Tuesday, June 2, 2009

That Jamun Tree....

The other day my husband brought kala jamun (Indian blackberry fruit) ,not to be confused with the mithai version . It brought with it so many childhood memories. In the hustle bustle of this City I had almost forgotten this fruit. I remember as a kid I used to visit my grandparents’ house in village during summers and Kalajamun is the fruit of summers. There was this huge tree near the pond at the backyard of our ancestral house. Jamun trees are bigger than mango trees and very leafy. This tree would provide shade to passers by on the narrow lane across the boundary of our house.
Like other kids I would also not sleep in the afternoon. Now every time I smother myself with sunscreen even before going out for 10minutes, I wonder what fun was there in the scorching sun outside when I was a kid!! Afternoons would be silent in villages with people mostly enjoying their afternoon siesta at home and I would somehow sneak out of the house to go near the Jamun tree. There would be gentle breeze with the occasional rustling of the leaves. I would stand beneath the tree and wait for one jamun to fall on my lap. Quietly and patiently I would wait for the Jamuns to fall and each time I pick up one, it would be like an achievement!! It was an achievement considering half of them would fall in the pond and the other half on the road across the boundary. I would also wait for the birds to come reason being as the birds would peck on the fruit, it would fall down. Later on, after having collected a sizable number of jamuns I would relish them on the roof with rock salt. Divine.
As I used to stand all alone near the tree I would observe the pond, small fishes in the shallow water, birds loitering around water body and a kingfisher taking a perfect catch of a fish. That time I never realized how precious those moments were. As a child I would watch all these events totally mesmerized. Sometimes I would see water snakes also, which are harmless, resting near the pond. It was as if that was my “ME” time with the nature around. Disturbing this silence would be calls of hawkers selling sweets, bangles, saris and pickles walking on the road. That reminds me of the sweet mango pickle in every household which would be kept out in the sun. That still is my personal favorite and my Grandma would wonder how come some part of it was reduced during noonJ Am sure she knew it was me. The same ritual I would do early morning also. Since nobody would be around I would go near the Jamun tree and that time there would be so many birds chirping around. It used to be a delightful sight with early morning rays.
Today these jamuns brought back all those days. I wonder how many children these days get to spend so much time near the nature or for that matter how many have actually seen a full grown Jamun tree. Today I don’t know how it is to enjoy a sunny afternoon, which was so much a part of my upbringing. I don’t have time to listen to birds singing or appreciate the early morning sunrays. Today it seems as if I am talking of something of distant past. Times have changed. That Jamun tree has given way to a concrete house now. Its there only in my memory. I am happy, courtesy that tree I could observe nature so closely. Today these fruits again connected me to some lost part, which I had long forgotten. It reminded me to again appreciate the small joys in life. Most importantly it taught me to care for my environment for the next generation so that years down the line someone else can share his or her ”jamun tree” experience.


Nazelogue said...

an idyllic summer spent at Grandma's village.. wow, who can forget those long never ending holidays that we spent away from home, school and homework. Who can forget Grandma's indulgences with mango pickle. You've described those olden days so well.. its a shame that most of our kids and the future generations will be bereft of this wonderful time. How can we make the Jamun tree grow, so there's a chance our kids will have this wonder?

Pallavi Ghosh said...

I think we have to start by telling them how beautiful Mother nature is and connect them to the beauty of nature. To begin with, a trip to the nearby park seems a good idea..

Ammeet said...

made me nostalgic.... how true!! those were the days... well written lavs!!

Subha Manoj said...

It brought back my old memories of visiting one of uncle's house in Kerala. Even he had a big jamun tree and I used absoltely love gorging on the jamuns!!!!

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I am a die-hard optimist currently staying in Mumbai , working as an Investment Banker. Lately I discovered writing is like therapy for me. It works every time I pen down my thoughts. I am a believer of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism and have discovered that the true essence of our living is happiness. So if you ask me what do I do. I would say I am trying to be happy. As they say its Pursuit of HappinessJ I like to read books, every type of books as long as I gain something from them. I love to travel and plan to see as many places as possible. I love to spend time with my family. Nothing gives more joy than coming back to a loving family and I love adventure be it adventure sports or backpacking to an unknown place. Life for me, is unfolding all limitless possibilities.