A Forest Feast : Part 3 : Main Course

Main Course :


The visitors are ravenous :
so in the cool shade
of the forest glade
the main course is laid
by the waiting crew
without further ado :
The aromas are marvellous !

There’s Rice , fermented into fragrant rice – beer
Light Golden Harnataand Hadiya served
in freshly folded green Sal-leaf cups
Effervescent and slightly sour like champagne
To wash down a meal of Moringa Drumstick Curry,
the Sehjan chilli – hot ,
Boiled and spiced Red Masoor Daal Lentils ,
With a tempering of coriander seed, cumminseed, turmeric ,
black pepper , mustardseed, onion , and onionseed,
Asafoetida, ginger , garlic and curry leaves
And more Rice , sticky – steamed ,
Piquant with Red Ant Chutney ground with Andhra Red Chillies
Served on fresh green thorn-pinned Sal-leaf platters.

Heaped plates and seconds are the well-known norm
Both guests and hosts are conversant with form

The marchers fall to :
Again with no ado
And in record time
Polish off all the food
Which is good , really good
But so hot- hot , Whew !
Wiping sweat off , Phew !
But the Hadiya is cooling ,
No kidding , no fooling ,
It tastes like Soda and Lime !

The effervescent Hadiya puts a spring in all steps ,
The Red Ant Chutney makes the diners antsy
The Red Chillies and assorted spices are very stimulating ,
And so , everyone is itching for the dancing to begin :
But wait : there’s more !
For dessert awaits .

Meanwhile , the forest birds have been helping the tribal minstrels
To serenade the diners , with a divertimento to rival that of Mozart .

The Red – Vented Bulbul sings its short overture
The Koel takes it up , piping a response
In piercing sweet melody
The Chirping Sparrows make up the chorus
And soon a bird-concert takes shape in the Sal- grove of Simdega Forest
Courtesy : Nature’s Ornithological Ensemble
Aided by some rhythmically chattering chipmunks
Some chittering monkeys , and black eyed lemurs
By the rustle of tree leaves in Sal Forest Groves
and the trills of the rills flowing down from the hills
And the song that Spring sings in the mountain springs
Where silver trout still glisten
And while you listen
The sunshine glisters
gold on the glassy waves

This is what refreshes the Soul of Man
And lifts the spirits of Warriors of Peace
Guardians of the Forests, the Tiger’s allies
Earth’s Army , Champions of the Rivers and Streams
Brothers of the Birds , and Keepers of Dreams

This nourishes the hearts of Tthetthayi’s guests
Encourages them to go on with their quests
And this is what inspires the tribals to dance
And puts the brightness in every glance

But first : Dessert !

( ASA )

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