Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Bitter Truth....

Karela or Bitter Gourd is not anywhere close to being a favourite food of mine. But sometimes , you get curious after seeing the same unwanted vegetable presented in a different avatar. Like in a stuffed fried one.....

My blogger friend Magiceye, clicked and posted this as part of the project.

The karela/bitter gourd, at first sight, does not have much going for it. Its appearance, rough jagged exterior, its taste,  its bitterness,  go against it.

But cooking it differently sometimes makes you look again. 

And learn. That the vegetable , is a chock-a-block with medicinal benefits......

Is there a pattern ? .....

Was it a corrupt politician
or thief
in a previous birth,
that it is cursed
now in this life,
with a poky warty skin,
and limply
hangs on a vine,
amazing lobular leaves
and yellow flowers...?

And does it undergo
the Rites of Redemption
in this birth ?

A clean wash,
and then a gentle scraping
of all that is wrong.

A redemption cut
along the length,
and a purifying immersion
salt and turmeric water
till the sins flow.

The cut hurts,
as they are patted dry
and the seeds
of evil,
removed from the innards,
soon to be replaced
by new life stuffings
of cleansing spices,
comfort potatoes,
with a dash of
onions, chilies ,
garlic and ginger,
minor reminiscing
over a
previous tamasi life.

some willful ones
are then tied up,
the entire lot
purified in steam,
till they give in.

A final cooling off,
a trial
through hot oil,
and an offering
to all,
as  the old life goes into pieces,
singed and browned
in apology
on a plate.

the bitter gourds of life,
with great medicinal value,
God's way
of teaching someone
to atone for old sins
turn over a new leaf
in a new life.......


  1. Karela, a huge favorite of mine. But you really presented it in such a refreshing way, I could taste the bitter tangy vegetable .. You are a really talented poet

    1. Ritu, Thank you! Despite all this poetry inspiration, I still dont like karela ! Easier to write a poem than eat the karela :-))

  2. Have you thought of making this a poetry cookery blog? Your recipes in verse are better than some cookery blog recipes :)

    1. Zephyr, No I havent . Its fun keeping it general. And combining me and cookery is like putting together P. Mukherjea and P. Sangma....but thank you for the great suggestion :-))

  3. I love stuffed karela. It is a delicacy :). But, I hate the other ways in which the vegetable is cooked. I like the way you presented your recipe :).

  4. Great verse! Hope politicians take the hint and atone for their sins in this life itself!

    Have to confess, I quite like the bitter taste of the Karela. :)

    1. Manju, thank you. I hope so to. And I still dont like karela ....:-))

  5. As a child I'd visited a temple which had hell depicted through various wall paintings. I'd cut short by saying that your poem qualifies for a parallel inscription. If only it were true! I'd love to see the murderers, rapists, terrorists and some of our netas go exactly the way of all bitter gourd!

    1. USP, the possibly, first-time/first-birth bitter gourd lends itself to some great recipes, as the ladies above will guarantee. We will excuse those on the wall inscriptions. :-)) But thank you for the wonderful suggestion !

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  7. great one. loved the masterly way you have blended cooking, philosophy, and poetry together.

    1. Subhorup Dasgupta, Thank you . It happens when you dabble too much in everything, but are master of none ....:-))