Scent of a green chili

Sunita Giri 12:15 AM |


After a long time back, last week I had my meal with green chili. I mean rice, lentil and then; just green chili. I am smart but bit lazy and it sure has its way of working on me more often than I want it to grip me totally. So, sometimes when it really comes to making curry, I rule out. Its not that I am not feeling well on that particular day. Sometimes I just don't feel like making it, even when the curry is just waiting and staring at me to make it.

So, now its rainy season and this means green chilies seasons. I love the scent of green chili as it hold so much childhood memory in my mind. The raw and sweet scent of green chili has so much power to send me into my memory lane, into the lane of childhood and mischievous time that is associated with it.

Good for people like me, who is lazy. Some times its mango that serves as a good company to have my rice, but; mango is just too sweet to have rice  and rice is something we do not eat as a dessert. Rice is our staple food and its a main course. It needs something spicy, something hot, something that has all the spicy taste to have it.

Now its easy to say that I am just too lazy to make curry and then have my meal with just sweet scent and taste of green chilies but there was time in my life, we had curry that was too bland and stale and we had no option but to have our rice with the help of green chili.

But then I was young child and growing up in Bal Mandir. I was one of the pickiest person like so many in my group, and liked only few curries they made in Bal Mandir. On top of that during the rainy [ or hot seasons] which is coincidentally also the time of chili, curries did not taste that good.

But plucking chilies was not the easy task and normally its been discouraged by the supervisors, mainly housemothers and didis [room nannies] also used to keep an eyes for us, so that we don't fall on the chili garden. But, there were more clever children’s and number of housemothers and didis were were limited so, we always used to get enough for us as well as for a group for others girls who were close to us. Some time they used to fall in the kitchen garden to get the chili for us.

Cooking meal for 200 children daily would not have been fun, so it used to show up on food they made or maybe it was just too hot to enjoy the work they were doing in front of big fire on hot season. So, green chili was and is best way to devour rice, even if  we are not feeling  lazy, but just the bad day that the curry did not turn out to be as tasty as we hoped for. Of course, it has full  power to overshadow the stale curry or pickle which is not of your taste.

When I look back and try to understand that why they discouraged us to have our meal with chili at the time when we did not find curry up to our taste. Maybe, it was too hot for our age, and they were just trying to protect us from its hot taste. Some adult did get scared with the hot taste of chili, and some of us needed more  than they could believe. the sight and scent of it used to send them in dizzying mood.

Because Bal Mandir grew all its annual requirement of chili inside our kitchen garden. So protecting it from us was also part of housemothers job. No wonder, if they used to scold us if we did not oblige to the restraining order to stay away from chili.  Slapping us, pulling our hair, raising their voice to keep us from it also used to fail completely, that just did not work on us. Sometimes they used to scare us saying that having too much chili may cause diarrhea. And strangely enough then, they were true also.

But when I look back and try to understand it, I think they should have been more concern with the fact, that we used to throw more small and unripened chilies on the alleys of the chili garden, than to keep the best one in a hope that it is hotter. Because we were too young to know, so we were not that experienced to pick the one, that was right one. No doubt, we threw more on the floor. Sure, that was a huge loss of food, but, If only; housemothers would have been wise enough to understand the need of it and then supply it during meal time. They would have controlled huge loss of chili that went on ground to rot.

I do remember having my meal with too much chili that in the morning, even after flush I could see all seeds floating on commode. Even that, did not deter me to  have my meal with too much chili. I am not convinced to blame it at all to chili alone, for my upset stomach, because chili was the savior for us, when it comes to swallow the meal, which we did not wanted to eat. Had not it been chili I could not have had my meal so many times. My weight used to go seriously down, in those months and then again it used to pick up around October.  Although, we did not slow down eating hot chilies but, yes we had to hide it from didis and housemothers so that we don't get snapped by them.  

My love for hot chili has not faded out, even after more than twenty years now. That is why I know for sure, chili should not be blamed for upset stomach or diarrhea as adult believed when I was child.

No wonder, today I strongly believe, if we like something it will  never harms us and if we don't like it, we love to blame it for all the bad things that bring it to us. In the case of hot chili its one thousand percent true. This proves perfectly to the people in our life too.



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