This reminded me of a not-so-similar experience of mine when the wife and I had gone to visit Daughter I living in U S A. I had carried a small packet of exotic bananas from my garden. I had lovingly grown the plant and it had borne fruits for the first time. The bunch was still green and I reckoned that the fruits would ripen a few days after our arrival there. It would be in the fitness of things that the first yield would be enjoyed by our first child. Deliberately but with a lot of trepidation, I did not declare it. My heart was pounding when I passed through the Immigration desk. To my good luck, everything went off well and I landed at Daughter’s house with the bananas. :)))))))))))))))))))) I have vowed not to repeat any such act, if only to avoid a pounding heart. :(((((((((
Why are seeds, fruits and vegetables not allowed? This takes me to the wicked Parthenium weed which came to India riding on the back of wheat-grains imported by India in the 1950s to meet a huge food shortage.
Parthenium hysterophorus is a weed that came to India along with the PL 480 US wheat seeds in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time there was a big shortage of food grains and India imported wheat under Public Loan 480 plan under Food For Peace Programme of USA. The weed grew into uncontrollable proportions invading million of hectares of uncultivated wastelands, roadsides, railway tracks, etc. One plant of Parthenium can produce around 25000 to 30,000 seeds that can propagate rapidly with wind. The fast growing weed has spread all over India and is a nuisance in public parks, residential colonies and orchards. It causes health hazards such as skin allergy, hay fever and asthma in human beings and is toxic to livestock. It squeezes grasslands and pastures, reducing the fodder supply. Scientists describe it as a poisonous, allergic and aggressive weed posing a serious threat to human beings and livestock. Its seeds became a menace in the wheat fields of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The deadly weed came to be named ‘Congress grass’ because it was imported into the country by the then Congress government in the Centre. It is also known as ‘Carrot grass’. In Hindi it is called gajar ghas.
I read somewhere that in the 17th Century one Sufi Saint Baba Budan smuggled just seven coffee beans from Mecca into the Kingdom of Mysore. He planted those seeds and that was beginning of coffee-plantation and production in India!
Why do I say ‘the wife’? A friend of mine who reads my blog posts asked me this. Years ago, when I was still working, I had contributed a humorous article to my Bank’s House Magazine. In that, I had used the term ‘the wife’. The editor in his wisdom, changed it to ‘my wife’. I can say ‘Daughter I’ and ‘Daughter II’ but …... Need I say anything more?