Mani: Yes, but who brought the vegetables into India?
Appa: The Portuguese brought them to India. Potato was one of those vegetables.
Mani and Selvi looked at the potato curry on their plates. And quickly began to eat it.
Mani: Wow! This potato has travelled so far!
Amma: Careful, Selvi, don’t upset our foreign visitor!
Selvi pulled a long green chilli out of the curry.
Selvi: Who? Who is our foreign visitor ? Amma, you are making fun of me!
Mani: No, Amma is not making fun, she is talking about the foreign fruit chilli!
Appa: Chillies were very popular in South America but no one else in the world knew of this spicy fruit. One day a sailor named Christopher Columbus sailed to South America.
Amma: This sailor was actually looking for India. He wanted to buy black pepper. Instead, he found South America and the chilli!
Selvi: How sad for Columbus.
Amma: It was a little sad, but, because he went to South America, he found the chilli. It was as spicy as the black pepper. And so, Christopher Columbus packed the chilli and took it back to his country with him!
Mani: But how did it come here?
Appa: Chilli was one of the things that the Portuguese brought to India.
Amma: In India chilli was first brought into Goa and the people there learnt to use this new spice in their cooking. Before the entry of chillies pepper was used in cooking.
Selvi and Mani looked at the chilli on their plate.
Selvi: What a long distance you have travelled?
Mani: And how you make our food delicious!
They shouted and quickly took a bite of the chilli!
Selvi: To waste you would be very bad and so we are going to eat you!
Mani: Ah! it’s hot and spicy!
Mani replied yes to his sister and asked his appa who brought the vegetables to India, as his question was not answered yet. Appa replied that the Portuguese brought them to India and that potato was one such vegetable.
Mani and Selvi looked at the potato curry on their plates. They began to eat it quickly.
Mani was astonished that their potato had travelled so far. Just then amma said jokingly to Selvi not to upset their foreign visitor. Selvi was pulling out a long green chilli out of her curry, and Selvi did not understand whom her mother meant. She asked amma if she meant her. Mani, who understood the joke, told her that Amma was talking about the foreign fruit, chilli.
The foreign visitor, chilli!
Appa explained that chillies were popular in South America, but nobody else knew about this chilli outside their area. Appa started explaining about a sailor named Christopher Columbus who sailed to South America. Amma added that Columbus was travelling to India because he also wanted black pepper, but he sailed to South America by mistake. Due to his incorrect landing, he found the spice called chilli. Amma continued and said that he packed the chilli and took it to his country.
*Columbus landed by mistake in South America, but found chillies!
Mani asked how chilli came to India. His appa replied that amongst all other things brought by Portuguese, chilli was also one. Amma explained that chillies first reached Goa and the local people learnt to use the new spice in their cooking.
Selvi and Mani looked at chilli on their plates and astonished at the fact that those chillies had travelled so far to make their food delicious. In their excitement, they decided it would be wrong to waste it, they took a bite of the chilli and realized it was too hot and spicy!
Chillies are indeed hot and spicy, do not bite it!
Meanings of difficult words:
|foreign||belongs to other country|
|popular||famous, well known|
|spicy||a flavour of food with strong, hot taste|
|sailor||a person who travels in a boat or ship|
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-1 English Standard-6. A Visitor from Distant Lands (pp. 131-144). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.
*Image courtesy - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christopher_Columbus.PNG