This morning, I opened up the newspaper and happened upon a half-page ad from India's Coconut Development Board.
"On World Coconut Day we celebrate The Tree of Life and The Nation's Drink! We also celebrate the valuable contributions of 15 stalwarts instrumental in the effective promotion of coconut across the nation."
The copy is flanked by a listing of awards -- for best coconut farmer (big, small, traditional, nontraditional), best research worker, best coconut processor, best craftsman, and more.
My first reaction should be to laugh. It's funny! Coconuts! A huge, splashy homage to coconuts! As ludicrous as the "Beef: It's What's For Dinner" campaign! As stupid as writing a weekly column on the miracle of eggs!
And yet...I found myself reading through the awardees, felt a bit of pride seeing the ones from Kerala (I believe the school I was working with visited the farm of the best small traditional farmer last year, but who can tell with every other person named Varghese or George or whatnot). I smiled at the cheeky replacement of an 'O' with a picture of a coconut, an 'I' with a palm tree.
The end times are nigh, my friends.