A lemon tree and her visitors

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” ― Emily Dickinson

IMG_3019 (The lemon tree)
The Lemon Tree

Two meters away from my bedroom window, close to our granary, we have a lemon tree. It used to bear massive and delicious lemons. Once I asked my mother how it got there. She told me that my sisters may have planted it while I was in boarding school.

Over the years, we’ve harvested its produce countless times. Sometimes it would give us a plentiful harvest; at other times good. My mother would take it to the market to sell whenever reap would be plenteous. But, many a time, we would just give it away to our friends and relatives to share the grace. Then there were our neighborhood that would slyly sneak in our property, but its robust spikes had often thwarted their ambitions.

As time goes on; as year turned into years. Everything begins to fade away. Our lemon tree is also showing us the sign that she has grown old. I’ve tried to prune its withered branches, but it didn’t help her much. Still it bears fruit, but the size has reduced to a tiny ball. Of late, despite her age, she began to attract a lot of new visitors. She‘s getting on quite well with feral birds, besides the fact that it has been a playground for numerous house sparrows ever since she attained three meters in height.

Some months ago, I saw a beautiful white bird with a long tail perched on its branch. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. A fine looking bird on our lemon tree! In the heart of Hapoli town! Since I’d never seen this beautiful bird in my entire life, I thought it must be new specie. So I used to address him/her as an “Angel bird” until someone told me its name – Asian Paradise flycatcher. For two days, Angel bird would come, groom and hop about for hours while hiding among the branches. Though it has never visited our lemon tree again, but its majestic look was permanently etched on my mind, will remain there till the last breath.

That wasn’t the beginning of the end for visitors. Among others, the Tits were also enrolled in the list.

In another incident; it was rather very early morning when I was woken up by birds chirping. As I opened the window a crack, I saw two Red-vented Bulbuls alighting on a branch. Two were already there – settled on nearby branch. House Sparrows consider our lemon tree as their own, their recreational area. So they were trying to scare away the new visitors. Despite their boisterous chirpings, they were unable to budge the Bulbuls.

After the flight of the Bulbuls, the lemon tree has become the dominion of Sparrows again. Not for long, though. The Bulbuls have kept returning to our lemon tree since last few days.

Needless to say, this chapter will pass. Nothing stays same forever. Someday we all are going to make our exit – at destined time. Our lemon tree. The sparrows. The Bulbuls. Money. Friends. Happiness. Grief. You. And me. However, I’m enjoying every bit of it while it last. I’ll cherish our lemon tree while I still can and I’ll miss her when she’ll be not around.  By the way, who can tell whose numbers will be up first?

Asian-Paradise flycatcher
Red-vented bulbul


My Monsoon Diary

All of a sudden the rain starts thumping vigorously on the corrugated tin roof. Though there were dark clouds loomed large on the horizon, I didn’t expect it too soon. Within a second, it seemed as if the sky had poured all their savings. The force of the downpour was weighty.

“A wholesale trade of rainfall,” he said loudly, to make his comment heard.

The banter of thunder and rainfall had suddenly muffled our vocals. He quickly peered out of the window; in a distance, on the road, we can see people running helter-skelter to take refuge in available shade. He rose from his seat and went out on the front porch.

He stayed there for a few minutes; and looked at the floorboard of the porch completely drenched with rain.

“Khii!” he sighed a tired sigh while settling down on his chair. His face was turning pale.

“Are you all right?” I asked nervously. “Is something wrong?”

He looked at me and said morosely, “I wish I could split those dark clouds with an arrow…”

I eyed him curiously.

“…to have the sunshine back on the earth again,” he said, sensing my interest.

“Ha! Ha!”I could no longer stifle my laughter. Still laughing, I asked, “Why arrow, why not Gun?”

He said in a monotone, “Noise pollution, obviously.” He abruptly got up and went outside for a second time.

“Come here, my lord. You must see this!” he asked me gesturing with his hand. The drain seemed too narrow and shallow to quell the sudden uprising of overcharged rainwater. The rainwater had been spilled out onto the ground. Ankle-deep water. The pavement, which leads to the front porch, had vanished into that ankle-deep black dirty drainage water.

“Look!” he exclaimed. “Pepsi bottle. That’s Coca Cola. And there, see those orange colored poly bags. Here comes the blue and green one. All the colors of the Rainbow. How apt? ” he said sarcastically, pointing toward myriad of things carried into the home turf.

“I don’t want to build a dam. There’s enough controversy over building dams. “He said half-despairingly and half-in jest. “Moreover, I pleaded to be declared as a poverty-stricken lifeless gentleman. But it doesn’t mean that I want abundant rainfall. Or abundant wealth. Just basic items only. Basics for Basic people.” He added, grinning widely.

I couldn’t fathom how many snags he was struggling with inside his head. Yet his sense of humor was discernable. I know. I knew he was having his share of misfortune for quite so long but his funniness was still intact. “I was made compelled to marry misfortune. And I begat misfortune,” he once affirmed.

We walked back to sitting room in silence.

“With the water level so high, you may not be able to leave my place without the kisses and caresses of distilled water. Therefore, you have to bear with my lecture,” he warned me. I beamed at him and said “Fine with me,” as the rain played havoc with my plan to trim the hedges.

“I guess the drainage is not deep and broad enough to contain the rainwater,” I expressed my thoughts when we settled down again on our seat.

“I guess you are wrong, my lord” he said. “The drain is deep enough to accommodate ten dead bodies. It’s all those poly vinyl materials, which is blocking the flow of drain. Can we change the topic of our conversation?” he said losing his composure.

“K. What about Playboy bunny and penthouse doll?” I said to light up his mood.

“When people start losing brain power, they often think and indulge in Sexercise,” he snapped back hilariously, making me laugh with him.

“K. I give up,” I said, surrendering myself to him.

So we discussed about the de-learning process of human being for sake of orgasmic ecstasy of material achievements. Libya. Syria. Anna Hazare. Guns and Roses. Myopic pot-bellied politicians and bureaucrats. Mostly, we blamed people including ourselves for our harsh conditions.

In the meantime, the downpour had already stopped. The gloomy weather had already overtaken the stormy weather. “I must be off now,” I said while gathering my things.

He looked up at the sky and said, “They do not look satisfied yet. But don’t forget your parasol. Darn! This Mount Everest of polythene! ”

When I was leaving, I saw him assembling empty PET bottles, packages and poly bags into heaps.

“When two elephants are fighting, it’s always the ants that get crushed. These are not my words, honestly. Borrowed,” those were his parting words.