When I was a young girl, my mother had several jackfruit trees she planted in our backyard. One day when we were eating the fruit, she suggested she would help me plant my own jackfruit tree from seeds. Being very young then I wasn’t interested in planting anything. For me (at that age) planting is an adults job, not kids like me. All I wanted to do was to play with my friends in the neighbourhood after school and weekends. And who wants to plant fruits that you can’t eat for five or six years? This is what she told me. For me, five or six years is a very long time to wait. So why would I bother planting? But one afternoon when I had no one to play with and with nothing else to do, I decided to try to plant a jackfruit tree. Since my mother was at the market at that moment, I did it alone. I took some dried seeds from the bowl and started burying them in the ground, not sure if I did it right. Then I watered and put some sticks around them. I watered them every morning before I walked to school and in the afternoon right after school. I kept counting the days when they were going to come out and kept visiting them whenever I was at home. I was very happy when finally they arrived, though only two out of five turned into seedlings. I nurtured them like I was caring for something vulnerable and proudly showed my family and friends and told them to be always careful when they’re around my plants.
Photo: not the actual tree
Then one morning before I went to school, I noticed that one of my plants looked very different from the others, like it was dying. The following morning, my mother being an early riser discovered the plant was dead. I was a bit sad when I saw it but told myself I still had one left. As my last plant grew, I too grew too into a young lady. Whenever new friends came to visit I always showed my tree to them. I also liked to sit under its shade when I did my homework or simply read my favourite book on a lazy afternoon. After high school I left home to work in the city. I asked my mother to keep an eye on my precious tree. During those times our only means of communication was through letters. In one of her letters she mentioned that the jackfruit tree was destroyed by a storm. The strong winds blew my tree down to the ground. I was sad to hear the bad news. That tree was special to me. It was my first plant. The plant I had nurtured, cared for and had watched grew into a mature tree until it gave us fruits, and most of all, that tree was part of my childhood.