Have you seen them lately? The cucumber which vanished
Vegetables which we have been eating for ages are slowly vanishing as hybrid and better looking alternatives replace them. I remember the cucumbers which we used to relish in the summer—the vivid green ones, long and slender with variety of shapes, like boomerang, iron roofs or just like question mark are no more sighted. They are like long lost relatives whom with passage of times have forgotten. Neither your neighbourhood vegetable seller nor your swanky malls stock them. Their place has been taken up by their better looking and attractive siblings. Many a times these cucumbers were found to be bitter and you had spit it out after you had munched on them. To be safe one was advised to cut a small portion of it and rub it on the remaining piece thus removing it bitterness. And it worked.
Over the years these cucumbers have disappeared from the market as the pale green ones which are more stout ones took its place. These were the hybrid varieties which were rarely bitter and made excellent raita material. However, munching it raw never appealed because of its blandness.
During my recent visit to Dharwad, I came across the original cucumber after a gap of over a decade and half and couldn’t resist myself munching after the vegetable vendor insisted I try them. My visit to the market was educative as I came across the tiny looking Simla Mirch which you never see in city vegetable markets. Cute, but they pale in front of shiny big Simla Mirch we are familiar with. These don’t fetch good price and is the reason why farmers don’t grow them though the effort in growing in them is same. It’s matter of time before these paler looking and less attractive but tasty vegetable variety will totally vanish from the market. That worries me. I’m trying to get seeds of these which I plan to grow for myself.