Sunday, 30 May 2021

Leo James, Prose 500 2021 Longlist

The Mango Tree

One afternoon after my lunch, I was resting in the veranda of my house, feeling drowsy. My grandmother was too there sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, chewing her betal nuts. Our pet dog Tom too, was there lying aside us and was sound asleep. There was absolute silence and I could hear the birds chirping, the cuckoos singing, the sound of the windows slamming due to the afternoon breeze.

In front of our house, there was a huge mango tree and I could see the squirrels running along the tree, the crows making their nest with twigs on the branches, the breeze detaching the ripened leaves from its nodes, and bunches of unripe and ripened mangoes dancing with the rhythm of the same breeze.

Due to the heavy lunch that afternoon, I was feeling sleepy and as my eyes were about to close a big ripened Mango dropped down from our mango tree. I got up swiftly and grabbed that mango. It was a juicy reddish yellow, perfectly ripe mango. Since I was very fond of mangoes, I ate it fully by standing there, because I knew that if I took it inside, my brother would demand for a share of it. The mango tasted more delicious than every other mango I ate from the tree. I felt the yummy taste of it, and I licked my fingers, and now the challenge was where I'm going to throw the mango seed. The premises around the mango tree were cleanly swept by my mother, and if I throw it there, she'll make me pick that up later. Also, I could not dump it anywhere in our compound because my grandmother was sitting in the veranda and continuously inspecting me on what I was doing and where I was going. Suddenly, an idea penetrated into my mind, and I swiftly threw the mango seed to the next compound, without it being noticed by my surveilling grandmother, and walked into the house licking my fingers. 

The story of that Mango did not end there. This incident occurred several years ago during my teenage years. And now, probably eight to nine years later, the place where I flung the mango seed presently stands a large evergreen mango tree with the children hanging on its branches, the grown-ups plucking the mangoes, some relaxing under its shade to ease the scorching afternoon sun, the birds forming nests on its branches, and the tree in whole being something for all around it. Today, as I sit in my room and look through the window at this tree and see all the happiness that the tree offers for all of those who seek it, I feel absolutely thrilled that my childhood naughtiness now has given birth to evergreen happiness.

 

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