I don’t think the 4 of us slept well that night, we tossed and turned in our beds discussing our plan in the dark. We were up at the crack of dawn and were walking out of the house through one of the side doors to the garden towards my mango tree in our pyjamas with our caretakers. All I can remember of the rest of the day is being woken up by my grandmother. She stood towering above the 8 of us, she seemed to be scolding us, a deep frown was pasted on her forehead! I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying, my eyes refused to open, my ears refused to listen..
What none of us realized is we had fallen asleep under my mango tree with sticks in hand between the wait to catch the mango thief
My maternal house is situated in the midst of fields and a lake. It is a small town in the adjacent district. For somebody like me born and brought up in a port city, summer vacations were mainly running wild in the fields, sleeping in the shade of tamarind trees, reading books perched upon the branches of the cashew trees that stretched sideways, climbing guaves trees with packets of chilli powder and salt.. and overseeing the rice and coconut harvest alongside my grandfather and his retinue.
This is about a time during those days before my grandfather’s untimely death when I was still in primary school. During the first day of summer vacations, he used to assign a tree each of each fruit to each one of the four cousins. Since mango was the prominent among the fruits, we were assigned mango trees
My mango tree stood in a corner of the garden that lay farthest from the main house! One day, as we were surveying our trees before the four of us began our siesta, we realized that somebody was stealing mangoes from my tree. My mangoes were the ones that were small in size, green in colour but ripe from the inside and really sweet. It was never cut into slices. It was meant to be had as is, using the skin of the mango as the cup.
We did not sleep that afternoon, but were on the watch out for the mango thieves. Four of us, two of us were in class 1, the younger ones were just starting school. I almost forgot to mention, each one of us had a caretaker.. after we returned home for the day in the evening we hatched a plan to wake up early the next morning and keep a watch over the mango tree to catch the thief.