Friday, April 15, 2011


Bougainvillea are among my favourite flowers. I am desperate to have a whole wall covered with bougainvillea of all colors possible. I look with longing at all those houses which have these creepers climbing walls, other trees, the trellis on the compound walls everything in sight. And wonder when my garden would look like that. It takes time you know; years, in fact. I have made a start. About 6 months ago i bought about six plants, randomly picked really. I relied entirely on the lady in the plant nursery selling the plants re the color of the flowers. She told me, this is white. and white it was. the plant bloomed a month ago, and i was delighted to find white flowers. Another plant also flowered, the ubiquitous majantha colour. Since then i have been in an ecstatic expectant state imagining white and majantha flowers blooming majestically over the frangipani tree onto which the bougainvillea plants are slowly climbing.

Squirrel Tasted Mangoes.

I usually 'do' my daily walking in the front yard of my house. Yesterday was a holiday, Dr. Ambedkar's birth anniversary; also, the erstwhile Tamil New Year's day and also Chitra Tirunaal. It's the season of mangoes and one of the three mango trees in the front yard has lovely green mangoes hanging enticingly.
As i walked, an autorickshaw stopped next door and a lady alighted. She walked into the house. I expected the auto to drive away. But no, the driver got out too and started wandering about. Clearly he was on "waiting". After a little while, out of the corner of my eye I saw that he had stopped walking and was gazing at the mangoes.
Just then a mango just fell. Having seen the auto driver looking at the mangoes, I thought that the mango had fallen just for him. I picked it up and gave it to him. He was surprised and happily took it.
We also have a number of squirrel eaten mangoes falling on and off. we believe that these semi ripened mangoes are about the tastiest- the squirrels know best. I found one such mango, which i washed and after cutting away the bitten portion, cut the rest of the mango into bite size pieces put it in a carry bag and gave it to him, telling him of the squirrel eaten portion the washing etc. He not only took it, but ate up the fruit as he waited for his "sawari" to return from her visiting.
In our chennai, eating squirrel tasted mangoes is quite the done thing- i have eaten kilos and kilos of them myself in the last three decades. In fact during summers, this is very much part of my afternoon salad. The sweet and sour taste of the semi ripe mangoes adds a tang to the carrot and cucumber salad which is part of my lunch. And makes it very pretty looking too. The girls I have lunch with love it.
Why eat the Squirrel tasted mango at all? You may well ask. It is not as easy as you think, to trash what looks to be a perfectly good mango- well 80% of a mango, anyway. I find it very very difficult to throw it in the garbage. And you know what, when you pass small wayside shops that sell fruits that are a bit rotten, but from which some portion of the fruit can be retrieved, the cost of the fruit depending, naturally on how much of the fruit is edible and retrievable, and there is a market for such fruit, then you will also find it difficult to chuck squirrel tasted mangoes.