The Old Man and the Mango tree
The Old Man and the Mango tree6 mins 1.4K 6 mins 1.4K
Prasanna was very fond of mangoes. He had some mango trees in his orchard along with other fruit trees. There was the Jack fruit tree, few coconut trees, some date palm, some blackberry or jamun trees. The orchard contained more trees. Some years ago he had planted litchi trees. Also there were guavas. In this tropical condition, apple trees do not grow otherwise his garden would have had them too. Most of the fruits were plucked in the summer months. So during those months his garden had an aroma that was heavenly. Only those that experienced the wonderful scent could describe the feeling.
Prasanna had planted one mango tree, a sapling, , a rare quality one which is called Himsagar in Bengal, when his son was born. He nurtured that mango sapling the same way he nurtured his son. He gave the best of manure and other quality inputs to the sapling for getting a high yield whenever the tree bore fruit. He also took the same care for his son. The best of food and clothes were there for his son. Prasanna used to celebrate his son's birthday with great pomp and show. On the same day his special mango tree got the same treatment. Like his house was decorated with buntings and balloons, he used to put up some buntings on the Mango sapling. Now the sapling had become strong and its trunk was getting thicker. Prasanna used to admire silently the progress of the Mango tree like he observed the growing up of his son whom he had named Pratap.
p was ready to go to school. Likewise the same year the Mango tree bore flowers and in all probability would bear fruit. Prasanna was very happy. He blessed his stars and was waiting eagerly for the flowers to turn into real mangoes. This was not the first time that his mango tree in the orchard was bearing fruit. But this tree was special. This mango tree and the son were growing in tandem and their progress was being measured with utmost pride by Prasanna.
The Mango did appear on the tree and in due time they were ripe to be consumed. The tree had a heavenly aroma around it when the mangoes became ripe. Prasanna used to sit idly beneath the tree and bask in the scent of the mangoes till his nostrils were full with it. The Mango tree was Prasanna 's life and he knew that even the Mango tree was feeling proud in fulfilling Prasanna' s life desire. His son Pratap was also progressing in school. Prasanna was equally proud of his son Pratap. All the other fruit trees including the Mango trees in his orchard were let out on lease. Only this mango tree Prasanna managed on his own. The lessee used to take care of the other trees. During harvest, the fruits were plucked and sent to the market and Prasanna got a share of the commission.
The Mango tree was now fifteen years old same as Pratap. Almost every year it bore fruit. Much of the mangoes from this tree was used for personal consumption by Prasanna and his family and some he gifted away among friends. The rest of the mangoes of this tree he sold in the market. The price the mangoes of this tree commanded was much more than the mangoes from the other trees.
The high quality of the fruit of this tree was known to the people living around. There were incidents when trespassers sneaked in to steal the prized fruit. In those times Prasanna had to be very vigilant and took up extra efforts in guarding the tree specially at night. He had built a wooden platform amongst the top branches, a machan, where Prasanna used to maintain vigil. Sometimes when Prasanna was happy with the progress of the mangoes, he used to gift some of them to the small boys who used to gather there hoping to catch hold of some prize elements.
As the years passed the Mango tree became very big and wide with huge girth. Every year now it used to bear mangoes numbering several hundreds. Prasanna was now old. His son Pratap had completed college and joined the army as a commissioned officer.
A tab on the progress of Pratap was kept by his father Prasanna always with a reference to the Mango tree.
People now started linking Prasanna with his mango tree as 'The old man and his mango tree'.
The Mango tree was Prasanna 's world but now he need not guard it like before. Like his son Pratap had become big and independent, the same way the Mango tree had grown up to gain it's independence. Prasanna now did not bother to fiercely guard it like before. Even Prasanna did not care if some of the mangoes were stolen by street kids. Because now there was problem of plenty. Also Prasanna had become more generous now and felt happy sharing his fruit of labour with others. As now he did not have to follow day to day his son Pratap likewise he stopped tracking the daily activities around the Mango tree. Even Prasanna became more complacent and less passionate in guarding the tree after Pratap was posted as a commanding officer of his unit at the countries international border.
So now Prasanna saw less and less of his son, probably once or twice a year. Similarly his longing for the mango tree diminished and he rarely went and sat below the tree. Although the tree never betrayed him and year on year gave bountiful harvest of mangoes which were juicy and succulent as ever.
Recently there had been a huge fright and Prasanna had decided to have the tree cut. There had been news that Pratap's unit had been ambushed by terrorists and Pratap and some of his soldiers had been killed. The news reached Prasanna and he was very annoyed and depressed at the same time. The journey of his mango tree had ended because his sons' life had been sacrificed. Prasanna knew that the life of the Mango tree and his sons life were intertwined and one could not survive the other. Many a time the Mango tree had survived lightning and thunder strike and Prasanna had watched it helplessly. But the tree ultimately pulled through and lived to see another day.
On hearing the sad news of Pratap, Prasanna had ordered the Mango tree to be cut and sold away from the trunk and branches to a wood trader.
The wood cutters were in their act and were about to start cutting when all of a sudden Prasanna 's wife shouted in delight and asked them to stop the cutting immediately. There had just been a news flash that Pratap and his unit were traced and everyone was safe. Pratap and the soldiers thought to be dead were now shown on camera as live. Then very soon Prasanna got a call from the army department saying that nothing to worry and Pratap and his soldiers were safe and living.
The Mango tree got a new lease of life and would continue to serve mankind with its choicest mangoes year on year.