It was my last evening in Thimpu, Bhutan. Wandering through the market, I wondered what I should get as a souvenir from Bhutan for memory.
After wandering about in the little marketplace, I found a few shops selling fruits.
I had read that most of Bhutan’s agricultural produce is organic. I wondered how fruit in this country would taste like. My love for fruit steered me into one of these shops.
The fruit was nearly arranged in wooden cartons. I didn’t have a lot to choose from the local fruit since much of it was imported from India. On asking the shopkeeper, I got to know that only the Apples and Plums were the locally grown fruit in the shop.
The plums were smaller and much rosier than the ones grown in India.
I decided to get a bagful for myself as an edible souvenir.
At night after dinner, I chose to eat one of the plums as dessert.
However, much unlike a sweet tasting dessert, it had a strong tart flavor. I ate another one to try my luck, but it tasted the same as the one earlier. I packed away the rest of the plums in a bag.
Maybe they need to ripen more, I wondered.
The next day, I was on a shared taxi ride to Phuentsholing, a bordering town one has to cross to enter India. The ride on the highway was pleasant for a couple of hours.
But then, the driver decided to take a short cut to save time.
Within ten minutes of hitting that bumpy shortcut road, we hit a gridlock. A huge lorry had gotten stuck on the narrow road blocking the entire path.
We had to alight and wait for a JCB truck to arrive and pull out the truck stuck on the way.
All my fellow passengers were local Bhutanese. There was a little boy in tow of a mother, two farmer women, and a couple of youth along with us on the ride.
I could sense that the little boy was thristy. I looked around to find a Buddhist temple not very far away from where our car was.
I walked upto the temple and asked one of the novice monks if I could get some water. He happily agreed and guided me to a source of water.
I wondered how I could express my gratitude to the monk.
I remembered I had a bag of plums with me !
I opened my bag and offered a few to him. That was all I had that I could share with him.
He happily accepted it and waved me goodbye.
The road was still blocked.
I reached our taxi and offered water to the mother. Incidentally everyone in the car was thirsty. They all had their share of water and passed it around.
I still had a lot of plums left with me.
I offered two to each of the passengers.
The little boy was delighted at the sight of the fruit.
He savoured each nibble with complete involvement.
Looking at him enjoy the plum so much, I wondered if it was an acquired taste or was he hungry or had the plum ripened overnight?
I looked into my bag to find a solitary piece of fruit left inside. I took it in my hand and bit into it with hope.
Quite unlike last night’s tart flavour, my taste buds were engulfed by pulpy sweetness of that plum.
It was the dessert I was wanting to taste last night!
All my fellow passengers enjoyed the fruit just as much.
I wondered what made the fruit taste so sweet overnight.
Maybe it was the spirit of sharing.