The Forest Feast : Dessert : Part 4 ( (final )

Dessert :

Next up : Dessert , with a Forest Flavour
Without a doubt , it’s time to savour
The fabled delicacy of tribal lore
The mottled green-and -orange-skinned Tthetthayitaangar Papayas ,
lowered with ropes into deep wells to cool ,
Then cut open in the hot afternoon and sliced, never peeled ,
the black seeds nestled in moist fibre never thrown away
but kept for recycling into the Five Seed Maghaz .

She shouts with sudden delight , biting into the firm cool saffron flesh
The sweetness a sheer shock of pleasure: everyone smiles indulgently

And now to imbibe the heavy sweet soporific Mahua Flower Wine
Tomorrow to more marching : Today to celebrate.

The Thaap of the Maandar drum decrees that tribal dancing must begin.
She is no stranger , dancing with abandon in the Jhumar group,
Arms wound around waists and matching rhythmic steps :
The village hugs the newcomer, and makes her their very own .

Last Course


Chewing on Green Heart – Shaped Betel Leaf , astringent
With areca- nut folded into cones verdant
The satiated Simdegan diners reflect ,
And ruminating , pronounce to this happy effect :

No papayas as sweet as those of Tthetthayitthaangar :
No snakes more deadly

No ants redder or more sour
when ground into a chutney blazing with red chillies

No Hadiya more effervescent :
No Mahua more intoxicating

No company more invigorating ,
than that of the Oraon :

These are riches
beyond the dreams of Avarice

The Hosts are delighted :
Now isn’t that nice ?

And then the Bison -Horn-Pipe calls ,
In Simdega Forest’s Tree- pillared halls
Thrilling wandering minstrels strum
And all the tribal elders hum :

Dance till you drop , O Tall Oraon Braves !
Dance, O Maidens of the Sidelong Glances, Singing , Sloe- eyed and Satin-Skinned ,
To the beat of the Maandar Drum !

The cry rises near and far :
Johar , Jharkhand ! Hul Johar !

( ASA )

2 thoughts on “The Forest Feast : Dessert : Part 4 ( (final )

  1. Madhumathy

    Appetizing sensuality of food belonging to a different culture is so well expressed in poetic form.


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