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The story “A Visitor From Distant Lands” shows how the young generation understands what is foreign goods and what is Indian goods. The two children here represent the beginning of gaining knowledge through the parents.
The story is set in a village near Senji in Villupuram district. It opens with establishing two kids Mani and Selvi sitting down to eat with their parents. Though Mani loved potatoes and ladyfingers, that particular day when his mother served them some potato curry, he refused to eat it by saying, “don’t want to eat potatoes today, because they are foreign vegetables.”
Though his sister doesn’t understand how the potatoes, which their mother brings from the market, can be foreign, Mani tells his parents that his teacher has taught him in the class the potatoes are not amongst the Indian vegetables. He says that they should not eat foreign fruits and vegetables, to which his parents say that then he cannot even eat “tomato soup either, or even pineapple juice, as they all are from different countries.
Selvi questions how did the foreign objects come to the country to which her father replies that merchants brought them here long ago by sea. The real reason for such exploration, which their mother explains, was because the merchants were in search of spices. A man from Portugal named Vasco da Gama sailed to Kerala and took back home a lot of spices.
Mani questions who brought the vegetables and his father answered by saying that it were the Portuguese who brought them. Then they move on to talk about Chilis which were very popular in South America but no one else in the world knew of this spicy fruit.
Columbus discovered it and took it back to his country, which later, once again, the Portuguese brought to India. The children looked enthralled after gaining such knowledge and realised their vegetables and spices have travelled a lot.
Through this story, the establishment of many vegetables and spices are shown. It brings to light that India, too, is a flourishing nation with lots of delicacies and exotics.