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Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old.

That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit.

Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fruit. It was like meeting an old friend. I wish I could say that the fruit was as sweet as my memories. The bag I bought was overripe and tough. But now I know where to look for it. Will be back with an update next weekend!

And Vikram Doctor, please write about falsas next. It's a tiny purple berry and again, I don't know what the world calls it outside Punjab. Maybe you'd be the lucky omen and I'd find that one too.


Anonymous said…
This is the 1st time i have seen this fruit and it has a nice green color to it...... It makes us so happy when we see something which reminds us of our childhood dayz.
wow, that indeed is a strange looking and new fruit for me. Never saw or heard about it before.
Prathibha said…
I hv seen this only once when ALka posted..never saw in bombay..but when I see next time will definitely grab them..:)
Anubha said…
I know this fruit and i too have sweet memories of this sweet fruit. Its the fruit of lotus flower and we used to call it "Kamalgatta".And they have similar taste of kaccha badam but much sweeter and tenderer and are slightly fragrant.These seeds like things are dried puffed to make lotus puffs
Deepika said…
Does this have white pulp and black seeds? I ate something on Bombay Chowpatti when I was very small- can't remember anything except that it looked similar to your picture and that I'd loved it....and I know I'm not talking about Sharifa (custard apple).

You've made me nostalgic about phalsas too..annd shahtoot. It's been ages.
jayasree said…
I read that article by VD. I look for his articles. Like you said, some of our mysteries get solved and also we get introduced to new ones too.
sheen said…

Back in north India, U.P. to be precise, it is called 'kamal gatte' coz it's the base of the lotus flower, and the tiny fruit u like to eat are the unripe lotus seeds.

I hope this info helps in some way... :P
Of rainy days said…
i knw falsas.. i was in a panchgani school and i remember we used to get to eat falsas, one because they were cheap and in season and the nuns knew that we were so sick of eating bananas everyday.. i think we call it falsa here too..
JAWNSIN@@@@@ said…
nucifera seeds (Lotus).. go to Ulhasnagar and eat to your heart's content
KD said…
I am from Amritsar, This is in abundace in rainy days. Its my favorite fruit. I am not sure if i call it a fruit or vegetable. But bottom line, Its the sweetest memory of my Childhood. eating it in summers and enjoying it. Thanks for posting the KAUL CHAPPANI
Pratyush Sharma said…
Last time I ate this fruit was in 1981. I was 5 years old then. I still remember that and never found it again.
Deepak Mehra said…
this fruit name [lotus fruit ]enjoy
Deepak Mehra said…
this fruit name [lotus fruit ]..
Saurabh said…
it is known as kaul chapni (lotus seeds) in punjabi. helps in preventing heart strokes, good for kidneys, insomnia, we eat this fruit daily

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