Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Viva ! Artocarpus lakoocha

i have travelled quite a lot...although virtually though to find what i had been looking for so long. That tete e tete i had with Sanjoo yesterday formed an integral part of my travel and long after he had gone i searched the internet seeking out the fruits and the trees he had talked about. i guess knowing the vernacular name has its disadvantages. Thus finally before i signed off i typed , ' lesser known fruits ' on my Google search box. Once again i started on another journey which took me to the US, UK , Malaysia and Indonesia. Found a couple of what i had been looking for. The text book aka the scientific names of kafal and one other. Won't say i was bang on to all the six fruits he had talked about instead i had enough for the hungry to know more of two if not six. Nobaad nobaad at all. It sufficed for the time being for i was enriched with not only the nutritional value but also the brilliant sights of the plant/ tree/ shrubs. Satisfied and before hitting the sack i sensed the same intuition...of being able to find my own burhar sooner than i have expected. Probably because i knew exactly now which path to take.

This morning saw me with that hurrah moment. My Burhar was always there where it should have been all the time. The culprit was the vernacular name...and sadly there were no posts with that name. Bihar the place of my birth and growth has four major local dialects. The Bhojpuri being the most well-known. But then there is Magahi, Angika and the sweetest of them all Mythili. i hail from the Bhagalpur district and that part of Bhagalpur which speaks Angika. One peculiarity of Angika being using R instead of L in their dialect. Thus peela meaning color yellow is Peera, kela meaning banana is Kera, jhola meaning bag is Jhora and similarly katahal meaning jackfruit is Katahar so on and so forth.
Thus the reason my travelling round the various sites was not giving the desired result. All along i had been searching for burhar pronounced bur + her = burhar when as a matter of fact it was Burhal . The enlightenment and thus this reasoning dawned upon me only after i had typed, ' lesser known fruits of India '. There it was...the picture of  the tree, it's broad leaved foliage and many delightfully clear images of the forgotten fruit. Bumpy and folded from outside and visually so appealing from the inside which is the edible part. Not only that but other information about the taste, the nutritional value and why it is getting rarer. i wish i could copy paste the picture here on my page but ever since i did my post on Shami tree and a gentleman was just too annoyed when i had used his picture with the source i think it would be best if i provide the link where Burhal/ Barhal can be seen and read about.
However i shall not let go the opportunity of using the free resource. So my Barhal looks like this.

now i am waiting for Sanjoo to be back from his holidays. Then i will ask him if he knows the tree and the taste of Burhal . Will remember to ask the name in his own Kumaoni language.
i  wonder if Mr Prasoon Joshi and many like him who still cherish memories of their childhood fruits...if they know the taste of this tangy fruit. the fibers of which look similar in texture to jackfruit but so brilliant in color what to talk of the juicy, sweet and sour feel to the palate. Something which is pleasant in smell and tastes somewhat like a kiwi...

As for me i feel fortunate that my Burhar exists and is thriving not only in India but has traveled too. From India to the other countries. Specially South Asia and that it is commonly known as Monkey Jack/ Emerald Jack also sounding so cute- Lakoocha.

Also grateful and deeply indebted to all the good souls who have launched posts on my Burhar/Burhal complete with shots and lots of information that i was bereft of all these days. My sincere thanks to Professor Deepa Dwivedi of http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/ and her article ' Barhal, a little-known fruit from northern India'. Had it not been for her article and thus the knowledge that i obtained of my Burhar i would not have had such an enriching journey. Through her post i learnt the scientific name Artocarpus lakoocha and the ride from then on was such a smooth one. Of the kind that not only excited me but also refreshed the bored to silence and sulking me.
Need to thank blogger Catherine Reddy for her ' All About Lakoocha' at theindianvegan.blogspot.in whose blog nourished by feeding the dil maange more me. ( heart wants)

Finally but most importantly Mr Spencer Woodard in his weblog called 'anthropogen' does much more than giving facts alone. His blog inspires. The amazing work done by him in his weblog is an ideal  for bloggers like me who blog not only for sharing the knowledge/ experience they would've gained but also for the sake of preservation and contribution. i wish one day i am rich enough to contribute with the same commitment and passion as he has done and is still doing in all possible ways. i take this opportunity in quoting his words, " I am interested in the history of human relationships with plants and how the ever-changing state of these relationships has affected the ways in which our species interacts with and influences larger ecological systems in our midst."
My journey which started first with Sanjoo and later with Professor Deepa Dwivedi traversing many on Artocarpus lakoocha and Catherine Reddy came a full circle with Mr Spencer Woodard at http://anthropogen.com/2008/05/05/unidentified-fruit-orange-bumpy/

Right now reliving the memories of that journey is delighting me the same way as when one enjoys photos of the journey taken after hitting base. Another great feeling is like i have accomplished something. If not for humanity sakes but for myself and my heart sings with joy to know that what i thought had gone extinct is very much alive and kicking.

Before i quit i want to share the environment anthem of the 70's from Joni Mitchell once again. Not before quoting her words, " I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song. "

                                                         - : Image Courtesy :-
                                       From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository


  1. I have seen that fruit :) Monkey Jack !! I will remember.
    I knew in Bihar Maithili and Bhojpuri are spoken the other two languages were not known to me .. nice to know about them as well :)

  2. @ Arumugam Easwar thank u for stopping by, then appreciating what i had to share and also leaving ur comment on that. :)

  3. @ mysay.in oh great you have given the proper reaction to my post. My purpose...Delivered if i may be allowed to put it that way.
    Thanks for the personal one to one flavor that i get from all ur comments. :)

  4. Hi Shivani,

    First of all, a big sorry for a late visit. Interesting hobby of searching the fruits/plants. I have observed that dialect change. It makes it sweet for me, few words are lovely when flawed, like jhora. BTW, have you heard womaniya song, do listen to it if you haven't.

  5. Dear Saru loved this ...yeah have heard womaniya have enjoyed it. But that is the infiltrated new thing to the dialects. Certain words are not Englicised not yet and they sound still sweeter. That's sweet of u to agree to that. :)
    But trust me on this...you need to know the common name that's important if u don't want to search endlessly.
    Thanks for this and no need to apologise on that late visit. That u r here makes my day. :)

  6. I am from UP and I remember being baffled by the r sound instead of l as you mentioned. And never did come across this fruit but it does look like kathal.And I did not know about Angika. This post was a lot of information. And I could sense your nostalgia as well.

  7. @Rachna yeah the r but you have to hear the local dialect to enjoy the sweetness/fun of Angica. It will be like...hey gey siwani jhora mein barhar rakhlo chai khabayain kee...meaning Dear Shivani there is Barhal in the bag do you want to eat...
    Yeah it looks apparently in the picture like Jackfruit because they belong to the same family but in size and taste Barhal the r pronounced as dh is completely different...they are smaller like a full grown healthy chikoo and taste juicy like kiwi...sweet and sour.
    Thanks for visiting and maybe if u open the links provided u will see better pictures inside out. But of course if u r interested.
    i on my part will wait till i come across face to face with this fruit from childhood. Then perhaps i shall take some pictures of my own and happily paste them here without fear. :)

  8. Nice to read as i have enjoyed this fruit in my childhood in village.Now i have not seen in any fruit shop or mall.Look like vanished in our globlisation era whr mad rush is 4 anything foreign.Good, u have written on our thing,which illustrate our richness. Keep it up

  9. @Anonymous thank u for relating and also for stopping by. i just wish there was an environmental anthem in my own Angika...would've given me immense pleasure to put that up too.
    Thank u for appreciating all i could think about for the time being.:)

  10. @ aliasgarmukhtiar u liked what u saw and read...well thank u for that and also for taking that time out for me. :)