Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Mango Tree Conspiracies

Our mango tree has become the root of several deep-rooted conspiracies in the neighbourhood. Forst up, our house is the first in our lot. There was no house behind nor was there one beside. They all came over a period of time. Our mango tree grew from 1975 and now goes past the second floor in a straight line and most of it, thanks to our rising house, falls away to the house behind us. They normally take away a good lot of mangoes and we let them.

Now, the interesting thing is that in the house next door lives Ramu, a dhobi cum watchman, hos wife, children and grandchildren. This family is always very concerned at the way people steal mangoes form our tree. Chief among them being the people who live on the first floor of their house. They use a long stick and take away all the mangoes they can. Now, these days we have a more aggressive family behind our house who are continuously stealing mangoes from our tree, blatantly at that.

The other day, Ramu's daughter came and asked if they could pluck some 20 mangoes for avakai pickle. I had no inclination of climbing and plucking the mangoes so i said they could. Her son Rajesh went up, plucked 20 for them, another 70 for us an came down. While he was plucking the fruit the man in the house behind was telling him not to pluck the big ones - so he could steal. The gall!

Then Rajesh and his mother gave us our fruit, took away some from our lot too and made some wonderful avakai for us and gave. We are still enjoying the fruit they gave us - ripe and juicy rasalu.

Yesterday we find a huge commotion behind our house. The family behind has planned a full-scale raid on the tree - tables, chairs, sticks and stuff and are all over the walls, the tree etc though on their side. hen I asked their teenage daughter what they were doing - she said they were plucking mangoes. Just like that. Then her father appeared and said - haha, it's your tree only but we are taking a few from this side. The way the entire family was at it like an organised institution was crazy to watch and though on one hand I don't mind them taking mangoes on that side, this brazen way was a bit too much. It rankled but I let it be.

Today morning Ramu came and with an indignant look told me that three boys from the house behind ours were stealing mangoes. He was so upset. Then I wondered - this illiterate, uneducated bunch had the decency to ask, pluck only 20, do us a favour in return, make pickle etc while the two educated families were brazenly stealing! They could also ask, take a few and give a few and everyone is happy.

So i told Ramu to tell Rajesh his grandson to pluck fruit from our side. Instantly they went into action as if avenging our injustice. Guess what? The guy from the house behind appears and tells him not to pluck the big ones, not to pluck from his side etc. In a tragic manner, his entire family came to to see their bounty disappearing. Rajesh is a touch customer - he climbed on their side and plucked out every fruit and cleaned up the tree. Of course, I did not know what happened until he told me. When they came down at 1 pm, they were drenched in sweat but came with some 100 fruit, 30 of which they kept.

It's amazing. The more educated we are, the less cultured we are. Today, Ramu and his family appear like the most thoughtful, sensitive, just and cultured neighbours we have. I am glad we have them on our side too!

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