No takers for humble gulla badane in Srinivaspur

Egg plants or brinjals are common man’s best friend. Markets are flooded with a variety of brinjals that arrive in different shapes and sizes and also appear in various colours.

Egg plants can be generally segregated into two sizes, the long ones and the round ones. Whether long or round, they are found in white, green and purple shades. Gulla badane is supposed to be the original variety or the parent brinjal, from which various other types have evolved.

This variety is available in abundance at Srinivaspur even today. They are popularly known as gulla, gulla kayi, gulla badane, Rama gulla, etc in the native language and are naturally grown. Gulla plants are seen almost every where, in the forests and in the open, on roadsides and on banks of river.

The plants are spread over on land and are defended by numerous thorns which are visible on its branches, leaves, stems and twigs. It is tough for animals to get hold of gullas that are protected by thorns. Since these thorns pierce the animals from all directions, they are usually left untouched by them. Gulla badanekayi are found in stripes of green and white.

There has been a decline in the use of this veggie in the kitchens of late. However, the old-timers drool over the lip-smacking curries and side dishes prepared out of this variety of egg plant. Elders from the rural areas opine that it is not easy to pluck gulla brinjals. There is a method that goes into its plucking. The branches of the plant should be lifted with the help of a stick by one hand and the brinjals should be carefully plucked amid the piercing thorns by the other hand.

Once plucked, they should be washed and its stem removed. They should be cut into small chunks and its seeds should be separated. The chunks are used in the preparation of hot tasty and tangy curry. Residents believe that the seeds should not be consumed. Gulla used to be a favourite veggie in all families.

Gulla is not just a mere veggie, but is used as a medicinal plant. Ayurveda doctors use the leaves, flowers, stems, branches and raw gulla in the preparation of medicine. The seeds of white gulla are dried and used in treating a number of diseases.

The best part of gulla is, it can be cultivated in drought-prone areas since the plant can survive even amid scarce rain and humid conditions. This variety has the ability to sustain even in arid conditions. Once found aplenty, weak monsoons have only contributed towards its decline in production. The residents even wonder if the gulla variety will be wiped out from earth. Even amid such trying situations, it is amazing to spot gullas here and there in the taluk.

With traditional medicine too having taken a backseat in the rural areas, there are less seekers for this veggie even among its practioneers. With consumers too having a variety of veggies to choose from, the demand for gulla has come down. The brinjals are seen withering away in the plants, turning yellow and brown and rotting away, unplucked. And if they are swept away in rains, their seeds might germinate again, continuing the descent, with the hope that they will continue to sustain.
DH News Service

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