Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The coconut tree I once took for granted

My great grand uncle's house in Jaffna was where I spent the last few years of my permanent residence in Sri Lanka. 

I loved it very much. Often, it's great yellow-creamed walls, and sandy yards filled with jasmine bushes and their lovely perfume float back into my adolescent mind now and then. It was the smell of balmy summers and  orange tinted skies. But I still can't forget the singularly magnificent, large coconut tree that stood out the front of our family home, snuggled in among the landscape of rural Jaffna
It was a king. A benevolent king whose role in life was to provide it's people (the residents of my great uncles estate), with beautiful coconuts whenever possible. 

Coconuts were an average normal part of our everyday life in Jaffna. My great grand-fathers owned coconut estates, just like many other men who lived in villages like ours all over Sri Lanka, and I was their typical coconut loving grand daughter.  Where we here in the western parts of the world enjoy an apple or two during the day (unless your like me and devour a few more than what's considered normal), those in Sri Lanka can joyfully relish the unique flavours of beautiful young coconuts all day long, either bought off the streets from vendors for a reasonable fare, or picked off their own trees by their very own hands. With home grown coconuts come a certain satisfaction in slurping down the juice of a coconut straight from your own yard. As a child, I grew off coconut juice as if it was the elixir of happiness. I slurped it down, inhaled it's sickly sweet flavour and indulged in its beautifully white flesh. We cooked with ripe coconut flakes and used it in all of our dishes - puddus, varrais and sweets and things. I used the empty shells as bowls to. We played with empty coconut shells in our front yard and used them to collect various miscellaneous things. 

But then we left Sri Lanka and it was quite some time before I tasted the subtle, sweet flavours of coconut juice again, when I went back to Sri Lanka for a holiday. I almost cried yesterday, when there, nestled in amongst ripe bananas and weird and wonderful exotic fruits, lay a bunch of beautiful, young, green coconuts whose shells shone like the beautiful memory of my great grandfather's glistening bold spot. Hehe

                  (This website has amazing photo's from all around the world, celebrating the diversity of our world; its cultures and lifestyles, people and food.)

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