The Old Mango Tree
Since noticing the old mango tree opposite my living room balcony has sprung flowers recently. I have begun spending more of my rationed time in staring at it – in between sips of the morning cup of black tea and random chores spread across the day. Occasionally, I drag myself a stool to a balcony corner to witness tiny exotic black and brown birds sucking nectar from the flowers with their pointy beaks. I have no name for them yet, much like the history behind the origin of the old tree. No one has clues to who had planted it. Perhaps it came along with the land bought by my parents years ago in the early eighties.
The bees also make a beeline for them – the flowers. It was reassuringly surprising to be watching this much fauna amidst the restlessness of a bustling city. The constant jarringly, screeching noise of urgently paced vehicles and chaotic urbanities of life tears through the peace of early mornings and solemnity of the evenings. The vendors’ loud cry to customers showcasing their wares, adds further to the confusion.
A certain sadness had seeped within the soul, since the time it stopped fruiting mangoes two seasons ago. The fact that the tree might be well beyond its prime and inevitably nearing its end had taken deep roots, entangled within my many fears. It grows weak, and the branches are no more as sturdy but dry and brittle, although the leaves still exhibit their verdant green.
As time ticks away menacingly, my anxiety turns to dread on days of rain and squall. The much-awaited harbinger of spring – the easterly wind – is eyed with an ominous distrust. Fraught with danger as my ears keep attuned to any crash or snap.
I recalled when the mango tree came to be the inspiration behind my living room décor. It was when I chose to do the upholstery and curtains in varied shades of greens and powdery yellows to match its foliage outside. Apart from the outdoor ambience, were also the remarks from visitors observing with delight the treetop perfect in line with their eyesight. The mango tree has played many roles. Nowadays, it is what smoothens my frayed nerves as the day’s toil wears them down.
Assuming a calamity befalls the abode around which so much of the tree’s presence has involved, would be heartbreaking. And be greeted with emptiness instead, taking away the memories and all the fauna around it. To replace the generous shade; a refuge for kids and parents during school breaks as they await to onboard for home. And the oasis displaced with glaring sunlight would be devastatingly sad.
So, until a calamity arrives, stressing over a potential situation would only have been a waste of time spoiling the otherwise perfectly curated days of tea sips and ruminations, conjuring myriad steaming shapes. And till then, staring at an old mango tree will continue to be the most blissful of things. Moving on to my list of chores now, I toss aside the dreary thoughts.
Zerine Wahid is a poet/author based in Guwahati and has been contributing her poems, short stories and articles in some of the city-based dailies for some time now. Her poems have been published in The Horizon of The Assam Tribune and Melange of The Sentinel. Besides that, her articles (nonfiction) and short stories have appeared in Newsmove, Gplus, Don Bosco Guwahati souvenir magazine and Tezpur University Silver Jubilee magazine, Telegraph, The Assam Tribune and in ‘Ode to a Poetess’, a digital platform