Long long ago, in a village far far away, we had taal trees. A help would be sent to cut down a bunch. The only rule was that it had to be after lunch, never in the mornings, never after sunset. Lunch never tasted worse.
The help would cut the fruits off the cluster, pile them and start chopping their heads off. We would sit in a circle and the palm hearts would be passed around. Most of the fruits had 3 hearts, some would have 4. One had to dig one’s finger inside, gouge it out right into the mouth. You made sure you didn’t wear your finest because when you pierce the hearts, the juice would spray every which way.
It must have been around two decades before I spotted a taal. The hearts were already taken out and came for 10 each. Eating these is not as much fun as the whole fruit but that thing about beggars….I was a happy beggar.
Deep inside Sanjay Gandhi National park, women like these lined the roads and sold many more berries and fruits too. The watermelon was outstanding too.