Tuesday, February 19, 2013


                     The cashew nut has a special structure. It is kidney-shaped and occurs at the end of a 'cashew apple', a false fruit (pseudo fruit) on the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale L). The nut develops first and when it is fully grown, its stalk   ( pedicel, peduncle or receptacle) develops into the fruit-like pear-shaped cashew apple which is plump and fleshy and has a yellow or red colour. The apple and nut fall together when both are ripe.
                    They are harvested and processed to yield several edible products. The apple gives a sweet juice which is either used as a refreshing fruit drink or fermented to the liquor known as 'Feni'. The seed is a popular snack, often consumed after roasting. The 'nut' is regarded as the true fruit and the apple is called a pseudo fruit. But the combination resembles a fruit with its seed located outside the fruit. This unusual structure is the basis of several popular stories about its origin.
                    In a fictitious story, an angel who witnessed the creation of different varieties of trees by God, wanted to create a tree by his own design and work. God granted him permission. The angel used all his skills and imagination to create the cashew tree and proudly displayed his creation before God for His comments. God appreciated the structure and strength of the tree, the beauty of its leaves and flowers and the colour and flavour of the  fruit but asked the angel how it could propagate itself without a seed. The angel was sorry for forgetting to put the seed in the fruit. So God incorporated the nut as an additional attachment to the fruit and let the arrangement continue for future generations in memory of the angel's mistake.
                    The story is purely fictitious but offers a warning to anyone who tries to undertake the work of God. In the story of Adam and Eve, the desire to be 'like God' tempted them to eat the forbidden fruit and lose the peaceful paradise.  The Bible teaches, "If the Lord (God) does not build the house, the work of builders is useless; if the Lord does not protect the city, it is useless for the sentries to stand guard."
                   When a skilled doctor treats a patient systematically and gets a positive result, we must remember that every cure is a miraculous gift of God. Every action  becomes successful when undertaken with the blessings of God.

© By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally, Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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