Saturday, May 28, 2011

Of Mango Dropping and My Being

Few Leftovers...

...more to escape the fury...

The Storm ravanged...
Its that time of year, when dust storms lash out their fury upon the plains I inhabit. You can see them arriving at a distance, in black nor yellow clouds, depending upon the color of dust they bring along, either from the Indo- Gangetic plains, or from the Thar desert nearby. And this year, they choose to arrive almost always when I have just finished washing my hair! By the time I finish closing the nearly one thousand one hundred and eleven windows of our house, you can barely tell my skin from my hair from the floor from the furniture from the lawn from the fields from the roads outside.

My mother's mango trees that were heavily laden with ready to ripen huge mangoes are nearly bare now, which is a pity really, as I was so looking forward for a taste of the fruit right from the bough , instead of from the cold storage. "Evil eye of the servants took them"  my mother would mumble . Those juicy mangoes have always been the eye of the storm between a lot of contenders, before they perish each year to the raging skies, and to be picked up raw for pickling by the passersby.

But this year, not to be defeated completely, I picked them up , baskets full of 'em, and drove a hard bargain with the neighbor who makes delicious sweet mango chutney : she makes the chutney with my mangoes ( I am the next in line of heir-ship since the real owner , my mother is in Canada for while ) and I get half of it . So dear folks, I am  now sitting pretty with two large jars of yummilicious mango chutney, to dip my fingers into!

That said , I had to tell you that as I was resting on one sultry summer afternoon , I had an epiphany about my own being. I realized that I am here because of an intuition! Now this is an interesting tale which I must relate, because its really worth sharing with you all how you nearly missed having me here ; had it not been for the intuition.

My paternal grandmother was married off at the age of five to my granddad , who must have been a lot older than she was at that time , since that is the way, it used to be till about three score decades ago in India ( you could put a baby in the lap of a bridegroom and tell him that it was his bride) . Now being the landlords that they were, my ancestors were bound to fall into family feuds , which would result into falling out and then falling away. So not so long after her wedding, the young bride and her groom were sent hither with their respective share of land and wealth, and set to establish their own property and reap their own harvest.

Being alone, and coping with responsibility was a hard task for the child bride , who having reached puberty got a big belly in place of her periods.

Now let me digress here, to let you know, that till, not very long ago, all births in India took place at home. The modus operandi was to make a squatting seat by placing two heaps of three  tiered bricks beside one another, make the woman climb on the platform placing her feet on both the tiers , and there was a gap between the two platforms. Then they would place a small charpoy , standing on its one side , in  front of her, to hold on to, as she pushed while in labor. The birth would soon take place as the baby emerged and fell within the gap in between.

So my granny's first born was a bitsy baby girl , who barely survived her minuscule self , perhaps because being the lesser mortal (female) she was less prone to being mortal.After that, there was an array of still births to follow, all boys. Thus having produced a string of seven tiny corpses; while the eighth one landed in the cul de sac , he lay very still, like all the previous little ones had. As the mid -wife's moan rose a wailing once again , my granny had an intuition. Even before she set her eyes upon the baby boy, she had an intuition, that he was alive. But no amount of patting could move the inert baby to cry.

So she did something strange.She got up and went to a niche in the wall, where she kept her sewing equipment. From there she took out a needle and threaded it ; took it to the baby, and pierced its nose using the thread to ring it ; and lo behold the baby started wailing and was alive and well after that !

The baby grew up to be father of me and my siblings later on.

And I keep wondering, what if they had passed him on for passed away too! I wouldn't be here.I also feel disturbed to think, that perhaps some of the babies that they buried before him, might not have been dead at all since they never went through the piercing process...


Anonymous said...

First, the chutney sounds wonderful!!

Secondly, that story was really touching. To be on the blade of fate. It could have fallen either way.

Brian Miller said...

wow. crazy story mona...without that intuition, whew...we are all here by a slip of chance or divine hand ...and so you sharing the mango chutney? smiles.

the walking man said...

Dust storms. chutney, forebears, and intuition...this reads like a Cubist painting by Picasso.

ivan said...

Come to Canada, Mona.

...Though we are here more often broke(never mind the economic report) than baroque.

Peter said...

I'm not really in favour of piercing, but obviously there are some good reasons ... sometimes! Great thanks to the intuition and the piercing! :-)

Mona said...

Jason. That Chutney is really yum! That blade of fate is very real!

Brian, chance it was really! tell me WHERE to send the chutney!

Mark, Life is like that. So discordant, but it all makes sense in the end...

Ivan, :)

Peter, indeed, one can. now cite ONE good reason at least! :)

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I want that chutney!

G-Man said...

I loved that family story!!!
One more bit of proof of the superiority of the Female.
Thanks Mona Dear...G

Siddhartha Joshi said...

This is quite an interesting post...I completely enjoyed it, especially because I am also so in love with mangoes :)

And the family history is a nice read too!

Erik Donald France said...

Beautifully written post (and nice pix). I really enjoyed it~~cheers and salud~~ chutney (delish) and the blade of fate (perspective) ~~


I always relish your sarcastic tales.

BTW those 'kaccha' mangoes remind me of another recipe. Burn those mango and mix with chilled water, add sugar and a little salt.

Your description of your home tempts me to travel to your place this time instead mountains.

Mona said...

To IVAN> ivan, somehoe I cannot post comment in your comment section, but I read your beautiful beginning of the new novel! Kudos !

ivan said...


Thank you. I am flattered!


Durn technical problems.

I swear I'm going to give up HMTL, or FRAMES or even blogging...become a shepherd. :)

I now have trouble getting into my own comment space over here.

...Postmen here in Canada have become luddites too, it seems. War against the machine! Too much computerization. "We need to protect our jobs."..Ah well. Somebody else is in the 19th century.

Take care.