Tasty thali

I write to you, dear reader, from seventh heaven. I reached this Nirvana thanks to Mrs Kumari, who made us the most delicious meal we’ve had yet. We went to her house surrounded by coconut palms, in the village above the paddy fields next to a tiny Shiva temple. It’s Shiva’s special day today – a public holiday here. So we sat on her veranda and ate dish after dish of coconut, banana, lime… curries of every flavour and colour served on a bright green banana leaf.

We met Mrs Kumari yesterday when we went looking for cobras in the undergrowth behind her house. With a huge smile perched above her nicely plump, saried belly, we knew it would be good food. And so it was.

Meanwhile, one-third of rural Indians are malnourished and 40% of the world’s malnourished infants are Indian, according to a new UN World Food Programme report. With the world’s largest number of malnourished children under five and a soaring population, India is clearly struggling to feed her people. Agricultural production in almost every major crop is down, from rice to onions. Only potatoes are plentiful.

With an election fast approaching, these are key issues for people that depend on the agricultural economy for their job security, their community welfare and for the dinner on their plate.

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