Fruits are an integral part of our lives both culinary and metaphorically. Orange juice is a must for many at the breakfast table or sliced apples if you may. The apple is a wonderful fruit and used a lot in literature and history. Not sure if it was for the color, but I remember kindergarten books have always had a smiling worm bore its way out of a red juicy apple. Talking of apples, I’ve always wondered why only a falling apple made Mr.Newton discover gravity? Why not any other fruit, or even an acorn, pine etc. Why not realize the same when leaves turned color and fell in autumn? Did someone plant the seed of the idea in his head like Chistopher Nolan’s motley crew in Inception? If you think about it, all the had to do in addition to going deep into layers of dreams was to travel time as well. If all that is required is a powerful sedative, then I’m sure there were a bunch of extractors back in the day! Maybe he had a vision and God told him about the phenomenon we today call gravity. The reason I bring god into this is again because of the darn fruit, the apple. Of all the fruits in the Garden of Eden, why was only the apple a forbidden fruit? You have plums, cherries, nectarines and a host of fruits for after all it was ‘the Eden‘, but why single out the apple? What about the case where Newton was struck by an acorn or just some birdshit and the concept of gravity came to him. Telling someone you discovered gravity from the act of a falling avian feces isn’t a very marketable idea. Given that the 16-17th century folks weren’t very impressed by his religious beliefs, using an item with a biblical reference makes a lot more sense that pigeon poop! Sadly, not many bought the ‘god gave it to you’ concept despite using an apple and it probably went worse that what birdshit would have done. Using the forbidden fruit in a catholic society to explain science, backfired and marked the phenomenon to be forbidden and Newton a heretic! Now these things never came into the open until now and I hope to reopen purushottams box here.
Another fruit that finds a place in mythology is the mango. If the apple banished Adam & Eve from the garden of Eden then a Mango split up the first family in Hindu mythology. You see when Narada brought the fruit-of-wisdom a.k.a a big juicy mango to Kailasa, he surely had something on his mind. Why not let them cut it into half and benefit both instead of a winner-takes-all scenario? I’m sure lady Parvati like all mothers advocated a share-and-share-alike policy at home. Being born to two of the most powerful & smart people in Hindu Mythology, the kids should have no need for any external wisdom. It’s like selling Sona Chandi Chawanprash to winners of the Junior Nobel prize. It’s also not like they were going to appear for the GRE/GMAT, all they had to do was getting into the family business of fighting demons and granting boons. Now if you were in Greater Kailash then a good race path would include checkpoints like Mayur Vihar, Ashok Vihar & Janakpuri. This being the real snow capped residence, included going around the world thrice with a vehicle of participant’s choice. Ganesha and Kartikeya were young blokes and hadn’t yet been trained to apparate for according to Pottermaniacs, you need to be 17 to learn that. Kartikeya sped away on his peacock, though that makes me wonder and raises another question. Are peacocks known to fly long distances and being fast at that as well? Back to the topic, where Ganesha just circumnavigated his parents as they were a manifestation of the world. Smart guy, but then if he was already that smart then why not just give the mango to the other brother? After all he who believes that a peacock is a fast flying bird, definitely could use some wisdom! Kartikeya comes back all smug after his globe-trotting feat only to see his pachyderm-faced brother get the mango and refusing to share the spoils. An enraged Kartikeya stormed out and settled on the hilltop of Pazhani, where today stands his most famous temple in South India.
I’ve also always wondered why these temples are on hillocks, is it because that is the divine way of saying no pain equals no gain? We always bribe our way into arm-twisting the gods to grant our wishes so the travel part is not a big deal anymore. The gult wigmakers have always been smarting for the bifurcation in revenue and human hair between the two temple hills of Pazhani and Tirumala. Imagine all the hair and revenue that could be generated in Rayalaseema if both temples belonged to the endowments dept! It helps the movie industry because Tamil movies featuring Pazhani are dubbed in Telugu and the scene becomes Tirumala! Before I sidetrack completely, let me get back to the two most important fruits in today’s world. The apple again makes an appearance and this time the forbidden fruit is the name of an evil corporate empire. Run by a guy who in fact is Darth Vader without the suit & voice box, Apple Inc believes in sexing up shit before selling them to you at an extrapolated price. Apple products are like those tent-wale-babas who sell you oils that claim to give you the strength to satisfy ten women at a time. You very well know it is as stupid as the multi-purpose-japaense-clock that you bought from the guy on the railway platform. Yet somehow secretly you find yourself dreaming about it while in the shower. Apple products also have the power to turn normal people into apple defending zombies a.k.a mactards. These mactards trawl the web for comments, posts & tweets that even try to defile the great Apple and launch a synchronized attack till you either give in or vow to read all the Chetan Bhagat books in a single night! Apple’s policy is to create an illusion that makes you believe that what they are selling is what you really want and refusing to comply will only push you one step closer to extinction. Think of it as a store salesman selling you overpriced lingerie when all you wanted was a pair of boxers! If you ever commit the heinous crime of telling the giant corp that their products are shitty, then they’d give you an answer that beats ‘Let them eat cake‘ hands down. For you see apple products can never go wrong, it’s just that you aren’t smart enough to use them.
The greatest contribution made by a fruit in South Indian cinema however has to be the ‘Banana Conundrum’. This one scene catapulted the duo to ‘Kvlt-istan ka wow‘ and posed a question that made I.E.Irodov’s physics problems seem like elementary school math. The case of the missing Banana is not a simple NP-hard problem nor it can be solved by random marking on a window like Russel Crowe in ‘A beautiful Mind‘. It holds the key to mankind and solving it will unlock the secrets of the universe. Many great scientists have tried to answer it over sessions of cheap liquor with omlettes and oorgay/avakay, but in vain. For now all we can do is curse our limited knowledge of ‘the force‘ and reconcile to the fact that ‘This is the other Banana‘. Tomorrow wars may be fought, families broken, galaxies traversed but this question will ever remain unanswered. For all you know, ‘The Banana is a lie‘ and we’ve been played all along.
PS: Back to the blog after a mini hiatus, was peeling a banana for breakfast when all this kicked in. Kindly adjust!
(Image Courtesy: Donsutherland1)