THE JACKFRUIT TREE

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Heaps of fragment mangoes lay open on either side of the road, ready to be sold to the next customer.Some seemed to be separated too young from their mothers, others were ripe and full and some lay old, wrinkled and a little black. If the latter were not retrieved at the earliest for delighting some human being, they would perish.
Did that possibility make them sad? Can’t say for sure. Do they really have a weakness for us as we have for them? Again can’t say for sure….

I had a beautiful hill top quarter a few years back. Thirty steps lead to it in a gradual incline. The lower part of the hill was covered with varied flower plants on all the sides. Some I knew by their names and some I did not. I did not even feel the need to google and find out.They were wild and lent a certain untamed touch to the hill which I loved. I delighted in the wilderness and uncertainty of the forest. Isn’t life not like that too, surprising and untamed? We know not what lies in the next bend round the corner. But we carry onwards with faith and hope.
The top of the hill had a small plateau like structure which housed my quarter. The rocky garden out had trees of many types. The Bouganvillea shrub rose taller than 20 feet, spread it’s branches far and wide and formed a huge crown of purple flowers on the roof of the house. Between its branches grew intertwined two huge berry trees which borefruit perennially. In Summer, the ground became laden with brown berries and purple jamuns and purple Bouganvillea flowers and they all smelled like Jackfruit together. It’s overpowering, ripened smell spread everywhere and did not give a chance to the others to assert themselves. So they all smelled like one.

I loved the three Jackfruit trees in the premises, especially the one near the kitchen window in the backyard. I watched it quietly every day as it lost all leaves and turned into a skeleton, then small light green leaves sprouted out and then as the leaves became bright and shone, flowers sprang forth. A small thunderstorm raged every night and I watched the fallen flowers in dismay. This meant lesser fruits. This tree had the best fruit of all. Each grew up to ten to twelve kilogram, mostly crowding towards the lower part of the trunk. Watching them grow steadily filled me with pleasure. This one for Mother in law, that for my neighbour, that for my friend etc…..I earmarked them all for someone. I wonder retrospectively, now if they ever felt antagonized by my marking them as such.
Why does this remind me of child marraige?🤔🤔
The fruits grew big and ripe and were all plucked and sent packing to the persons designated.
The season of it was nearing an end too. The tree stood stoically depleted of its last fruit….I know not why it looked dissatisfied. Probably a figment of my imagination. I brushed aside the thought. I had always felt a certain connection with plant life right from childhood….as if they reached out to me…as if I was somehow an extension of them……just being in their vicinity put the scales back to where they were supposed to be within me…


Is there a reason why Saints and Sadhus head towards the hills and the mountains for delving within themselves? Is it only because of the comparitive quietitude that the forests afford? Or is there more than what meets the eye?🤔🤔🤔🤔.

Coming back to the present, I brushed off the unpleasant thoughts. It
was it’s destiny, isn’t it? To be consumed by humans far and wide so that it’s seeds could be sprinkled for little similar plants to grow. I was after all aiding its life processes, I thought smugly.

I could not visit my quarter for a few days after that. I did not dwell regularly in it for I stayed in a joint family elsewhere in the town.
That day when I climbed up the stairs to it, I was overpowered by the fragrant smell again. How could it be?I ran towards the tree. Two huge Jackfruits lay on the soil, crushed open by the fall from the top of the tree perhaps. On it lay, sucking the sweet juice, hundreds of butterflies. Butterflies so breath takingly beautiful that I almost gasped. Light yellow and brown, purple and black, orange and golden, reddish and black. A huge celebration was on with little birds and fruit flys joining in. Birds chirped loudly sitting on the branches….the kinds I had never seen before. I stood silently absorbing the gaity around. It remains etched in my memory, as if it was only yesterday….

Mother Nature cares and bears fruits for everyone. We are just one set of her children. How easily we forget this….

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