Yes, I know that the title sounds like a topic given to a nine or ten year old at school. But I deliberately choose this as most of my memories with these trees are of the time when I was a child, the time I would love to go back to, in my thoughts. Some of the trees still silently stand and some no more decorate the front yard of my house, but they all have stories to tell about me and my childhood. So let me just pick the favorite of mine first.
The Guava Tree-
The Guava Tree-
It won’t be wrong to say that I would be found more on top of this tree than any other place around the house. If I was bored, I climbed to the topmost branch and sat there to enjoy the cool breeze of air. If I was hungry, soon after lunch, there are always some guavas to taste on. I knew which fruit tasted the best. I preferred the ones which were half ripe. During exam times, if I needed privacy, Guava tree was the first priority. Subjects like Hindi, English and Social science where best suited to be studied on trees. :-)
My sister and I would choose a few guavas and book them for ourselves. We would cover the chosen one with a plastic bag to recognize who they belonged to. At times, when I was very desperate and could not find any good ones, I secretly ate the ones reserved by my sisters and leave the plastic bag intact. :-)
Chikku Tree (Sapota in Kannada) –
The chikku tree in our front yard had one special thing. Till today (20-25 years after it was planted) we have not tasted one single fruit from the tree. Few tender chikku’s were seen in the beginning but they vanished with time. Culprit – Squirrels.
But my memory with the tree has nothing to do with its fruits. Anupama (my cousin) & I had one favorite time pass during holidays - fooling her little brother Krishna. I would climb the Chikku tree and sit there, hiding between the leaves. Anupama would convince Krishna that she & I were friends with a ghost that lived on the Chikku tree and it would provide us diamonds and gold if made a wish. When did so I would slowly drop an artificial jewelry (Mostly the buttons from my Kurta which had some polished stone).
Krishna would be surprised, thrilled to know about the ghost. But at the end of the game always we got good scolding from the elders as he would complain crying to the elders that we scared him with such stupid stories. Anupama and I would then run away to escape scolding’s. :-)
Cashew Tree –
The cashew tree in our compound was my other favorite study place. I used to sit on one of its branches while studying for exams. This tree was right next to the path that leads to many houses around. So when our neighbors would pass by, I would drop a cashew nut or sometimes a stone next to them. Some spotted me and smiled or talked but some would just walk away picking up the cashew nut that they had received by chance, without knowing my presence. This was a nice break for me in between the rigorous studies.
The flower parijaatha makes its presence in stories of Lord Krishna. The fragrance of the flower is unique and its appearance lovely; Small white flower with an orange neck. My grandmother (mom’s mother) stayed in our house only once for a long period, which was during my thread ceremony. Early morning she would go to the tree and pluck flowers and make mala out of it. I used to follow her. Even today when I walk there and spot the flowers fallen loosely, unheeded, on the ground, I recall those moments with amma-amma (Grandmother).
Banyan Tree -
Banyan Tree -
Banyan tree till date remains my favorite tree. My most relished childhood memories are with this tree. I used to enjoy swinging with the roots that break loose off the tree. The tree was at a certain height and we would catch hold of its root to glide and fall on to the ground. My sister and my relatives would cook dishes beneath the tree by stealing some oil and vegetables and they would even bake the already baked biscuits. :-) I was sad when tree was cut; they say the roots of the tree travel distance and may be dangerous to the foundation of the house. I was too young to notice such reasons, to me it was end of lot of fun; end of the pride with which I used to impress the little guests to my house.
Mango Tree –
We never seem to be lucky with mangoes though. We have two trees but never get to taste more of it. Pickles are made from them because they do not taste very good when ripe. I would go to my neighbors and borrow mangoes from them for lunch. I love to have sliced mangoes along with meals (A style I learnt again from my favorite Muslim neighbors). When I had to pluck some from our tree, I would climb up the roof and use what we call “Donti” – A long bamboo stick to the end of which is attached a knife or another sharpened bamboo stick. We have a bamboo bush of our own to make quick donti’s. But there were always many other options to relish tasty mangoes – by stealing from others garden, which I loved the most. :-)
To Be Continued.....