…something very satisfying about sauntering out to your garden, and picking fruit off a tree. To stand on tip toe, fumble around for the ripe ones and tug at it, till your hands are brimming with green goodness. Never mind that it’s fruit as unglamorous as billin (what is it called in English btw?), it’s still very satisfying. It’s almost as good a high as writing your name on a newly purchased book. (Random fact no: 49 – When I was a kid, I used to cheerfully write my name on the front and back page and for good measure inside a few pages in the book as well. You know, just to let people know it’s mine, in case they didn’t already.)

My grandmother had a magnificent mango tree in her garden. My mum planted it a little after my sister was born, and for 13 years it flourished but strangely, didn’t bear any fruit. When my cat died, we buried her at the base of the mango tree, and a few months later the tree broke into blossom and bore its first mangoes.

And oh my gosh, the mangoes! The boughs of the tree would hang enticingly over the wall, laden with the juiciest of fruit, and picking the fruit used to be a wonderful, if slightly chaotic, family ritual. My grandmother had to deal with gunny bag toting men, jumping over her wall and trying to steal mangoes in the dead of the night. But the tree was cut down a few months back as it was disease-ridden and would’ve infected the other trees in the garden and all that remains now is a charred stump.

My mums a gardening fanatic, and thanks to her efforts our back yard now bears thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, karapincha, basil and oregano. The ambarella tree she planted bore a few obligatory (and slightly shrivelled) ambarellas and then as though, exhausted by the effort, withered and died. The beautiful rose-apple tree (jambuuuu!) and lovi tree also in our garden years before our house was built were chopped off over the years to make room for construction.

The seasonal fruit sellers who cluster around Havelock Road have come and gone. They were a bit more enterprising this year, and hung the mandarin oranges in red net bags and strung them on the trees. And the overall effect looked very (I’m running out of adjectives here) pretty.

So, the billing has now been pickled and bottled. ( I really wanted to say that. It feels so gloriously Enid Blyton-ish. I feel like I should be grooming my horse and sitting down for a high tea, next.)


Have a good Friday, all.

16 thoughts on “There’s..

  1. >hmmm… u do know that u are probably eating ur cat in those mangoes ryt? wat with the decomposition of its body and the minerals and nutrients being sapped into the mango tree… :p hehehe


  2. >Oooh biling! I ate way too much when of it when I was a kid and now my teeth are forever sensitive to acid. Still doesn't stop me though!I agree about the satisfaction of picking your own fruit – we have a rambutan tree but when it's in season it's a constant battle between me and the parrots and the squirrels. That part is not so fun. But actually getting to the ripe juicy fruit and picking it is, yes, totally awesome!


  3. >BILINGGGGGGGGGGG!!! (that's actually what came to mind when I saw the first photo 😀 ) We had two biling trees, a massive mango tree, ambarella, pera, anoda, and loads of plantains and papaws…and also murunga, karawila, karapincha and some other stuff I can't remember. I think we even managed to grow a pineapple once. And of course countless thambili trees.And then we sold the house and moved 😦


  4. >I kept reading biling as bling (I seriously need to get hold of some cash). I love the first picture. I have *attempted* to climb and fallen off many trees while trying to pluck fruits so I know what you mean by the satisfaction bit.I lovvveeee Enid Blyton! 😀 I have a faraway tree tooooooh! 😀


  5. >You know spelling biling with double "L" reminds me of how my colleagues and I wanted to purchase a "Billing tree" so we could please our bosses who always wanted billing and nothing else. Well i do hope you make a nice curry with the biling it is absolutely awsome specially with roti.


  6. >Talking of being so gloriously Enid Blytonish, I am glad to inform you that I have published a book on Enid Blyton, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage ( Isabirye


  7. >LD, quite sour actually.FinRod, ewww. No. Just no. -__-Darwin, ooh. The rambutan sounds awesome!Sigma, its too bad all the fruit trees were cut :(PR, that sounds like a tropical heaven! I cant believe your’ll moved!Sabby, in my case I just needed a stool 😉 CJ, it came out quite well, thank you :)Gorevidal, lol. I bet you didCCS lover and Entrpy, thanks for digging up the name 🙂


  8. >We had a few biling trees in my garden, bad sadly they were cut off! Still my mom and my grandma use them for curries and sambols. I love hoe it tastes. The center shock taste it gives is awesome. the sourness explodes in the mouth once you bite in to it! The big, little over ripe, juicy once are the best! I haven't had any in a long time! Should try some soon now that you have tempted me 😀 Excellent post! well written :Dcheers!


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