Orange Musings

Oranges and winter. Or oranges in winter. Whichever way you put it, oranges are synonymous with our short-lived winters. One may catch the smell of the fruit being peeled for the first time during the season as one walks across multitudes in a crowded market. That piquancy and that zing is heightened by the fact that you were least expecting it. Least of all when you had other things on your mind! But the glorious realization that the start of an orange-flavoured season has arrived puts a stride in your step. And you’re reminded of little orange-eating pleasures. That is, if you love the fruit like I do. So what’s so special about an orange, one might ask. But when the fruit makes its first appearance, it’s wonderful! Like the mangoes of summer Or water-melons. Or litchees.

I come from orange country too and the fruit reminds me of languorous afternoons, of basking in the warmth of a pale winter sun, and gorging on the most delicious oranges from Jatinga. Apart from the world-famous mystery of the birds, Jatinga then had the most luscious oranges with sprawling orchards in the foothills of the Barail ranges. In those days (about more than 30 years ago) we did not buy the fruit from the market because the women ofย  Jatinga would come all the way to my hometown of Haflong. Although the distance is about 9 kms only, the road was uphill and there was no such thing as a public conveyance.ย  The women would carry their wares in bamboo baskets and it wasn’t only oranges. Most would also bring fresh vegetables from their back-yards. They always had a cheerful smile on their faces and they were friendly. They would sit in the verandah as my mother sorted the fruit (and the vegetables) and after the usual pleasantries, the conversation would be about the yield, the weather, and every generation’s favourite topic—the signs of the times!! And the oranges did full justice to their name, the same that one would associate with one of those vibrant sunsets…”The sun was an orange ball of fire…”

When the afternoon sun was strong, we had oranges sitting in the back-yard where the hills were either blue or green depending on the weather.ย  Any thought about my home town is also about those pretty hills. When it grew colder with the hint of winter rain we had oranges sitting near a charcoal brazier (a common winter feature in most hilly towns of our country). And although we loved the fruit so, the trees did well only in certain areas on the outskirts of our town. One tree did grace our garden slope. Peach and plum trees were common but an orange tree occupied a pride of place. It stood regally next to ancient and gnarled lemon trees. Whereas the lemon trees would supply lemons by the basketful year in and year out, the orange tree bore fruit for three years or so. Maybe the conditions were not conducive. It withered away and finally died.

So much for memories! I’ve gorged on more than my fair share of oranges this winter. So much so that I can no longer catch that sharp, piquant smell of a fresh peel. Maybe next winter I’ll catch the magic in the same transcient smell in a crowded market. That will surely put the zing and the tang back into the start of another orange-flavoured season!


About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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23 Responses to Orange Musings

  1. Susie says:

    I enjoyed these memories Kanak! Nothing like a fresh, juicy orange.

  2. mia says:

    Lovely memories, such a pity the three gave in. You bring water to my mouth, but unfortunately I’m allergic.. Happy new year Kanak ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. islandgal246 says:

    Greetings and salutations to you and your family Kanak! Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2010. My kitchen still not done but we are getting there very slowly. It is very hot and dry and my garden is wilting.

    • kanak7 says:

      Helen, wish you and your family the very best for 2010. Happy New Year!! Looking forward to many, many posts from you and I hope your kitchen renovation doesn’t take too long to be completed:)

  4. Mildred says:

    You put your memories down so eloquently on paper Kanak. I enjoyed reading this and could almost smell the zing! Daddy used to get oranges for us at Christmas and we would throw the peel into the fire in the fireplace and the smell was wonderful. I hope you have having a lovely day.

    • kanak7 says:

      Mildred, thank you so much! I’d like to concentrate on writing too~ from now on….Love the idea about burning the peel…hope your day/week will go well!

  5. birdy says:

    Enjoyed reading your memories Kanak. I love sitting in winter sun and eating oranges.

  6. You paint a lovely picture of your world Kanak! Dreamy really with the oranges and lemons … your mother sorting fruit and veggies brought by women from afar. I can imagine walking in a crowed market and getting a whiff of that tangy orange peel. If you take a bit of a break on the oranges I am sure your sense of awareness to its fragrance will return. I put peels on my wood stove to fill the room with its aroma. I love this post… your writing is wonderful. Carol

    • kanak7 says:

      Carol, thank you so much! Your words mean so much to me! That was part of a life so far removed from what we know now though in our villages not much has changed. I have never thought about putting the peels on the stove. Mildred had also written about it. This will be part of my winter routine from now on.

      There’s a backyard fire almost everyday in winter. If I have a fire at the back, all the little twigs and rubbish from within my four boundary walls get cleared and burnt. There’s something so warm about a crackling fire. Enough to bring back a different set of memories!:-) Wish you the best for the New Year!

  7. Autumn Belle says:

    I enjoyed reading about your lovely abode. I have never seen an orange or plum tree. Neither have I experience winter. Does it snow there? It is snowing in your blog now! Happy New Year 2010!

  8. Stephanie says:

    TQ for your sharing. I love orange! Both the colour and the fruit ๐Ÿ˜€ When I see orange, I see cheers and excitement. I wish you would have a great countdown to the new year and have a happy happy new year!

    • kanak7 says:

      Steph, thank you so much! Aren’t oranges supposed to be auspicious amongst the Chinese? They look so delightful too.

      Wish you the very best for 2010. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  9. Lovely memories Kanak, thank you for sharing. I wish you a Happy New Year/ Hugs and Blessings/ Tyra

  10. lotusleaf says:

    Assam is the home of oranges and different types of lemons, according to a gardening authority I know. Nice to read about it in your post. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • kanak7 says:

      Padma, that’s right. Guwahati markets have a whole lot of oranges from Meghalaya, particularly from Garo Hills. They’re very sweet. Back in my home town, people have started growing oranges in areas other than Jatinga.

      All the best for 2010. Happy New Year!

  11. linda says:

    Clementines are my favorite oranges, but are available here for only a few short weeks. They are small oranges with loose peels and usually no seeds, sweet and not very acidic,similar to tangerines or mandarins. Kanak, you’ve reminded me to get some while there’s still time – by the end of January they are difficult to find anymore.

    I love the smell, taste, and color of oranges.

    Happy New Year!

    • kanak7 says:

      Hi Linda! Thanks for all that info. We get only one type here so I’m not too sure about the other types. But we do get the small, sweet varieties (but not seedless) from the state of Maharashtra usually referred to as Nagpur oranges. Good that my post reminded you to get some oranges:) There isn’t much time left here too, for the orange season.

      Wish you the very best for 2010!

  12. Tipu and Pami says:

    Kanak didi, we wish you a glorious New Year. Your note on oranges made me walk up to the fridge and have one! I can’t get over the fact that you have such an amazing style. I don’t have the right words really. So lovely that you can articulate your passions through your pen and camera! Just wow! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kanak7 says:

      Tipu and Pami, I’m so happy to read this…that it made you walk to the fridge and have one! Thank you so much for your kind words. Will get in touch with you soon.

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