The first time we set eyes on the land, in March/April 2006, the light was perfect. The sun was about to dip and there was that dreamy blue haze that made everything fairy-like. The big Banyan was the Enchanted Tree, Moonface was around somewhere and the light rain could only be the work of Dame Washalot. And what were those tall-ish shrub-trees all over? OMG, they're custard apple trees! Another good omen, this is a sign. So we sat beneath the Tamarind tree and talked about the price with Hanumanthappa and gang. We quoted, they refuted and we agreed and so it was done.
Within a few months, we started getting ripe custard apples off the trees. What does one say about this fruit? Google it and you get nothing. Well, you do get a Wiki description - apparently it's called a bullock's heart, coeur de boeuf... How gross! How unsettling! That such a delicate piece of architecture, requiring both tongue and teeth to work in tandem should be named so. Oh well, new histories shall be created. Let it be known that the custard apple was Pattabhi Rama Reddy's favourite fruit. Let it be known that the botanical name that it goes by is Annona Reticulata. Lovely Annona. Distant cousin, surely, of Ananas. But in temperament, more Melanie than Scarlet. Let it be known that some make an ice cream from custard apples. Let it not be asked how they get the flesh off the seeds.
Oh horror! Elsewhere it is said that the custard apple is generally rated as the mediocre one, the "ugly duckling" of its species... Fie! What a ghastly lack of imagination.
Dig this. A hot afternoon and a perfect custard apple. Firm, not squishy and oh yes, ripe. You open it tenderly not wanting it to fall apart. Behold two halves. You are wearing shorts and a grey tank top. You sit on the steps and stare out wondering if there will be rain in the afternoon. You scoop one lovely section into your mouth. Slowly you seperate seed from flesh, swallow, spit the seeds as far as you can...and so it goes. By the time you've finished it, your mind has wandered past Woody Allen to Allen Shore, Boston Legal, Death by Chocolate at Corner House, swimming in the Bangalore Club pool, potato chips, warm legs, your grandmother, summer holidays, your first cycle, The Big Lebowski, sloth bears, why do people grow up, Ullyses, Mel Brooks...
Not a bad trip, no? So don't diss them custard apples. They're they stuff dreams are made of.