grapefruitAs far as I know, grapefruit is not commonly found in India. It is currently tangerine season in India, and I have eaten oranges here on numerous occasions. Limes and lemons are probably the most prominent of the citrus fruits found in India. The limes/lemons (they seem to be interchangeable here) used here look very similar to the key limes found in the U.S. Grapefruit, however, is not something I have ever once seen in the markets, or in JP’s home, and if there is a fruit to be had in India, JP’s dad has brought it home to me and the rest of his foreign guests. It is one of the things we all love so much about JP’s dad… his ability to produce the best and the juiciest fruits in all of India for our eager and curious taste buds.

So here is the funny thing that happened…

Shortly after we arrived in March, a conversation was taking place between JP and his dad which I could not follow because of it being in Tamil. After some time, JP turned to me and told me that the word for grapefruit in Tamil is “Bumblimas.” We both giggled about the way this word sounded as it rolled off our tongues.


try it out.. its fun!!


Well, we then discovered that our darling daughter loved the sound of this word as well. If we said the word bumblimas to her, she would smile, and sometimes even giggle. It was quite adorable. Because of this, we began to call Leila ‘our little Bumblimas.’ It made us laugh, and it made her laugh.

Then we went out of town with the Sundstrom family. When Leila was crying in her car seat, or when we were lounging around, or when we wanted to tease her, we would playfully call her Bumblimas. It was really catching on!! In fact, it was catching on more than we realized. We visited a temple in Madurai, and it was a packed house due to the temple being newly painted and re-opened. We had meandered our way through the entire temple and were making our way out through the throngs of people when one of the workers at the temple looked at Leila in JP’s arms and called her a Bumblimas!! Ha! And, no, we did not mistake her words because she pulled a friend over, pointed at Leila, and once more called her Bumblimas.


(You know you want to say it again!)

Well, as it turns out, our cousin Sheeba informed us that people in South Tamil Nadu often refer to chubby babies as Bumblimas. They have no idea that there is a fruit out there that it also called Bumblimas. Haha! I do get it, though, with those nice round cheeks of Leila’s how someone might think them akin to the roundness of a grapefruit. I find all of this to be a hilarious and wonderful way of coming up with (and confirming) the cutest nickname ever.

Our little Bumblimas on her 6 month birthday, dressed up and attending her first Indian wedding.  Pictured here with Ansu Auntie.

Our little Bumblimas on her 6 month birthday, dressed up and attending her first Indian wedding. Pictured here with Ansu Auntie.

And just as a closing note…

They DO have bumblimas in India, at least they do in Bangalore. The reason I know this is because my poor sister-in-law, Anita, was craving bumblimas, and my poor father-in-law was scouring the city to find some for her. There have been several sightings recently, but none have arrived at home yet. Wouldn’t you know, now I’m starting to crave it too!

15 thoughts on “Grapefruit

  1. Dearest Katy, JP, and Leila (aka Bumblimas!)
    What an adorable story…and love how the name just rolls off my tongue too!! Hope you’re all doing well, and gotta stick with the nickname! Love you all! Lori šŸ™‚

    • Great to hear from you Lori.. thank you for your comments.. keeps us motivated to update often..:) Tell Scott we say hello…!

  2. Its very funny to read your story….And nice too… And one more thing is your daughter is small BUMBLIMAS… And i am big BUMBLIMAS… In my home & my neighbor too call me by this name only… So it remember me about my jolly days with my relations… And now only i know this is the name of one fruit…

    • How is ur kutty BUMBLIMAS? Now she is 11 month baby. Till now r u call her like this? What is her real name?

  3. I was searching for Tamil Translation for Grapfruit.. and , here I am … landed in your blogspot…. Yes , I also remember from chilhood — now I am all of 55 years – the word bumblimass . I have eaten them too – a bit more tangy than Satthukudi fruit….( lemon family ) , with over-sized units….

  4. My grandfather had a Bumbimaass tree at home. The fruits used to be much larger than the biggest pink grapefruit I have seen in the US – size of a medium cantelope! They were nice pink inside. We used to sprinkle a little sugar and have them. When I first had a pink grapefruit in the US I said to myself this is good old “bumlibupli”!

  5. i remember eating bomblimas in chennai (then madras) grown in my Ajji’s mother;s home in in old mambalam in the year 1965

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