Bhuvana Natarajan is a resident of 2nd Cross Road, R.A. Puram. Her residence has a large garden with a few fruit trees. The family was in North India for over 45 years but five years ago, she and her husband came back to their home in R.A. Puram.
Bhuvana here shares her experience and challenges in caring for trees in her garden.
"I have a reasonably big garden around my residence. I have four coconut trees and a huge mango tree, which is more than 50 years old. In the next compound are a jackfruit tree, a neem tree, a vadha narayana tree and a peepal tree.
During October the leaves fall furiously and I have a tough time cleaning the garden. If I employ a gardener he charges Rs. 1000 or Rs. 2000.
The mango variety that grows in my garden is a Malgova cross type. Every year the tree gives about 800 to 1000 fruits.
We have a tough time finding the right person to harvest the mangoes. Every time we come across a person he would invariably cheat us.
Once a harvester even promised me that he would sell these mangoes to two local shops. He was bluffing us!
I have asked local shops to buy all the mangoes. They ask us to bring 10 mangoes to see the quality. Since we are a senior citizen couple we could not do this and dropped the idea.
One year, the tree yielded 800 mangoes. Since we were not able to locate any harvester we started plucking the mangoes ourselves.
The only enjoyable feeling during this season is the sound of different birds and squirrels which invade our garden.
This year too the tree has a good yield and I managed to pluck some mangoes. Hundreds more still remain in the tree.
The next issue is about the coconuts. Of the four trees, the fruits of one tree are donated to a temple.
I get about 100 coconuts from the other three trees every six months. Storing a large number of coconuts requires a clean space, which I am short of.
I approached a local shopkeeper to buy these coconuts. He said he would buy them from me for Rs. 4 per coconut provided I removed the outer cover.
Nowadays, the coconut plucker rarely comes; so the coconuts dry up and fall down.
I am surrounded by dry leaves, dry coconuts and mangoes." (Courtesy: Mylapore Times)