Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Death of Mango Tree or Big Tree

                                                                                      - A.M. Riyas Ahamed
“Trees have many stories.
There is a story like this.
This is the story of a mango tree.
When trees are alive,
The trees are not celebrated”.
Mr. M.S.M. Hamthoon, My “Chacha”, the husband of my mother’s younger sister, from Adalaichenai. He was an alumni of Maruthamunai Almanar Central College. He was an Art teacher at Akkaraipattu Central College. Basically he was a good artist and painter. His handwritings looked beautiful. The “Kalankarai” magazine was published by the Student council of Maruthamunai Almanar Central College during the late 1970s. His writings and paintings contributed a lot for the success of this magazine, which boosted a thirsty of reading in me, when I was child.
Chacha was a wonderful styled tailor. He always dresses elegant and beautiful. He is always more concerned about keeping himself and his clothes clean. He is also a sweet vocalist. He had great musical knowledge. It is still remembered that he won a singing competition in radio programme of Radio Sri Lanka in 1980s. It is also worth recalling that during the same period, participated in the agricultural competition in the same radio.
A river meanders in front of his house. The canoe with nets was landed on the shore of the river. At midnight he would row the canoe himself, shot the nets and caught fish. His town is about 25 km from our town. Still, in the eagerness to bring living fish he caught to us, at midnight, he would come to our house to tear up the darkness and the dangers on a motorcycle, knocked our door and gave the fish.
Chacha is a nature lover. He travels a lot with friends on motorbikes for very long trips. Some time, age difference between he and some of his friends is twenty years too. Chacha had bought mangoes in 1983, when he visited Puttalam. While it was delicious, he brought it home, planted its seeds, made it well, and made it into a good tree. Appreciating the tree, like a child, has grown. Chacha is 59 years old, but his body looks like a man in his early 40s. He eats carefully selected little amount of meal by grinding for a very long time. That's why I never saw him get sick in his lifetime. Because of these all fact, I thought that he would live very long. He had been climbing on a mango tree to plug mangoes for a long time. As usual when he routinely climbed up with the help of the ladder, he fell from the tree and his arm, leg, ribs and skull bones were broken. Immediately he was admitted to Akkaraipattu hospital and later transferred to the Batticaloa Teaching hospital and died in the latter.
When he started building a new house next to his old house, Chacha refused to accept the suggestion to cut down the tree. He loved the tree so much. I did not see anyone hated that tree, even though it was brought as seed of death of Chacha from somewhere in Sri Lanka. I was amazed to see his funeral. It was one of the large gathering I ever saw in my life. Chacha seems to me as the richest man on that day, who earned everything except money,
He did not engulf stress and sorrows surrounded him. He lived a life naturally, simply and pleasingly. He always respected fellow human being. The spaces he filled as father, friend, relative, teacher, psychologist, amateur fisherman, tailor, artist, singer, painter, entertainer, etc. seem big when he was absent.
Chacha's death has unlocked the giantess of his life, which has so far been repressed within the magical bottle. I'm still wondering. Trees have many stories. There is a story like this. This is the story of a mango tree. When trees are alive, the trees are not celebrated.
* He died on 27th July, 2019.

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