Someone told me that today is World Coconut Day, and I felt incredibly happy to learn that something so close to my life and heart, an integral part of my existence, has a day dedicated to it. I thought I would gather my thoughts about and around it and pen them down.
Coconut, for all of us, is a source of nourishment and refreshment. It’s not just a delicious fruit but also a versatile resource, providing us with water, fruit, oil, husks, and leaves. It holds a special place in many cultures as a symbol of sustenance and prosperity, even offered to God as Sriphal.
However, for me, coconut meant something more – a psychological connection beyond its physiological aspects. I want to share two personal stories from my upbringing – tales of resilience, family, and the humble coconut.
Growing up, my life was intricately tied to the coconut tree. My father, who passed away when I was just four years old, left behind something invaluable for us – 30 to 40 coconut trees as our inheritance. These trees became more than a source of nourishment; they became our lifeline. We would sell the coconuts to sustain our family, especially for my siblings’ education. Each coconut represented a step closer to securing our future. There were days when we had little or nothing to eat, and those coconuts kept us going.
The other account revolves around fierce storms and cyclones. When coconuts fell like rain, we would dash outside, braving the elements, to gather them. They became our go-to food during the grey days following the cyclones when we had nothing else to eat. Each coconut symbolized we had Almighty to take care of us. The money we earned from selling coconuts after the storm was used for our household expenses. It is incredible how something as simple as a coconut can be a pillar of strength during times of adversity.
Today, I am profoundly grateful for the coconut. It’s more than just a nut; it’s a part of my life story. My life was a storm, and the coconut was my hope. Just like its characteristic hard exterior and soft interior, my life presented tough challenges, but my heart and mind worked softly to overcome them, one step at a time.
As I reflect on my journey, I’m reminded that even in the face of adversity, we can find sources of strength and sustenance that help us thrive. So, here’s to the coconut, a silent hero in my life, and a reminder that sometimes, the simplest things can make the biggest difference and become an integral part of everyday life – like the refreshing tender coconut water, the shade of my makeshift office at KISS, the enticing Malai, or the bhog from the Almighty!