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I remember the mulberry tree from my childhood. It grew behind one of the houses in the neighborhood, the third or fourth one from ours.

There were no walls separating the houses from each other and hence the whole compound was like one huge playground for us children. On some hot and lazy afternoons we gravitated towards the meager shade of the lone mulberry tree, either to loaf around and chat leaning against its slender trunk or else lured by the bright fruits that stood out so starkly against the green of the leaves. We’d shake the tree and run to pick up the dark red fruits that fell, blowing on them to remove dirt and biting into their tangy freshness.

We left the place soon after owing to my father’s transfer. It had been the first mulberry tree I had seen in my life, in fact I haven’t seen one since, so I can say it is the one and only. Today for no apparent reason the tree came to mind, and the taste of the fruits I bit into four decades ago, how the afternoons felt, the way the sun made patterns on the sand below the tree, as also a little girl named Sabah. I wonder where she is, and whether she remembers me.

©Shail Mohan 2015

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