Mangoes, My Mangoes are forever

The mango tree is right in my backyard. It is green and has bottle green leaves in abundance. The mango tree looks a little crooked as it always bent towards the incoming sunrays for food.

2010-06-11 12:40:0
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

THE MANGO tree is right in my backyard. It is green and has bottle green leaves in abundance. The mango tree looks a little crooked as it always bent towards the incoming sunrays for food. It is with sunrays that it got its "daily bread" In the process it leaned and leaned in one direction - the direction sunrays came from. Never mind the shape as long as the size of the tree, the leaves and consequently the fruit is impressive. SOWING AND HARVESTING Sowing was fun. Our children ate the world-famous Lucknow Dussehri and just planted the big seeds and kernel in the handkerchief size kitchen garden. The favourable climate, soil, water with genuine cow-dung manure thrown in, the seed had little choice but to germinate. With the advent of monsoon showers seven years ago when global warming was not heard of and no human activity tampered with the natural course of climate, half a dozen mango saplings were seen swaying in the morning breeze. No farmer from the Malwa could be happier than we were on seeing saplings. We had a distant dream too. All saplings would grow into sturdy big mango trees fruiting in season and attracting neighbourhood unbridled children with energy and strength like Prometheus Unbound. Our Lady of the House was more concerned about the window panes taking the fury of stone throwing children to pluck a few unripe mangoes. The scenario was drawn in mind much before saplings gained height and strength to reach the stage of flowering and fruiting. Don't we all plan the future career of our children the moment midwife announces the arrival of a new baby in the family? In defence parlance it is called Forward Planning. Mental harvesting is done along with sowing of seeds. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Not all mango saplings survived. The hot sun in summer and the dustygusty hot winds called Loo took their toll. Notwithstanding all care and attention along with humming of sweet tunes from Lata Mangeshkar's album, five growing saplings dried up and ended up in the Havan Kund for the Diwali Havan. It was a kind of Sadgati for saplings, so said the Purohit. After all he is a well wisher of the entire neighbourhood and tells

no lies. Two saplings stood the test of time. These gladden our hearts whenever we take a look at them. Five years have gone by. Much water has flown down the Ganges ( read Yamuna in this case) and many regimes have changed in the national capital. The saplings have matured into flowering trees. The spring season has added colour and fragrance to the mango flowers called Manjari. The passers by stop over for a moment to have a sniff of the fragrant mango flower or Manjari. We all feel happy at the sight. The bad weather again took its toll and some of the Manjari could not bear fruits. Insects also had their feed. Although the Army way of life has put us beyond the ken of Ahimsa, still we could not kill or destroy all insects to save the Manjaris. Some different types of ferocious insects attacked the trees too but we were successful in killing them lock stock and barrel. The trees not only survived but grew healthier, thanks to a rich feed that they were given on the advice of a horticulturist friend. Fruits grew big. They ripened too. They changed colours from green to yellow. The security guards of the colony ensured that urchins were kapt a bay. The auspicious day for plucking ripe fruits, Mangoes, was heralded with a Havan. The ladies of the house and the neighbourhood sang Mangalacharan. The first fruit was offered to the Purohit. The neighbous helped themselves with the juicy sweet mangoes of the variety of Dussehri but slightly smaller in size. Children who had planted them were now settled in their marital homes but not forgotten. They got their share through a well wrapped parcel and wrote back to say how much they enjoyed eating fruits of their own labour. Thank God there was no love's labour lost. Mangoes, our Mangoes tasted sweeter and juicier than the Lucknow Dussehri prompting us to announce Mangoes – OUR MANGOES ARE FOR EVER.

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