In the Ashram in Sabarmati, Bapu carried on several experiments in food. He also wished that all should have food from the community-kitchen, the vegetables being supplied from the Ashram garden. Once there was a large supply of pumpkins. It was like all other vegetables, when available, served boiled and saltless (though whoever wanted salt could have it). However, Manibehn1 and Durgabehn2 and a few others found it difficult to digest the vegetable and, in consequence, suffered great discomfort. But none dared to complain to Bapu about it, knowing his enthusiasm for such experiments. Now one day Manibehn composed a garbi song on the pumpkin. Ba happened to hear this. So at once she went to Bapu and told him the whole story. She argued, "The pumpkin, in order to be digestible, has to be seasoned with some spices. It is never taken boiled. That is why Durgabehn and the other sisters have been feeling so sick."
Next day after the evening prayers, Bapu remarked, "I am told a new poet is born in our Ashram.”
Then he asked Manibehn to sing her song on the pumpkin.
Bapu laughed as he listened to the song and then inquired, who among the people
present would like thereafter to take the pumpkins seasoned, so that he might
note down their names. He believed that the sisters concerned would hesitate to
give their names. But, lo! Ba spoke out, "We simply refuse to give our names. We
womenfolk shall decide the matter for ourselves."
Bapu replied, "Well, let it be so. But do not include the girls and boys in your
consultation. For, I know, they prefer unspiced food."
Ba retorted, "Well, you cannot cajole them like that. However, we shall see how
many of them you can keep with you."
Then the sisters listed down the names of the persons concerned and thus obtained
permission to take spiced food.
But Bapu was still undaunted. For, often while taking his meals, he would tease the
sisters, whoever happened to be sitting in front of him at the moment, saying,
"Well, how do you like the spiced vegetable?"
Ba however proved quite a match for him. She threw back, "You had better keep quiet
on this subject. For, do you not remember the days when every Sunday you would
ask me to prepare some delicacies for you and you would gulp them down lustily?"
Thereupon all burst into laughter.