Many a Slip


last jack hanging

This year, our jackfruits have been ripening rather late… about a month later than in other years.
Someone got impatient a month ago and stole one of the low-hanging fruit. This roused Arunachalam, who is working for us at the moment, to a fury and he barricaded some of the gaps in the fence, through which people can get in.
And all of us (including Arunachalam, of course) enjoyed a run of 5 superb jackfruit. Till yesterday.

In the evening, I noticed one of the lower-hanging fruit was missing. Since I have passed the baton to the boys wrt checking—plucking at the right time—sharpening the knives—dressing the jackfruit and so on, I had to call Varun to confirm that the fruit was not one that we had eaten.

He came and immediately said that it was stolen, and raced off, me following, in the direction we thought that the thieves would have taken.
At some point, he told me that I could return home—nobody to catch—and that he would return a different way.

A short while later, he was shouting out to me. I stopped. He returned to say that he had seen two boys, likely eating the jackfruit, further down and would I come fast.

I slithered and skidded down the path that he negotiated surefooted as a goat. But too late. The thieves had gone.

We returned in the twilight, by a path unknown to me, and reached the place in our fence which had been breached. I struggled over it courtesy a (literal) helping hand from Varun and realised that my chasing days were over. I passed the baton, telling the boys that henceforth in such situations they should carry on and confront the people; shouting out for me whether I was at hand or not.

Varun asked me if my wish for the last jackfruit was to be able to eat it peacefully, or to have the thieves try again and catch them red-handed this time.

This morning, Arunachalam was really furious, and said that we should have given chase with a stick. Had we caught them, we could have had a “nyayam pechu” in the village and claimed to have had 10 jackfruit stolen (instead of the two that have actually been stolen)

I said that the only thing to do was to plant more jackfruit trees so that there would be enough for us, for orombarai (kith and kin), and for the thieves. He was not amused and said, “Oru tharavai pal-la vodaicha, marubidium pala-va thirudi thinga maataanga.” (If you break their teeth once, they won’t steal and eat jackfruit next time)

The score for this season is 2 stolen, 5 eaten, 1 hanging.
Dekha jayega, uska kya hoga...

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10 Responses to “Many a Slip”

  1. Suseela Says:

    A post after a long time. Lovely to know that you had jackfruits. Yes, Sunder plant more for the village boys too.

  2. rangarajan Says:

    Felt very nice reading this. Keep writing. With much regards to you all.

  3. Nandita Deosthale Says:

    We have 2 jackfruit trees, 3 chickoo trees, 2 custard apple trees, amla, mulberries, pomegranate and guava trees at our place. Some we planted some came with the place which was empty for a fair bit of time before we moved in. So sometimes when fruit is missing (whether it is due to 2 legged, 4 or winged varieties) I wonder if it is we who are the thieves :-). Keep planting. Lovely as always to hear from and about all of you.

  4. Godfrey Says:

    perennial concerns of anyone who succeeds in fruit growing. You have joined the ranks of authentic farmers

  5. Pinky Says:

    Lovely to hear from you as always – keep posting!

  6. Manju Says:

    Post after a long time. Good to hear from you. Nice picture.

  7. santosh Says:

    so good to hear from you people. I had just been wondering why there were no thekambattu posts for a while.

    Hearty wishes to all of you including Arunachalam.

  8. Sanjay Maharishi Says:

    Super story!! 🙂

  9. sunder and sonati Says:

    The last one was also stolen 😦 So it was a narrow 5-3 victory for us. Need a man-trap for the next season. Ideas welcome.

  10. Our Small Corner of the Universe – Fundamatics Says:

    […] neighbours steal various things: Jackfruit, Guavas (though of late we have had a relentless stream of kids who actually come and ask for […]

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