Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hooked on to chillies

A 17-month-old toddler in Assam happily devours the locally available scorching Bhut Jolokia, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest chilli on earth.

Hot chilli Bhut Jolokia

The parents of Jayanta Lahan of Romai village in Dibrugarh district, 495 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati, say the child gleefully munches a handful of Bhut Jolokia, the world’s hottest chilli, without batting an eyelid. "Just recently he ate some 50 Bhut Jolokias in about three to four hours without showing any signs of tears or burning sensation in his stomach," the child’s father Ritul, a farmer, said. The child, nicknamed Johnny, became hooked on to chillies when he was just about eight months. "I was cooking in my kitchen and Johnny was crawling on the floor when he laid his hands on some chillies and ate them. I cried for help but the kid was fine," his mother Rupjyoti said.

Since then little Johnny’s appetite for chillies has grown and today he gobbles up handfuls of the fiery peppers with no effect on his health. "When we visit homes of friends and relatives, the host offers Bhut Jolokia to the kid instead of toffees. If someone offers him a toffee, he pops it into his mouth and instantly takes it out," the disbelieving parents said. Even so, Johnny’s parents are concerned and try to keep him away from his favourite munchies.

"We try to divert his mind away from chillies. At times it works but it seems he cannot live without eating it. We have consulted several doctors and carried out medical tests but we were told he is healthy and absolutely fine," his father said.

The illiterate parents don’t want to risk their child’s health by going for world records.