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The mango trees in my neighbor’s compound – there are two of them – are covered in blooms. Unlike last year, she does not have to fear the blooms being washed away in rain. Not a drop has fallen this year so far. Not here anyway, though some rain did fall in some other places far away. We had to make do with the cool breeze that came our way from over there.

Everyone was expecting that it would rain on the 20th of this month, the day of the huge festival in one of the famous temples hereabouts. It is funny how when it does rain on the day of the festivities, even if it be a very slight shower, people nod their heads knowingly and say, ‘That’s the way it is. It rains without fail on the day of the festival every year. It’s the blessing of the Goddess!’ But when it doesn’t rain, they don’t say a word. Perhaps the Goddess isn’t happy this year.

The mild scent from the mango blooms fill my nostrils every time I walk past the wall next to which the trees stand. The heat of summer sun accentuates it. It’s a heady scent and I love it. The jasmine vine next to it has flowered too. Together, they take me back to my ancestral home. What’s missing is the smell of ripe jack-fruit. Aah!

The mango trees are an easy reach from our terrace. At least some of the mangoes can be plucked from there. Every year without fail, we joke with our neighbors that the mangoes that are growing on our side of the wall belong to us and they will not be seeing any of them. No worries, she smiles, take all you want. But we don’t. We are just kidding and she knows.

When the mangoes are done and before they are really ripe, she plucks them, and shares with all her neighbors, friends and family. I quite admire her for how she makes the effort to ensure each one gets at least a few. She tells me though that there are those who complain saying they didn’t get very many this year like they did the last or some such bosh.

I am indignant whenever I hear it. It’s her tree, she doesn’t owe anyone. That she shares the mangoes, also drumsticks and bananas, from her backyard is only the goodness of her heart. Who are these people? I want to ask her. I’ll give them a knock on their heads for you. But I don’t say that aloud because she would be scandalized. Unlike me, she is not angry. just a wee bit upset that she couldn’t satisfy everyone.

In her place I would take the mangoes (and drumsticks and bananas) and give them away to strangers rather than to such ungrateful people, I think to myself. All easy in theory, I suppose. On the other hand, perhaps I would really have done it in practice too, who knows. But, it is not my tree, and it is not to me that anyone has complained, so why should I get all hot and bothered about it? Aren’t there enough things happening in this world to worry about already?

© Shail Mohan 2019

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