When I was a year old, my parents left me at the care of my maternal grand parents.
They would visit me every weekend, and spend the two days there. I do not remember this, but has been an occasional discussion on how I loved my grand dad.
As I entered school, my visits became rare, but I would still insist I go to them.
I remember, more than the 1 hour trip, I loved the few hours I would get to play there. Every day was of exploration. The two huge mango trees, the discarded cattle shed, the out house room which was full of surprises. My grand dad, had worked in rest while Malaysia for long, and had brought with him, quite a lot of memorabilia. Going through them every day was also fun.
There were 2 huge mango trees on either side of the front court yard. One on the right side was my favorite. I could climb it and there was a branch where I could sit like in a swing. There was an ixora plant ( thechi poovu) next to this tree, and I could pluck the flowers and drink the nectar sitting up above. The tree would be full of mangoes during our summer holidays. I could sit there and decide which one to eat then, for tomorrow and day after. There was always a fear of losing my reserved mango to a squirrel or the kid walking in the road. So except while sleeping, I always had an eye on them.
I would climb the tree with a paste made of red chili powder, some salt and coconut oil. A knife was a luxury, if I could smuggle one out of grand mom’s reach. Nothing beats plucking a mango right from the tree, dipping in this paste and eating it right there. The seed would be buried with a hope that a sapling would grow there. The success of plucking the one I reserved for the day was much sweeter than the “fiddly successes you get in your complicated matured life “.
When I walk through the super markets today and buy the same mango at ridiculous prices, and then tempting my kid to have one, I miss those mango trees. I feel even sad that my kids don’t have the luxury of stealing a mango from a squirrel and eating it sitting on top of the mango tree.