I sat down for lunch. There were six items on the table – red Kekulu rice, of which I took one modest spoon, polos curry and bitter gourd sambol both that had come from my garden. In the morning hours, I had harvested some spinach, Amu Miris and eggplants (brinjal) from my home garden and my helper had prepared spinach and dhal together. There was another dish and when I examined it I found it was 2-3 pieces of dried fish cooked with Kehel Muwa. Mixed greens boiled in coconut milk was the last item.
Everything except the dried fish and dhal was from my garden. I thought how lucky I am to live in an organic tea garden in a little village called Ihala Millawa at the southern foothills of the Sinharaja rainforest. I could not select which item was the best or tastiest from my lunch menu. Polos was not second to the bitter gourd sambol which was mixed with green chillies and fresh lemon juice. I also had coconut water to accompany the meal.
While I was enjoying this delicious meal, I thought of what I had for breakfast – boiled sweet potato with coconut and Katta sambol with a little leftover rice from the previous night. Before that I had a large cup of Kola kenda probably mixed Kola kenda including Gotukola which is my favourite. Garden fresh papaya, banana and passion fruit were also in my fruit plate for the day. There was no egg, dairy or any animal flesh included in my breakfast and at my age I am very positive it is a sufficient meal for a healthy life. I also had a cup of beverage made by boiling ginger, kotthamalli, garlic and Venivel along with a piece of kithul jaggery.
On the previous day the Manager of a private bank asked me about Ala Kola and where he could find it. I told him we called it Wel Ala Kola and the botanical name was Colocasia esculenta and asked why he wanted to know. He sang two lines of a folk song and said that he wanted his children to taste it. As it grew abundantly in my land I said I would send him some later in the day which I did with much pleasure. There was leftover Wel Ala Kola and I prepared an Aanama (there is a special way of preparing this curry type preparation) from it. I had kurakkan roti for dinner with this Aanama along with just boiled garden fresh okra and cucumber salad with a little bit of onions, green chillies and tomatoes.
During the day I would have had at least 5 to 6 cups of black tea and green tea which also came from my own tea factory. Some of these teas were flavoured with ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and cinnamon etc. I went to bed around 10 p.m. after finishing my usual chores, thinking how fortunate I am to have my own home garden – a veritable Garden of Eden.
Why did I decide to share this with you at this time? This has been my lifestyle for many years. I live on mostly homegrown vegetables, greens, food and drinks – I am very proud to say I eat and wherever possible share food that I produce and make with others. I am certain they are super healthy and chemical-free. Despite various academic titles and positions, I am very proud to say I am a farmer who produces his own foods and drinks. I never apply any agrochemicals to my crops whether it is Glyphosate or MCPA or green weedicide or anything else.
We hear about COVID-19 and the precautions we should take to protect ourselves and those around us. They must be followed and respected. What about thinking a bit more about what we eat and drink at this point? Use this opportunity to grow few greens and vegetables in your home garden, in your compound or at least in a few pots. Home remedies like ginger, turmeric, komarika and the like can be grown in flower pots. They make your home garden and compound beautiful. They make you healthier.
Develop the habit of eating and feeding your loved ones with Jak, Polos, Breadfruit and various yams, tubers and roots etc. Eat many different grains such as Kurakkan, Amu, Sesame, Meneri, Cowpea, Green gram, Chick pea, and various type of legumes. Eat the fruit you grow in home gardens like Divul, Beli, Pera, Amba, Kesel, Uguressa, Jambu, Mora, Weera, Palu, Waraka, Naaran, Dehi, Dodam, Himbatu, Indi, Madam, etc.
Imagine a day when all three meals that you can prepare and eat are from the raw materials in your garden. Make use of this curfew period for the benefit of yourself and your family. What you can find from the home garden or your own land is not only delicious and healthy but it can save you a lot of money both now as well as in the future.