Plum, Pear, and Peaches

Sunita Giri 11:58 PM |


Junkiri remembers her experience of climbing a mango tree and stealing the unripe one from the nearest branch, that was good to make pickle only. As she was about to pluck it from the branch, she heard a stern voice from the above,“what are you doing, stop there.”  The voice was from the Housemother Kedar Shrestha, everybody  was so scared of her specially when they are doing something bad like this. Junkiri remembers that day, as if it just happened yesterday; she was really nervous getting caught like that. So, in her nervousness she replied, “I was only looking  at it” although her hand was fully wrapped on that unripe mango. I think this is universal truth that teenagers think they are a lot smarter; than the adult around them and adult have no brain at all. “Climb down from the tree” was her command, which Junkiri meekly followed.

For years when I was in my  teen years or  also  in my early 20s, I never regarded  plum, peach, pear in a fruit category, that was worth spending money the vendor asked for. Any amount of money seemed too much to pay. It was not that I don’t like them or never liked them, its just that do we have to pay for these also ? You must be wondering, why this question even crossed my mind.

There were about 10 mixed varieties of pears tree, about 5 or 6 types of plum trees and about 3 peaches tree, one big litchi tree and one about to die mango tree, inside the Bal Mandir premises. I think it was just enough to keep we children busy during the respective fruits seasons, to try our hands in climbing trees. Well, not just tree most of the time it invariably included climbing tall walls too.

Except for mango tree all the other tree used to get over laden with its respective fruits during the season, giving us plenty of opportunity to try fruits within the boundaries. This kind of trees also kept us busy from getting bored in the era, when there was no TV or computers to keep ourselves glued for hours. I bet it was more fun to climb those trees, which was laden with fruits than to glued with computer or televisions.

Big plum tree and bigger litchi tree just eluded us like anything. Only the high climbers used to go up and then taste the best one rest have to be satisfy with the lower branches green litchy that used to be so sour. Climbing tree was a group effort, to get the fruit down from its branches. One of us climbed the tree, to shake the branches and others stay under the tree to collect the fruits. Climbing wall was also needed support from two or three person, as we could not reach the nearest hole to hold on without a help. 

So it was fun to get other side of the wall and then the fruit.  It was not easy for those keepers to keep those unripe fruit from the children of Bal Mandir. Oh, yes they cursed like anything using all the words that was in or out from dictionary. But, hey who is minding. those fruits were a lot more tempting and inviting us towards them and we choose to forget what they were saying to us. Did I tell you we have mastered in hearing things, I mean those curses from one ear and letting it go straight from other ear.

Boys too but specially girls loved the soury and citrusy taste of green plum, mango and litchi. I do not remember anyone waited until it was ripe one. But I guess the children are the only one who eats the baby fruit long before it ripens. It worried like hell to the adult fearing we might have stomach disorder; how come they knew it caused us diarrhea ? By the time it was to ripen all the tree used to get empty, unless the fruit was on top of the branch where only crow could reach and eat it.

Yes, with some exception these fruits also used to get a chance to ripen if, I mean if only,the tree was not in front of our eyes. The tall and hard to climb boundary wall kept them away from us. But children always managed to cross those tallest and barbed wired wall too at times at high price.

It was perhaps Saturday, can’t remember exactly now. Sarala was bleeding heavily from her inner thigh and she was trying hard to stop the bleeding and also from the room nanny. I remember  asking her, “how come you are bleeding like this ?” “ a sharp glass from a window cut this” she replied in return. There was uneasy silence after that which I did not hear then clearly. Sarala Sharma was tall about 5.5 and heavy, maybe around 60 Kg and she was just fourteen at that time. I looked so small in front of her. 

She had gone to steal some plum with her friends and she being the tallest was the best bait to go inside and get some fruits from the NAFA art gallery’s garden. Some of her friends were helping her to go inside and then pulling her out. But when they pulled her out her leg got caught up in the thorny barbwire that cut her thigh from inside. Her young friends not know she was caught in by wire, pulled her harder thinking it was her big body that was the reason they are having problem to pull her out from the garden boundary wall. It was deep cut so her all her effort to hide it went in vain due to over bleeding that scared all her friends and ultimately she was taken to hospital and then where she got some stitches on her deep cut wound. They did get the   juicy and succulent plum but at the same time that stealing also landed her a hospital trip.

Do I have to tell you now, how good it taste when you have stolen fruits from others garden ? Well, if you don't know; then let me tell you this, the stolen fruits taste a lot better I mean ten times better than we buy in the market, which is so easy task.  All you have to do is to pay some money and get your fruit bag, so boring. And more than that there is more   fun in running ahead of those keepers, after stealing those fruits with our faces making in  teasing from to those keeper is even funnier than to go and spent some time to watch some movies.

I feel so sorry for you, if you have never ever stolen fruit from others garden. You should have tried this once, I mean should have been truly lived the life of a child once in your life, which I guess e get only once in your life.

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