My Grandmother and Bt.Brinjal
- Hi John,
Have written this personal piece on Bt.Brinjal. Do you think you can put it on FOU. A meaningful 2010. bye.
Only when the last tree has died, and the last river poisoned, will we realize that we cannot eat money.
A Cree saying
My Grandmother and Bt.Brinjal
Ettumanur is the place where grandfather told my grandmother, that his son, my father should not be informed about his death. As grandfather was dying my father wrote his exams, became the first Engineer in Ettumanur and came home to weep in my grandmother�s arms.
Ammachi of Ettumanur was what we children called our grandmother. She was the silent, lotus-eyed one, a farmer, who followed things of the soil.
One morning, in the midst of the bee dance, Ammachi of Ettumanur said, �Go get brinjal. Over there and there wherever its� seeds have fallen!�
As we jumped the steps, she of the thick black hair echoed, �When you snap them do not kill the worms. Nobody dies eating brinjals.�
And that became the way I would spend the rain and other childhood holidays with her.
What food can I bring for you I would ask the silent one and she would reply: lady�s fingers, tomatoes, chilies, onions, coffee seeds, coconut, beans of various shapes, ginger, garlic, quaint sized berries, green leaves of different colours and others which did not have names.
When I plucked brinjals for the first time, she let me into the world of the colour purple. Because purple I learnt had different shades, shapes: 2500 varieties of purple and non-purple brinjal.
I pressed my little finger on her elbow and my finger moved up and down as she chanted, �This is the land where brinjal first started growing. Your ancestors saw this purple vegetable ate it and liked it.�
I pressed my little finger on her elbow and my finger moved up and down as she put a little oil, grains of mustard, two chilies, and a pinch of earthsalt. That was how the Queen Pollinator fried brinjals.
And then her face would appear in this space: a space between food and hunger.
Ammachi of Ettumanur�s eyes sparkling in laughter. That was the way she smiled.
A square shaped space, which hung like a photograph between the fire in the kitchen and the rectangular wooden dining table where we sat down to food.
Feeding us that, which was made by her butterflies and bees and her worms.
And as we sat dangling our legs on the long wooden benches the brinjal tasted like the butter she had churned from a pot full of buttermilk the evening before.
Telling us stories of demons and goddesses.
In the battle between the seeds and demons, the soil gave up breath.
They incarcerated the doe-eyed ones� worms into the brinjal.
When we sat around another table, little did we know that our organs were being sold in the stock exchange. Our intestines were being hemorrhaged for company shares.
Listen to the oracle of the planet, sparkling eyes had said. The story can end this way or that.
And we ended it with terminator seeds.
With dead semen, the skeleton bones of earth.
When I think of purple I think of the skies in the drawing you made as a child, the lotus eyed one, had said one night when I sat on her lap. Like in brinjal.
Ammachi of Ettumanur, the Queen Bee Pollinator, inheritor of micro-organisms in the soil, keeper of cow dung, cow urine, seven children, returned to soil: rest in peace.