As I laid the 1 1/2 foot long and weighing around 2kgs vegetable on the glass top of our dining table, placed between the kitchen and the drawing room, wifey screamed in amazement: “Oh my God!”.
The dudhi, lauki or bottlegourd, whatever name you prefer call it, has seen more visitors than the birthday greetings I have received in my lifetime. Joking.
I was fortunate to receive a handful of seeds from Jitubhai Kutmutia of Malegaon whom I visited this September.
How Jitubhai got the seeds makes for an interesting read.
It so happened that having come to know that a Yavatmal farmer was growing bottle gourds which had attracted the attention of the local farmers Jitubhai one day decided to visit him. Jitubhai took out his Tata Indica and drove all the way to Yavatmal, a distance of 480 kms.
“After having seen the farm I requested whether he would spare some seeds of his legendary lauki. Though possessive he did share… just one seed,” reminiscenced Jitubhai. “It was an open-pollinated variety unlike any I had come across.”
The one lauki seed was the costliest seed Jitubhai had acquired in his farming years–for it came at a price of Rs 3,000. Yes, that’s amount Jitubhai had spent on petrol for the up and down trip. He had travelled a total of 960kms for a lone seed!
I was fortunate enough that Jitubhai shared dozen of seeds with me and I have been amazed by the fruit size and its taste. Ever since it arrived we have had lauki juice, halwa etc.
A believer in sharing good things of life I would like to share some seeds too.