Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The tastiest cucumber I've ever had



This was on a trip from Ahmedabad to Udaipur, aboard a meter-guauge track train which apparently always has seats available on IRCTC because nobody takes it because it takes 12 hours (the trip takes 5 hours by road). It winds through the forest area. There was none of the usual commerce that we see on train journeys... no one hawking foodstuffs. I was getting hungry and on all the stops there was no fast food like samosas in sight! I had avoided taking biscuits and stuff to avoid having to buy and throw plastic packaging, so was planning to rely on the cooked food sold at the stops. Finally at one stop named Lusadiya...


...these old women (from farms nearby I guess) were walking to and fro with these big dudhi-like veggies in their hands. Of all the things you'd want to sell to train travelers, why dudhis? Another strange thing... they were still not hawking: no shouting, no approaching travelers. They were just gently walking or standing, at a distance from the train, with two big dudhis in both hands. I waved out to an old lady (ok there may have been men too there but the one closest to my coach was a lady), she came and gave me the veggie, I paid her ... how much, I don't remember, but it was cheap.. Rs.10 or Rs.5. There was no hassle in this exchange. I remember trying to ask what this is, but had given up, she didn't respond in Hindi or Gujarati (this place was just inside the Gujarat state border).

So for a while I was staring at this big veggie... it was solid hard, I didn't have anything to cut it with. My hunger overtook me and I bit into it. The skin was thick, inedible and I had to bite and spit it out. But when I got inside... Ohhh SO JUICYYYYY ! And the colours were a total surprise... from rough yellow exterior to lush dark green interior. That's when I realized I was having a local variety of cucumber! I was at it for a long time, finished the whole thing and that was my lunch -- plus drink.. for something that looked so dry on the outside it was loaded with water like what you'd expect from a cucumber -- for the day.

I later searched the station's name on OpenStreetMap, and here it is:


PS: I now advise to use OpenStreetMap instead of Google Maps. It's now very detailed, and it's totally legal to take snapshots of the map.

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