Until I completed 16 years of age, I was not physically attracted to girls. Was I then having gay tendencies? Nope, I wasn’t physically attracted to boys either. Looking back, I realize I was childish, immature and naive. But infinitely more happy. I enjoyed playing Cricket, Kabaddi, Table Tennis, Badminton, Gilli-danda and Soccer with other boys. On the occasional times that I played with or against girls, I realized they did not like accepting defeat and would walk away saying how boring the game was! I was enjoying winning against them and hence did not share their sentiment. No wonder girls found me immature and were hoping I would grow up and understand them.
It was not until I turned 17 and stepped into College that I took notice and found that Girls were interesting and started feeling attracted to them.
So, who was my first love for whom my heart still pines?
I must about 11 years old and was in one of the North Eastern States of India where my father was posted. Our neighbor across the road was a colleague of my father and a bachelor. His house had a large Guava tree and since no one was home during office hours, I and my friend of about same age couldn’t resist climbing the tree and stealing the Guavas. Come to think of it, I never got caught, though I suspect the real reason being the kindness of the neighbor. He was too nice to admonish us.
The fruit from the tree was sweet and fragrant and had a pink interior. And stolen fruit is even more sweeter! That’s when I fell in love with the fruit. The pink variety is not common, but since then I have come to enjoy the regular white ones too.
I love Guavas when they are semi-ripe. They are not an easy fruit to enjoy if you don’t have strong teeth. I particularly don’t like the ripe ones. Then they are soft and have a creamy texture.
In Pakistan and India, guava is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/ masala. This fruit is widely available across India and you can see street vendors selling them everywhere. Its a cheap and affordable fruit.
The guava is a good source of several vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, carotenoids (Vit. A), and folate (Vit B). It is also a good source of fiber, as well as in lowering cholesterol levels. In addition, the level of vitamin C in the edible rind of the guava is four times higher than that of an orange. The seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids
Guava leaves are used in folk medicine as a remedy for diarrhea and, as well as the bark, for their supposed antimicrobial properties and as an astringent. Guava leaves or bark are used in traditional treatments against diabetes.
I am yet to find a fruit that I love more than guavas. I also enjoyed them when I visited Thailand. Guavas will always remain my first love as they remind me of happier times of childhood.