Friday, September 4, 2009

Kumaran, the mango man

It is difficult to say which was older- the huge mango tree in our compound or the mango plucker-Kumaran. He was part of the scene when I entered the household as a bride.He must have been about 50 years old then.He'd visit off and on but the visits were more frequent from February when the mango blossoms sprouted forth filling the air with a sweet scent. From that, he could predict how good the crop might be.He earned his livelihood by booking these as his contract to pluck and sell mangoes from most households in and around Calicut.
He 'd then come off and on- to pluck mangoes at various stages- as small tender ones for short term pickles, chutneys,and semi matured ones for curries and finally matured ones for ripening as fruit.His expertise in identifying, grading , sorting and evaluating mangoes could put to shame a qualified horticulturist.He delighted in spotting,handling and admiring mangoes.His eyes lit up when he gazed at any mango tree. In fact, he smelt of raw mango himself
By April, naughty school children throw stones at tempting mango bunches dangling on trees and bring them down. This menance of child raiders is much dreaded by all but nothing can be done except to prematurely pluck part of the crop. Invariably this led to losses in his transactions. More so with growing years when his diminishing vision and hearing let him down badly in the competitive market.Yet it did not deter him from contiuing to be in the trade till the age of 85.For,the mango tree was his bread, his skill, his life ,his delight and his strength.
Kumaran died last month. On a rainy day,the helper lad brought me the sad news.The mango trees, all over Calicut, were orphaned! Kumaran will come no more to them. I stared into the blankness helplessly. The gusty winds sent the branches quivering. the leaves rustled twisting and turning violently in the breeze letting off a deep mourning sound.The trunk shook sadly.The rain poured all night adding to the depressing mood.As the leaves from the highest branches poured forth streams of the water from the skies as their homage, the tree seemed to weep uncontrollably..Rarely can any mortal get such a touching farewell from nature's majestic trees.Adieu, Kumaran , You were Great.


  1. I am simply mystified. Such a talent and just discussing chaappadu in PI co
    mmunity. How deceptive. I went through the whole blog, re read some posts. Simply wonderful. Your students must have been a luckiest lot. My pranams to an accomplished teacher on this special day earmarked for all the teachers.

  2. nice one. its gud that there are still some ppl who observe and acknowledge what is happening in living area


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