As my professor went on discussing her favorite still life — the apples painted on a canvas by the French painter, Paul Cezanne, I couldn’t help but think how significant a fruit Apple had been in the course of history, well certainly in my history as the foodie was unleashed in me with the first-ever thing I digested — a mashed apple! (There is no credible source for this information though, except for my mother)
Onions can make you cry, Mango can be an emperor, but apples have been life-changing, in some cases world-changing, almost like revolutionaries!
To begin with, let’s take a stroll in the Garden of Eden where the awakening of humankind took place as Adam and Eve took a bite of the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ from the tree of knowledge which led to their banishment and the beginning of our ‘mortal’ troubles. The ‘forbidden fruit’ could have been any tree fruit; however, the juxtaposition of this tale with other cultures led to the west interpreting it to be an Apple. Thus the apple was depicted as man’s ‘original sin’, knowledge and temptation. If the tales are to be believed, the origin of the bulge in the throat (prominent in men) –Adam’s apple, could be attributed to a part of the fruit getting stuck in Adam’s larynx.
Apples have had important roles to play in Greek mythology. For instance, as the 11th labor, to atone for his murderous rage- Hercules steals Hera’s Apples of Hesperides that could bestow one with immortality -on the commandment of King Eurystheus. This however turns out to be a futile attempt as Athena takes them back.
The Trojan War could also in a lot of sense be attributed to the golden apples — becoming the origin for the phrase ‘Apple of Discord’ where Paris was promised the Helen of Sparta in exchange for the golden apple — by Aphrodite as a part of the story ‘The judgment of Paris’
Moving on from Mythology, the fall of an Apple also led to the acceleration (perhaps not at 9.8 m/s!) of the advancement of science. Legend states that an Apple fell on the head of Isaac Newton leading him to speculate the presence of gravity, even though one cannot assert the truth behind this, in reality, apparently our man — Newton (who perhaps is the blame bearer for the misery of many students) witnessed the fall of an Apple from the tree and eventually developed his study around the Laws of Gravitation and Motion.
Carrying on the legacy of Advancement in science and technology was another genius — Alan Turing, in popular culture he is the protagonist (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) of the historical drama ‘The Imitation Game’. Turing laid the foundation on which the first computer was based. As an important figure during the World War II, he contributed to the decryption of coded German messages sent from the machine — ‘Enigma’, pitting a machine against another machine- discovering the idea of artificial intelligence. However, at the age of 41, Alan Turing was lost to an apple laced with Cyanide — probably stunting the growth of Artificial intelligence and information technology, which in his presence could otherwise have been very rapid.
Turing couldn’t recover from one bite of a poisonous apple but Snow White surely did. The fairy tale in whose plot — an apple had some serious gravity changed the course of cinema, film making, and animation forever. The 90-minute feature film — Snow White and the seven Dwarfs created by Walt Disney- something audiences had never witnessed- established Disney in Hollywood, famously and financially, eventually leading to the birth of many of our favorite films — right from Bambi and Dumbo to Frozen and Moana, not to forget its other subsidiaries like LucasFilms and Marvel. An Apple became a life changer for the now renowned Disney Studios that threatens to monopolize the entertainment industry.
Another Apple worth a notable mention would be the Apple Corps, a multimedia company started by the rock band The Beatles. It eventually became one of the major causes of the split of the famous and immensely loved band, but in a certain sense, it allowed the emergence of rock and pop in the world of entertainment.
This brings us to the latest Apple — Steve Job’s dream- that completely changed the face of technology, transforming the tech industry and the world, not just once but multiple times! Technology users are often divided into the ardent Apple worshippers and the disapprovers for being overrated and overpriced, but one cannot deny its contribution in reshaping lives. The revolutionary Apple II, its more successful successor Macintosh — the first computer to use a GUI and high on ‘coolness quotient’ -iPod was followed by a tool that allowed the world into your pocket– the iPhone which went on year by year adding a new number next to it, and new zeroes beside its price — bringing us to the current scenario where Apple isn’t just a major tech force but also a symbol of essential luxury for many.
To conclude, ‘An Apple a day, keeps the doctor Away’ may or may not be true but one cannot overlook the nutritious properties that an Apple comes with. Perhaps the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ may have been worth tampering with, after all. Maybe one of the first things we learned as kids — A for Apple — has a deeper meaning attached to it.