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Radished on a Train and Some More
By Rajesh Kanoi

Pink on the outside and shiny white on the inside, the little olive-shaped radishes glistened in the bowl that the laoban's (boss's) wife placed before me. I dithered for a moment before I picked one and placed it gingerly into my mouth.

Radishes have always brought back bad memories and for years I haven't touched anything that included them. I mean, I wouldn't touch any food that had the faintest hint of radish.

I must have been ten and I was on a train with my younger brother and sister on our way back home from school in Jaipur in western India. Our mother's aunt was on the train with us. Each time the train stopped at a station she would buy something from the hawkers - fruits, tea, the odd snacks and radishes. We sniggered each time she got off, her ample derriere on her short frame swinging wildly from the exercise, a picture that her sweetest smile cannot erase from our joint memories - in part because of itself and in part because of the radishes.

She bought a bunch of squeaky white, nearly foot long, juicy-looking radishes. And, before that train started from the station, she had buried her teeth into the juicy flesh of one. The three of us politely declined her offer, preferring more interesting food than those radishes.

Minutes later she let go a very satisfied burp and we all gasped, almost choking in the aftermath of her happiness. We pulled all the windows of the carriage open and walked as far away as we could from her when the second burp followed and then a third...She couldn't stop burping and all we could do was choke...and since that memorable day radishes have been a strict no-no for me and my brother. My sister fell prey to its seductive charm some time ago but still desists from letting herself go after it, choosing to restrict herself to a small share.

Brother and I have been unrelenting in our resolve to keep far away from anything radish.

But, today, I fell prey to its olive-shaped, pink-hued avatar in far-away China. I must have had a bit more than my mother's aunt did that fateful day on a train from Jaipur. And, I am burping, too...but, thankfully, there are no children around to kill me with a disgusted look nor is there any one else who will learn from me never to indulge in the pleasures of radish-flesh. I wonder if the air around me smells as poisoned as it did on that train...i wonder if Chinese radish is as sweet to smell as it is to taste...

Rajesh Kanoi (Jack) is a published writer, now living and working in China. Many of his short-stories, poems and articles have been published, including a book of short-stories, 'From China With Love' (Lipstick Publishing).



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rajesh_Kanoi

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