Saturday morning, early 5:30 ishh. Dotty dear in her hammock like cradle was getting restless and sending signal that is may wake up. I looked up, peeped in. She was smiling at her mom playing with her now in her dreams. I rocked the C. smiled to self. Turned to catch a score or so of more winks. Wify dear was into her own dreams. But breaking dawn broke sleep too. Though the early morning sleep is the sweetest, that day the winks would not come and I got up.
Brewed a hot one. Opened the doors to balcony. A Koel on Gulmohar was coo ing, calling for his mate. Tried locating him but could not. Wonder if she will have better luck! Took another sip and looked down to my butter fruit tree. Lush, washed with day before’s traffic halting rain. There it was, each twig on each branch sprouting an orange, brown, green leaf. Thrusting on and thirsting ahead for growth. To make up for the lost time. Lost years.
Its story begins with a trip of mine with bunch of house and other assorted mates to Ooty. The trip was a memorable on but that is for another day. The gist relevant here is that we were introduced to Avocado or butter fruit. Much used in Mexican salads. Having 70% – give or take few exaggerated percents – fat content. All this from a tall friend of mine. Had one with sugar there and packed one for home.
At home cut the fruit ate half, mom dear sampled the other and the look said you can eat this ? Seed inside the fruit was de-peeling. Played some. Cleaved the cotyledons. Not fully. There it was. Embryo. Peeping out shocked. Unhurt , though firmly exposed. Mom joined the food providers for the E. Pushed the whole thing into a flower pot out side. We pushed whole thing out of memory.
Rains. Embryo struck a root. Shot a shoot. Sprung a leaf. We jogged our brains and then it hit, what it was. This is that little fella from Ooty. Fat help that was though. We could not think of a place to transplant him. So he grew in the pot. Pot cracked. He withered. Life went on till next rains. He put forth new leaves. We transferred him to a largish bucket. He grew to a foot and a half.
House maid saw him over growing the bucket and the roots spreading out. Cut him to size. All that was left for us to see was 3 inches of stub. We planted some croutons next to it. Next rains the fella shot a new shoot and more leaves. Post rains we watered him more. The fight this guy was giving made him dear. We thought we will plant him near Kengeri where we have a small plot of land. This never happened though. What happened was this. To correct an electrical fault in the house an electrician came. He for reasons that defy sanity cleaved the tree that was now good 2 feet vertically all the way down. Again the tree got mutilated. We cut one half. Bandaged the remaining and watered bucket. No luck till next year. Once more rains, shoot and leaves.
By now our flat on Bannergatta was done. We moved. Below our balcony on 2 floor there was place for planting him on Terra firma. With love and care placed him there. Shackles removed he grew. 3 feet, 4 feet, 5 and more. Year passed and he got 4 small branches. Then came the monkeys one day and ripped him. This time though the damage was limited. Fella bigger. So recovered faster.
Now he stands good 10 feet with a few branches and many many leaves. Each rain more leaves emerge. Making up for the lost time. Trunk is now dark and stout. Strong . Looking at him brings hope. No matter what fate, humans or monkeys threw at him he fought. He fought the restrictive growth stunting confines of pot and a bucket. With each new life he grew stronger. Now looks solid. Few more year and will bear fruit. Butter fruit. 70% ( give or take a few ) fat. Hope this spirit dotty will learn. I too. Now if a dog bites, a bee stings and the going is bad, I look up to the better fruit tree and am no more sad.
PS: The arcticle was written 3 years back. Now the tree if grown tall, surpassed the balcony on the second floor. IT bore fruits last 2 years that were a pleasure to eat. This year the wind and rains of Apr have made it drop the fruits raw. Lets see how it goes.