The Watermelon Story

Posted By Gautham PB on Monday 29th April 2024
Now that, it is summer and watermelon is in season. I wanted to share a story on Watermelons as told by the late Manohar Parikar of Goa. This is a wonderful story that reminds me the importance of balancing long term sustainability vs short term benefits.

“I am from the village of Parra in Goa, hence we are called Parrikars. My village is famous for its watermelons. When I was a child, the farmers would organise a watermelon-eating contest at the end of the harvest season in May. All the kids would be invited to eat as many watermelons as they wanted.

Years later, I went to IIT Mumbai to study engineering. I went back to my village after 6.5 years. I went to the market looking for watermelons. They were all gone. The ones that were there were so small."

"I went to see the farmer who hosted the watermelon-eating contest. His son had taken over. He would host the contest but there was a difference. When the older farmer gave us watermelons to eat he would ask us to spit out the seeds into a bowl. We were told not to bite into the seeds. He was collecting the seeds for his next crop. We were unpaid child laborers, actually. He kept his best watermelons for the contest and he got the best seeds which would yield even bigger watermelons the next year.

His son, when he took over, realized that the larger watermelons would fetch more money in the market so he sold the larger ones and kept the smaller ones for the contest. The next year, the watermelons were smaller, the year later even small. In watermelons the generation is one year. In seven years, Parra’s best watermelons were finished.

As a result, the quality of the watermelons rapidly declined, with each successive generation yielding smaller and inferior fruits. In just seven years, Parra's once-celebrated watermelons had dwindled to shadows of their former glory.

Manohar Parrikar's reflection on this decline serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of forward-thinking and sustainable practices. It underscores the need to balance short-term gains with long-term preservation, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the abundance of the land.

The tale of Parra's watermelons echoes far beyond the confines of the village, resonating with anyone who recognizes the value of stewardship and the profound impact of our actions on the world around us."

By saving the best seeds for future crops, the older farmer ensured the continuity and improvement of his watermelon harvests. However, when his son prioritized immediate profit over long-term sustainability, the quality and size of the watermelons declined rapidly, ultimately leading to the depletion of Parra's once-famous watermelons.

This story serves as a metaphor for many aspects of life, emphasizing the value of foresight, conservation, and responsible stewardship.

It highlights the need to balance short-term gains with long-term sustainability, ensuring that future generations inherit a world that is as rich and abundant as the one we enjoy today.

If you liked the story or it resonated with you, do let me know.


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