The Mango Tree

Mang

Mango Tree tall and big evokes a strong sense of nostalgia in me, for much of my life in childhood was spent under the precincts of big mango trees. We were fortunate to have neighbors who had 5 big mango trees with lithe branches in their garden providing much succor and shade to near by roads and houses.

Mango Trees

Kids of Chottupura (our locality) virtually grew up under the shades of mango trees. Our evenings were spent under these giant trees. The galli cricket or table tennis or just chit chat the avenue always was facilitated in the shades of mango tree. Come summer the mango trees provided an anodyne milieu for starting our game in sultry heat at 2pm. The Mango Trees have witnessed it all, the thrilling cricket matches played with much verve and passion, the little skirmishes off the field and who can forget the Chottupura slapgate? The Bully Proto slapped the innocuous Natraj under the mango tree. The slapgate of Chottupura snow-balled to a big controversy and was settled out again under the Mango Tree. I vividly remember the outrageous parents and neighbors of Natraj protesting and walking to Proto’s house to tame the bully. Unfortunately the bully never had compunction of his deeds. Stalemate prevailed and no action took place on the field for next couple of days, Proto was unofficially banned. But then things cooled down and back were the boys for action and fun under the mango tree. Summer was also the time of mangoes raw and ripe. Miscreants attacked the mango trees with stones and aimed high at the perching mangoes. Passer by had torrid time evading stones falling on their head or mangoes falling on their heads. We bore the brunt as an old house with tiled roofs the tiles broke when the stone fell on them. But it was all taken in stride because having mango trees burgeoning over the roof outweighed these small hardships.

I was really lucky to have access to mangoes high on the branches by just a grasp of hands from my terrace. Have a look at this picture.

Mangoes at a hand reach

Raw mangoes cut into slices peppered with salt – a real mouth watery stuff. Later part of my year during graduation and post graduation mango tree played a major part in my studies providing a bevy of convenience and a comfortable study arena. During study holidays early mornings and much of the evenings were spent in the terrace under the shade of mango tree reading and working on the subjects. It was as if the Mango Trees providing a cornucopia of energy and inspiration to slog out long hours.

Ok, why these entire mango talk now? Is it just that summer is bringing in the mango memories, well No! When I moved to my apartment in Hyderabad, we had a mango sapling at one of the corners of our compound; it was reminiscent of the giant mango trees which I was used to, infact like a stripling of those grand daddies. I was ecstatic; I was dreaming of the days when it would bloom out and become tall and strong providing the shade and comfort. I was waiting for the day in which raw mangoes would be borne out of it and I can pluck those to revisit the good old days of eating raw mango peppered with salt. Till yesterday it was there on the corner growing more than 12ft high and daily I would check its progress. Alas! today its no more, the lust and greed of human mind has cut its life short. With a stroke of axe it has fallen and rooted out and I have given it a poignant farewell. All this for building a shed for drivers, oh! Man you just could have sat on the shades of Mango Tree rather than under an abestos sheet. But in today’s world there is hardly any sense prevailing…..for such magnificent trees to survive.

Hopefully someday I too will own a piece of land and plant a mango tree!

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3 thoughts on “The Mango Tree

  1. Good one da. Really nostalgic. You have taken me to those good days, which I wish could come ever. Come what may, we need to settle down our last few years at that great place, Trivandrum. What all things would these mango trees have witnessed? All those road side cricket of our senior Annas, an english film shooting wherein Ramesh’s father played a role, etc etc. I believe, among those five mango trees, hardly a couple of them is still there at that place, and the remaining ones have been hacked off as a part of renovation of Ramesh’s house.

  2. Dear Apple, thanks for making me (in)famous!

    Well, first of all, a much belated thanks for a great post. You really have a habit of surprising us with gems like this, turning up out of the blue.

    Hmm.. me.. a bully? Not many who have seen me (only) after that episode would believe it :).

    Well, do I believe I did something wrong? Yes and No. Yes, because I think I should have had the maturity to understand that it was just a game of cricket, and that I had no right to hit anyone even if they were lying (but I was just a pretty passionate kid then). No, because I sincerely thought (and still believe) he was lying when he said I was out. But what I think and believe doesn’t matter at all to the world, doesn’t it?

    Did I learn any lessons from that episode? Yes, a lot. The first was that I was on my own to fight my battles. I was unceremoniously banned from playing inside Ramesh’s place (our Eden Gardens) and so was confined to play outside (can’t remember with whom since all of you were busy playing inside..perhaps with Ashokan and Santhosh) on the street. The second was that I can’t count on anyone to be with me or fight for me..I thought at least my cousin Reghu would stand by me and won’t go and play there, but alas, that too didn’t happen. Believe me, the fact that no one thought there was merit in my contention that that guy was lying baffled me, and hurt a lot. Of course, as you vividly remember, people remember the fact that I hit him, and not the why.

    I think I took it my stride, and one of the success of my childhood after that incident was when I was allowed back to play inside Ramesh’s house and to make many people say “Suresh chamathu..avana paathu padi” through my deeds and behaviour. I didn’t do anything special to change my deeds or behaviour or to make people say that. It was just that I hit him at an unfortunate moment and wiped off whatever good will I had earned till then. Since I just kept doing what I was good at before the incident — being a good student and a reasonably well mannered and may I add, mature boy for my age — and people started noticing me again.

    So, why am I writing all this nonsense now? Well, perhaps due to the fact that that incident is a wound that is still wet somewhere deep down inside. I am actually thankful to God that it happened, and made me realize early enough that I am alone in this world, and that it is my duty to fight for myself, and to work hard to ensure I do well in life.

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