Summer holidays in my childhood, meant a month-long stay at my father’s village on the Konkan coast. The days would be long, hot and dusty, and we kids would be left to our own devices. So with no TV, Internet or smartphone (most thankfully) to divert us, we enjoyed a normal childhood – just our imaginations and the great outdoors!
Most typically, I’d be barefooted, in short urchin pants and a singlet, a trademark stick in hand and jaunty cap on head! I would spend my mornings wandering through vegetable fields, climbing trees and discovering the pure delights of stolen fruit. Afternoons would find me dreaming up stories of high adventure, while perched precariously on a cashew tree. The touch and texture of earth and bark, the smell of sap, the taste of fruit fresh from the tree, these sensations formed the substance of my enchanted years.
The trees of my childhood that shaded my dreams, and others like them, still hold sway over me. I may be traveling – deep in thought, engaged in conversation, or even embroiled in argument – but the sight of a beautiful, balanced, bountiful tree always stops me in my tracks 🙂
And so, it had to happen. I had to take to the trees again – this time, on my terrace, in my urban farm. Here’s a peek at some of my beauties growing in the sun!
Avocado (left) the first in my collection, a gift from a friend (thanks, Shabnam!), brought in as a foot-high baby, so lush and deep now – and the ethereal Moringa/Drumstick (right) tree!
My sturdy amla tree, and its sour, savory fruit hiding within
Growing and going bananas – frail sapling to a full-leafed youthful tree in 2 months
(Photo Courtesy: Rhea)
I must be actually going bananas because I can’t seem to stop! There are more – sapodilla/chickoo, love apple and custard apple/sitaphal trees growing in containers on my terrace, and a tall neem watching benevolently over the entire farm. All of this, and yet I go visit Pune this weekend and return with starfruit, guava, orange, lime, tangerine, papaya and two of my favorite varieties of mango – Kesar and Alphonso 🙂
With a bit of luck, I’ll outwit the monkeys, parrots and other sneaky rivals, and get to eat some of my own fruit. But for now, I’m hoping for shade from a tyrannical summer sun, remembrances of an enchanted childhood, and good karma that comes (trust me) from growing trees!
Wishing you too, the opportunity of growing trees – and the shade of your elders – this hot summer in Mumbai! Until we meet again….