Growing up, fruits were always a luxury to us. Being in a middle class family, we kids better knew differentiating ‘a need’ and ‘a want’. Dad and Mum would never let us know their difficulties finding money by the end of the month, but we could somehow sense it. We always played along and we were never deprived of anything, anything would come into hands even before we could think of it. Life was so happy.
It was the period when we built our dream house, a house that would speak of my dad’s hard work, dedication and discipline. We had to get two home loans and life just turned upside down. On the happier note, we did have our dream house but it was too difficult for dad to manage the home budget with most of his salary gone away for EMIs. On top of it, I was in my std 12 and my sis was doing her 10th. I just cant imagine now, how much stress dad and mum must have undergone during those days. On top of it, our grandma stayed with us too. I am not picturing her as a burden, but then she always demanded more from mum and dad – not understanding the situation. Mom would at the most pack us a lunch of white rice and plain dal with some pickle. Dad couldn’t even be approached for anything. One of the home loans got delayed and that caused so much stress to him. He had to find his way to somehow get groceries for the house to run. On top of all this, grandma would ask for fresh vegetables and fruits every day. She thought, she had to eat healthy to stay fit – at the age of 68. Nothing wrong, except that we couldn’t see our dad and mum suffer because of it. Mum would prepare veggie only for grandma every day, with whatever dad could buy. I must say that those were the two most difficult years of our lives.
Just like sprinkling chili powder on a fresh wound, my aunt would come visit us every week bringing lots of fruits, chocolates and sweets only for grandma. That’s the secret pact they both had worked out. She would most of the times, sneak in into grandma’s room and push the plastic bags of eatables that she would bring. She would also scold amma for not taking good care of grandma (that is, in her view). Every such incident left us children with such a bitter taste that, we stopped caring for anybody except our parents. How could my grandma do this to her own son and DIL? It all seemed so cheap to us, but we wouldn’t speak up – dad/mum wouldn’t let us. Every evening, grandma would make herself comfortable on the stairs to the terrace and eat her quota of fruits – either the ones sneaked in by aunt or the ones she would demand from dad. If we pass by accidentally, she would offer us a customary piece. How would we bring ourselves to accept it? We would politely deny. She would happily eat the fruit all by herself, throwing away the seeds on to the ground.
In about a year she left us, there was a plant in the exact location where she happened to throw the seeds every evening. It was growing very slowly and seemed like a lemon plant. Dad tried to pluck it off many a times but amma would object to cut off a growing plant. Years passed by. The plant soon grew out to be a tree. It would remain silent throughout the year, not bearing anything. This year, on the contrary we could see some flowers coming out from the tree. We eagerly kept an eye on the tree for the past three months. Flowers turned into little fruits and the fruits started growing. We still assumed them to be lemons until recently, when we spotted large sweetlimes hanging in bunches from almost every branch of the tree. The fruit is as big as a coconut and tastes so good. We realized that it was the seed from that forbidden sweetlime that grandma would eat every evening, which has come up as a huge tree bearing super sweet sweetlimes. Today as I think, I am feeling that a very small good deed even though unintentional from a person who is bad at heart can have such a huge impact.
Here is the picture of the first ripe sweet lime from the tree –