For years, i used to dread eating out of a banana leaf. The reason was simple. The leaf didnt have the boundary wall that a plate offered, and you had to be careful, not to spill food on you. That was the quintessential slip on its way to the lip, that caused a ton of anguish and another of reprimand from your folks !
The other reason for dreading the banana leaf was because it used to offer expanse ! Expanse enough to make many heaps of rice appear like a spoon full. And of course, complimented by many mounds of vegetables, served by what i recall as a set of people who seemed so passionate about getting men and women to believe that ‘pear’ was an exotic shape !!
Where best to see this but marriages. Every guest had so much rice that sometimes used to give me a complex. On two counts. Both on account of speed of the clean up operation and the quantity of the clean up ! For within minutes, the leaf used to be shimmer ! And the green would show. And there i would be, huffing and puffing to see if i could finish the first serving. Morsel after morsel !
The banana leaf has always been a tradition that you couldnt miss if you travel to the south of India ! Biodegradable! And very special ! And of course, quite an honour !! And by the way, the food takes a new taste when served on the leaf !
For all those years that i steadfastly stayed away from it, i miss the good old leaf these days.
Today, when i nibble at my chappati thinking of how many calories went in with each swallow, the carefree, boundary less banana leaf seems to bring a new definition to the word ‘temptation’ !
Inside my head, i try hard to close my eyes. And think of something else. The futility of the excercise make me realise how difficult it can be…to turn a new leaf !!