I’ve always known that I’ve hated bananas. I can remember examining them with confusion, perched atop the engraved ceramic fruit bowl, smugly smothering the apples, oranges, and my favorite – mangoes – from the ripe age of 4. Why did they deserve the attention of passersby? Yertle the turtle embodied as fruit. I had no interest in giving them the satisfaction of being affectionately peeled and consumed, so I refused them. There were a few times my mom snuck them into my cereal or yogurt, but I would close my eyes and pretend not to notice. My reasoning being that because I only had to suffer through a few slices of the whole, I was exempt from the real thing. The banana benefits would be absorbed by my mom. Eventually, I grew out of yogurt and by the semi-transitive property bananas too. Maybe that was the reason for my disdain of yogurt. Whatever the cause since then I have never looked back, perfectly content in a seemingly eternal state of blissful ignorance.
Arriving in India I can remember the sleepy inquisitiveness that hung over the group as we waited for our cars at the airport, sandwiched between a bemusingly placed fish tank and the bustling parking lot road. Cautiously taking in our surroundings while choosing to embrace the fish tank over fear of the latter, we must’ve looked like lost sheep, unsure of what to make of this new variety of grass. While attempting to find a comfortable position to recline on our bags, I hear Anna say in a lively voice “We have water bottles, oranges, and bananas if anyone is feeling hungry!” I pause my nonsensical tidying to make sure I am understanding correctly, but the same phrase is repeated. My grand arrival to India and this is what I am welcomed with? Halfway around the world and I still can’t escape this darned fruit. I pretend not to be phased and coolly go for an orange, and continue to do so in the coming weeks. Quickly my brain learns to automatically replace “banana” for “avoid this,” so I heed and steer clear.
A week or so after, my body catches up with me and I begin to experience India quite literally weighing me down. At first I come to the conclusion that it is a temporary state of being, so I hydrate and rehydrate, yet the bathroom begins to feel like my inescapable reality. Eventually the BART (Bananas, Apples, Rice, Toast) diet is introduced as a means to counteract this unfortunate phenomenon, and I recognize it as a celestial offering. So in my moment of need, I decide to forgo my food prejudice and dive into the deep unknown. My poison of choice is toast with honey and bananas. A mere toe dip into the hostile waters. After I make it through the spotted, suspicious, deceitful peel I take a bite… Mushy, I think. Another one, this sweeter than the first. Indifference oozes through my taste buds. Neither am I compelled to scarf this peculiar fruit down nor do I have the strong urgency to extract it from my mouth immediately. I slowly finish the toast, along with the fruit, and examine my bestowed offer of peace – the floppy, incomplete, terrestrial peel rests before me, and I feel nourished. Sometimes it’s the small victories.