A pollinator dependent crop, chayote or chow chow, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family. Some other family members include pumpkin, bottle gourd, zucchini and squash.Studies from the Western Ghats claim that chayote can grow between 900 to 1370 MSL (meters above sea level). But Ooty is 2240 MSL. Climate change could explain chayote’s ability to grow at higher elevations.At his parents’ home in Ooty during the lockdown, Siddhartha Krishnan photographed the bounty of chayote growing in the garden. As COVID-19 surged in the sweltering plains, Ooty, the headquarters of the Nilgiris district, had a safe summer. Infection numbers and rates were under control. Locked-down at my parents in Ooty, my occasional town visits were to buy a fortnight’s supply. Monsoons curtailed these excursions. This was my longest and wettest work from home phase. Given the pandemic’s disproportionate assault on the poor, a privileged one. Our home has a small lawn in front, and a bigger backyard. Come rain, or that little bit of shine, I spent much of my offline time wandering about in a leaf-littered and slushy backyard with my camera. Particularly in a small pear and walnut orchard. Otherwise sparse looking in summer and winter, this monsoon, our backyard orchard was a creepy, knobbly and prickly bounty. My mother, a retired pediatrician, does prefer her garden a tad ‘wild’ and lush. But the chayote (commonly called chow chow) she planted five years ago, outgrew her garden aesthetic. The author’s mother picking chayote or chow chow in her backyard in Ooty. Photo by Siddhartha Krishnan. Chow belongs to the gourd family. Some other family members include pumpkin and bottle gourd. Photo by Siddhartha Krishnan. Curried, fried, pickled or sautéed, chayote, or chow, became a family dietary staple. The occasional masked visitor bade bye with a bagful. Chayote is by itself charitable in nutrition, as we shall see. But it has a charity in imagery. The way it grows, grows on a photographer. You keep coming back to frame it in its lumpy or thorny whole, or in its spindly and tendril-y parts. At different times of the day; under different light conditions. Pickle prepared from Chow. Photo by Siddhartha Krishnan.