…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.)