19 February 2008


In my house, cocoanuts seem to have an iconic place in our domestic life. My mother, who is a strong woman, who can do pretty close to anything you set in front of her, will pass the cocoanuts to my father to break and shell. In fact, for the most part, if the family uses cocoanut, I've noticed (in the back of my brain; I'll explain why back of brain later) that those women give it to the man of the house, too. And of course, why would a single man ever need to break a cocoanut that he can't even finish? His mother might ask him to break hers if his father is out of town, or not available. But by and large, it's man's work.

I didn't notice how deeply it's in my brain that cocoanuts are men's work until I moved out on my own, and just naturally, just like breathing, passed my cocoanuts to Steve to break and shell (remove from the shell, of course). In fact, from the time we got married, I'd automatically hand them over, or call him to do it, without ever bothering to do it myself. My father, when he noticed this, made sure to pass on the knowledge of how to properly break a cocoanut to both Steve and me, but he really concentrated on training Steve in the art of fiddling out the white part. So much so that regardless of what tools we have, Steve's always managed to get me my fresh cocoanut for my soups, stews, and rice.

I saw a cocoanut from my recent shopping trip to Subzi Mandi, and wanted it right then and there. Steve had already cracked one open for me yesterday, and I had already used it in a sambhar. I already had a bowl full of that, and I wanted some fresh cocoanut.

So there I stood. Staring at my nemesis, as it mocked me. "Steve's not here. Hahahah!" I rolled my eyes, and picked up the hammer. This is in my blood, damnit. I am still my father's son, after all.

A few whacks later, and BOOM.

It came out of the shell all by itself.

In one piece.


I hope you understand what a feeling of elation coursed through me when it happened. As in, this is something that I will tell my mother about tonight, when I call her. I even took pictures with my crappy camera phone. 

I am very pleased with myself.

A couple of people were curious about the views from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan. Here's a picture I took while walking to the subway station: