Initially, Jim explored the northern section of this vast country. He learned that throughout the history, various kingdoms ruled various sections of the land, thus giving rise to varied languages, culinary preferences, and cultural habits. But it was the philosophy and teaching of the Hinduism that bound the populace for millenniums. Besides visiting various architecturally magnificent palaces, forts and Hindu temples, he would also visit several equally spectacular mosques, places of worship of the followers of Islam that was also practiced during Mogul occupation of the land.
Next heading toward the southern section, Jim arrived in Kerala, a southern state of natural beauty. He spent a couple of days in a houseboat carrying him through backwater alleys, giving him exposure to everyday village life. Then he arrived in Cochin, a former coastal fort-city. While exploring the city on foot, Jim noticed the presence of several neighborhood churches. He entered into a historic Renaissance-style Catholic Church located in the main plaza. Among all the brilliant decorations inside, there was a roof-painting of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. But what was on the plate in front of Christ (not a loaf of bread, but an elongated yellow object)? Jim inquired to a local devotee standing next to him. The gentleman smiled mischievously and replied “A sweet ripe mango.”
Soon the fact followed. During the historic occupation of the various corners of the country by foreign colonial powers, Christianity also arrived. Then the conversion process began. One of the most popular fruits of this subcontinent had always been the mango. In order to appear friendly and sensitive, the church officials at the time took the liberty of commissioning the painting with the deliberate choice of portraying the last food of Christ, before his crucifixion, a sweet ripe mango and thus its appearance on the plate. And throughout the centuries, the painting stayed in its original form.
In a way it made sense, whether it was intended or not. That painted mango became a historic witness to the forced religious conversion of the defeated by the winner in the flow of the river of our civilization, as witnessed in other continents too.