be there the whole weekend. I loved being with my Grandma. She was this huge, warm, loving soul. I have extremely fond memories of her.
My Grandma used to give me chukkati pazham (manathakkali) from her garden every day. She had 2 kinds..one that has red berries and another with black berries. Every afternoon, she would go out to collect the clothes that she had left to dry in the sun. I would also tag along and help her carry towels and banians and sometimes even a saree or two.
One afternoon, she plucked some berries and gave some to her new Daughter in Law. She did not notice my crumbling face and the scream that followed. You see, the single child syndrome started very very early. I stomped off into the garden. Poor Grandma wanting to mollify me followed my tracks to find me covered in soil with a plant in my hand. No, its not the chukkati pazham.. I had uprooted a new gooseberry plant that she had planted that morning. I must have 3 or 4 years old when this happened.
So my poor grandma went to the nursery and got a new sapling. When the tree started fruiting only everyone new that it is a bilimbi tree. (Both trees have similar looking leaves)
After many years only my mom told me the full story behind this bilimbi tree. I never knew I had such a temper back then. Maybe it was because I could act nutty with my grandma and there was no consequences to be faced.
Well, in a way it was good I got angry … we all got to eat bilimbi for many many years.