The Mulberry Tree and the Birds
I have a 5 year old mulberry tree in my backyard which is the star of my backyard.
During the first 2 years, the plant was so busy growing, that it never bore even a handful of fruits! I was so disappointed in this tree, that I was starting to wonder if it was ever going to bear any fruits! I must admit that I was even questioning the existence of this tree in my backyard, eating up a lot of my precious garden space!
But the tree started bearing fruits that summer as if it could hear me think! No, I think there is another reason to it! The tree probably had a soul!
The branches of the tree hang out to the top of the tiled back terrace (in the garden) where we often hang out. Because of this tree, I get to see lot of beautiful birds, of varying colors and sizes. Sometimes, one of us would be sitting there on a chair reading, and the birds are busy easting ripe mulberries, and they would be oblivious of our presence.
I remember the first time the Mulberry tree was covered with red, dark red and black fruits, the birds were eating most of the fruits and then the rest would fall on to the ground, I called up my cousin sister and complained. She told me to remember that the fruits were intended for the birds also!
My cousin sister and I used to relish the mulberries in her garden when I used to visit her house as a kid. As an 8 year old, I would climb up on the branches of the Mulberry tree and pick the fruits, eat some and give her some and then bring some down also!
I was so much attached to my Aunt (my mother’s sister), I was loved and treated like her own daughter whenever I would visit them during my summer holidays. During many of my visits, I got to enjoy their undivided attention since their only daughter who was a resident medical student, would be away! The house was surrounded by flowering plants, especially Jasmine, and during the evenings and mornings, the whole house would float in the fragrance !
I remember my aunt reading out a poem to me describing a mango tree, full of ripe red mangoes and all I could imagine was a Mulberry tree full of juicy red mulberry fruits! I often used to wonder how I never registered the tree as a “mango” tree in my brain for a long time!
Three years back, one evening, I was feeling extremely restless and depressed for a few hours and then I went upstairs to my children and narrated (out of the blue) how my aunt would read the poem to me and how I had imagined the Mulberry tree instead of the mango tree…. When I was done talking to my children, within a few minutes, I received a call from my cousin sister’s husband, informing me of my Aunt’s death!
She was about 80 years old and had asthma all her life! I couldn’t make it for her funeral but reached a few days later, to convince myself that everything about the house and the garden had changed forever! From now on, I should expect to see only the “empty house” where my Aunt was not coming out, calling out my name, so eager to hug me and shower me with kisses as soon as I reach the front of the house!
She died in December and the next spring, the mulberry tree was so full of fruits, I could barely see the leaves! Since then, the mulberry tree is part of our family, making memories with us! Until now, I could never understand how people could get so much attached to trees and fragrances!