Desperado for Avocado

It was another ordinary evening after school. I was waiting for my friend near the school-church. She came towards me, running, with a fruit that the aunty and uncle who looked after the church gave to her. It was a weird, sickly purple on the outside. Once we reached her place, she took it to the kitchen as if to perform some magic. I followed her meekly, only to find her take a giant kitchen knife and slice it into two uneven halves.

I could not believe my eyes as I watched her scoop out the dirty mess from inside of the fruit shell into two bowls. Soon, I saw her relish the gooey pulp. Her happy face encouraged me to give it a try. I bravely put the thing into my mouth. No sooner had I tasted the bland mashed stuff than I wanted to spit it out. My friend looked at me sheepishly and said, “Oh! I forgot to add sugar.” It was then that I resolved never to run into this fruit. Ever.

Summer days during college meant drinking a lot of tender coconut water. My friends drank it because it was healthy. I drank it because it was cheap. One day I went to a fresh juice stall with my friend and was treated to a fruit juice of her choice. I looked at the thick, strange, green liquid and did not like the way it looked back at me from the glass. But as it trickled down my parched tongue, I began to like its taste. I perked my ears to catch its name. I could not bring myself to ask my friend what it was. I didn’t want to be thought of as stupid and clueless. But then I managed to hear the boy at the counter say ‘butter fruit’. And then it dawned on me. It was the same fruit that I had sworn never to eat again.

Soon after, I made it a point to sneak out to a nearby Ganesh Fruit Juice stall just to be able to taste this butter fruit in a milkshake. I was happy to know that it was affordable. I did not get too much of pocket money back then. I sneaked to drink this for a couple of more times until the taste began to grow on me. I swirled it around my tongue and liked the heaviness of the unusual rich taste. It had a creamy-buttery texture. And to think that I was not too fond of butter back then!

Fast-forward to the present. I go to Ganesh fruit juice stall with the family in tow. Everyone orders the staid musambi or mango juice. I wait for everyone to place orders and then pause for effect, as I listen to the sudden sophistication that has crept into my voice as I order, “Ondu chilled avocado milkshake, please.” Everyone in the family looks at me with disbelief, “What? Butter fruit? And you?” It is so hard to convince myself that I belong to such a dramebaaz family. There is a mad scramble for my butter fruit milkshake. I immediately take a vow to make this fruit easily accessible at home.

I reason with myself that I want the exotic to become the ordinary, so I bought a few half-ripe avocados and took them home. I buried them in the rice sack to hasten the process of ripening. Soon the skin of the avocado turned to a just-right greenish-purple hue. The family sat around me and watched me scoop the dull greenish, buttery pulp into a dish with great expertise. In wanting my family to fall in love with the taste, I added the right amount of sugar. After whisking it around in the bowl a few times, it was smooth and perfect. That day was divine.

I still cannot understand how my love for this buttery fruit multiplied. I love the fruit not for its health benefits but for its out-of-the-world taste. My mother still cannot understand the fuss around the avocado. I forgive her look of disgust when I see the rest of my family swoon over avocados. I for one, am sure that I don’t have to share my avocado milkshake with them. And they make sure to get their own.

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Mini Mark Bonjour

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