I could have been in about sixth or seventh grade and tamarind used to be the best food of my childhood memories. Perhaps our age is just right to like its soury, citrusy and tangy taste. During those days, I was very close with Junkiri and Dibya during those time,because we were in same class as well as we were bench mates also, not to mention we all lived in Bal Mandir.
Girls in our school used to have tamarind as a snacks or during the class to get rid of boring sunny days of hot summer. We did not have money like those who grew up in family to have extra money for those extra expenses like that. In Bal Mandir there was nothing called pocket money concept, when we were young because we did not needed it for anything, as all our needs were met. But sometimes we did had money to buy something of our choice, a good way out from those group food or meal year round. School lunchtime or after school hours made us hungry like ghost, although they used to provide us four time meal a day but it seemed that, those meals were not sufficient for children's like us, who were ever hungry.
When I try to understand, why we were hungry like that ? why they used to say that we were not breast feed during our childhood that's why we were hungry all the time. But new age lifestyle psychologists call it emotional eating. This somewhat satisfy me answer, may be we used to feed our emotions. In absence of our loved one around us, who took care of our needs and ruffled our hair; we shook shelter in foods to pamper ourselves or feed our emptiness that lies in our unconscious mind.
What the heck, lets enjoy tamarind pickle and not worry about what’s their opinions about our never ending hunger pangs.
I and Dibya used to manage money to buy tamarind but Junkiri never had money to chip in for food, because her relative never used to visit her in Bal Mandir and give her money to spend occasionally. Therefore, she used to manage for sugar, which she had to get from the store or steal it anyhow before we enjoy the tamarind the pickle. And as for Chili we had to fall in front of the chili plants and when we stand up from the fall, we already had handful of green chilies for the pickle.
Finding a small bowl for preparing the pickle was one of the toughest task, as in Bal Mandir we hardly used to have small bowl, which was sufficient to prepare food only for three young girls. Smallest bowl in Bal Mandir was enough to contain rice or lentil or pickle for at least 18 children. I can't remember who owned that red plastic bowl but we found anyway one to make it. There is no doubt that, we must have stolen it from one of the girl, who owned that bowl, just can't remember whose bowl was that.
Once we had all the ingredients to make the pickle, we used to go to one corner of the long veranda, and made sure there was enough and long clothes hanging on there to hide us, so that we could make the delicious and spicy pickle and then dig in all by ourselves, what we had just made.
Hiding ourselves in the place, where about forty girls lived in two different rooms and about twenty girls visiting from other rooms to see their close friends, staying in this part of of the building was definitely not easy task for us.
Sometimes we had to stop our work in process or devouring the pickle in the middle of it, if someone showed off the place where we were hiding ourselves, at that part of the veranda. stopping it meant, we don't have to share it with them. I was one of the mean person, who was least interested to share our delicious food with them, Junkiri was equally unwilling to share our foods with those unwanted poppers but, Dibya she was willing to share it with others, occasionally; when they appeared during our devouring time. She was the skinniest in our group but was the most kindest than two of us. We two did not used to share it with anyone but she used to share it from her share of food. Junkiri and I thought, her sharing quality had made her skinniest.
We were so childish that we used to eat its pit too, yeah all of it.
The Tamarind pickle used to be very tooth achingly citrusy and soury therefore, that hot green chilies added much needed extra zing to the pickle. We used to add lots of sugar cut that sharp citrusy and soury taste of tamarind and also to kill the hot taste of green chilies. It was one of the best food I had during my childhood and one of the best memories to cherish of that time; which reminds me how greedy we were, how careless and carefree we were.
But, that's what makes us child right ?