A Tree Story

We just lost another prized ‘Breadfruit‘ to garden thieves!! This is the second time in as many months & I’m so pissed off right now…I advise you to maintain a safe distance from your screens, lest the rage finds a way to travel across space & time and strangle you 😛

But seriously, thievery of any kind just gets my blood boiling. It violates personal space and leaves a stoic bitterness. It’s scary too – to know someone has been where they shouldn’t have, where they had no right to be. Intrusion is never a good thing. It’s worse when I know there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not like I have a hope catching whoever did it, and the only thing I can do, is ask the boy who waters our garden, whether he has any ideas. I suspect him, but I can’t accuse without proof can I? The feelings of helplessness do nothing to soothe the rage. Also of course, I happen to love breadfruit and so it’s personal on so many levels! Perhaps you think this is a lot of fuss over a few fruit…maybe you’re right. But I think not. It’s just one of so many things that seem determined to turn Life into an obstacle course right now. Also for reasons, I can’t really explain, I love our Tree 🙂 It’s like Family. You love them out of habit 😉

The Tree has a long, beloved history. In its first avatar, it came to us 31 years ago (It’s as old as this house is!), from my Dad’s native village, as a young sapling in a plastic bag. It was duly planted and revered and in 4-5 years, started giving us sweetly, spongy breadfruit, which we fried and cooked into vegetable curries. With time, our Tree became the beloved of many! Certainly, our entire family swore by the sweetness and flavor of the fruit, that we carried to them on our regular visits to Bombay, particularly during the ‘Elephant God’ Festival, which is peak season. Our now flourishing tree, was famous, for the quality and size of its fruit 🙂 Now, to be honest, as a kid, I had as much love for vegetables as the next kid…that is to say None! Things have changed now of course, and my love for the veggies has grown in proportion to my nausea of fish 😛 In those days, I never understood all the fuss about ‘some stupid vegetable’, which was large, round, heavy and a nightmare to carry in checked in baggage cause it looked like a giant green grenade on the security monitor! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to unpack for the security guys so they could make sure I wasn’t some terrorist on my way to plant a bomb somewhere. Honestly! Did the fact, that on seeing the fruit, they generally then burst into appreciative Oohs & Aahs help – uh, NO! But that was then.

The Fruit that was stolen!

About 10 years ago, the Tree grew so large, that it bent under it’s own weight. One side was leaning right into the first floor balconies of the Hospital next door! Something had to be done in order to avoid a neighbourhood feud, and so the branches were trimmed extensively, while we figured out what to do next. I remember it being a huge deal. There was talk about how the Tree would have to be killed or would die if it was uprooted and planted anew, I don’t remember exactly which. I do remember Mom being upset and in depth discussions on what was to be done next. The thought of losing the Tree was unbearable to Mom and indeed to the rest of the family. It had served us so long, so well and was practically one of the family! As is so often the case, Nature provides her own solutions 🙂 Great ones too…better than any we can think up ourselves, most of the time! Unbeknownst to us, Mother Tree had birthed a young sapling, which we discovered next to one of our Coconut Palms! She was obviously looking after her own future & just in time too! We planted the new sapling, where it still stands today, its large geometric leafy canopy making pretty shadows beneath. I love it. I cannot explain why exactly – I just do! It’s like a member of our family really and in its turn, continues to pamper us with high quality, sweet, spongy fruit that still travels to family in Bombay, much to their delight. Only these days, it does so in the boot of our car! Yeah – I’ve had enough of being mistaken for a terrorist! Not a particularly healthy way to live 😉

Our Tree

So you see, when some, a%^&*&#, loser, creeps in to the our garden and picks off a succulent breadfruit that was hanging alluringly at hand-plucking distance, I take it very personally indeed! Thankfully there are more fruit, way up among the higher branches safe from thieving hands but also from our loving ones! I hope whoever it was, meets his just ‘fruits’ (I know! Bad corny! Couldn’t resist!), and at the least suffers a terrible stomach upset!

Meanwhile, I’ve just spent 10 minutes gazing at the Tree and softly reassuring her that ‘All will be Well’. She didn’t whisper back (Oh that She would!), but her leaves rustled serenely, trustingly and I think she knows, we’ll both be OK. Who’d have thunk it? But that’s Tree wisdom for you…don’t fight the inevitable, accept what you cannot change, make the best with what you have and trust in Nature. She knows best and takes care of her own. Good things endure 🙂 Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Plant a Tree, People 🙂

8 thoughts on “A Tree Story

  1. Hey Harshatai…lovely write -up….even we have one in our garden at Mangeshi. But, as you said, it started growing so huge that the branches would want to peep into the windows of our neighbours. So, Dad just trimmed it totally…but, it still stands there….and still gives us what it is best at….

  2. I would be really upset if someone snuck into our yard and stole my cherries or blueberries. However, we encourage people to help themselves to our rhubarb because we have so much of it and don’t want to waste it!

    Hope you catch the breadfruit thief!

    Hugs,
    Wendy

    1. Oooh I love Cherries, Wendy 🙂 We don’t get them here in Goa 😦 I don’t think we’ll have much luck with our thief, but at least the rest of the fruit are out of his way, unless he runs around with a really tall ladder!!

      Hugs, H.

  3. Sorry to hear you were robbed Harsha. That is a violation! You are so right about trees being part of the family. I am a total tree person too, but I never really thought of it that way. I’ve had some amazing trees that were part of my growing years too, and I want that for my daughters. Right now we’re renting, but when we did own a home, tree selection was very important. When we buy again, trees are one of my highest priorities. Great post!

    1. Thanks Jacque 😀 I’ve always loved Nature, and trees are just the epitome of one of Nature’s many miracles aren’t they? I mean…a mighty oak from the humble acorn…Miraculous 🙂 I hope you get to pick trees again soon 🙂

  4. I’m not sure I’ve ever had breadfruit before, but now I will look for it at the market.

    It’s lovely how this tree and the baby tree has become like a member of your family. What a terrific story. I will think of you and your tree today when I go for a walk in my neighborhood and see all the beautiful dogwood trees in bloom.

    1. Hi Jacquelin (I’m hoping I’ve guessed your name right). Thanks for visiting and for the comment and I’m sorry for the delay in reply. Have been caught up with my Dad’s medical issues for a while now as you know.

      I love Nature. Nothing brings me more joy and nothing is more restful. Do you live where breadfruit are available? You must try it! We don’t have dogwoods here in India, but I know from pictures how beautiful they are. You’re lucky to have them 🙂

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