The banana plant in the garden fell down due to the wind yesterday. Biga reminded me about the bananas in the plant and we rushed out to the gardens to confirm whether they are still with the mother plant protected from fellow neighbors. Biga used the biggest knife in the house (vettukatti in Malayalam) and cut the bananas apart from the plant. We carried them home and thought to wait till they are ripe and capable to be eaten. I thought to interact with the bananas and being a good listener I asked them to narrate their story about their birth and their existence in Kerala.
The bananas started explaining their story. From here onwards I am away from the story and leave it to the bananas to narrate it. I hope they are good writers and will explain their journey of life in a better manner.
We have a long story that is not possible to narrate within this limited time but we will try to explain you what happened with us and how we came into existence in kerala. Our mother, the great banana plant was planted by a farmer born in Kerala using the banana rhizomes. Rhizomes can be found growing on the side of a matured banana plant.
The mother banana plant, when child(banana rhizome) was taken off from the soil and dipped in a water solution of DDT(dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane) to protect itself from the insects and worms. The farmer had experience at handling similar children before and was a well known plantain father. He placed our mother into the solution for 15 minutes.
The next process was initiated by his son who digs a hole of about 30 centimeters and placed sand, ash and salt into it. The farmer hit on his head since he was singing the song from Malayalam movie ‘four the people’. This was one of the songs the father used to hate. The boy turned around and started laughing in a feeble voice.
Next the farmer took our mother out of the solution and cut the roots short making them adjust in the hole. He then placed the mother banana plant into the hole and the farmer’s son started covering it with soil until it was covered to the ground level.
My mother was fed with water regularly to make it healthy and living. Enough sunlight and sufficient air made her breathe and digest well. Within a time period of 10 months she was holding us. A small flower called the banana flower was seen in the front of us. This was then cut by farmer. Upon insistence our mother replied that we will not become healthy if the flower exists.
The farmer used banana flower to feed his family. They prepared a thoran called vazha koombu thoran from it. We still remember the boy smiling and satisfied while having the food. We know mothers prepare sweetest food in the world and it is never comparable.
We started growing and reached a stable state after 3 months. Now it was 1 month remaining for us to be young and leave our mother plant. Everything was working fine until yesterday’s wind that led the mother plant loss control and due to the heavy weight she fell down. This was our story of growth and prosperity.
I hope you enjoyed the story by bananas. Bananas are still not in an eatable state and we plan to follow the traditional rules to make them ripe and yellow. Cutting bananas from their mother plant is a skill and the way of cutting facilitates its traveling and further life. The stem of a plantain should be cut in a ‘U shape’ that makes them easy to carry. We were in a hurry and cut it straight.
These bananas along with the stem can be hung on a rope tied to a ceiling facing the floor. They have to be covered with a coir sack and tied in such a way that they are in complete dark. People also apply mineral lime over them and tie using sacks to ripe early.
The other way is to cut bananas from the stem and place them in a muddy pot with incense sticks and covering them with a lid for 1 day. The smoke inside the pot due to incense sticks will enable the bananas to ripe faster.
We plan to follow these traditional steps and eat the bananas as soon as possible.
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