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Open letter to Mango tree

I have had you since you were half a foot high seven years ago. I planted you with great love and high hopes of being able to eat your mangoes after five years.

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Dear Mango Tree,

I have had you since you were half a foot high seven years ago. I planted you with great love and high hopes of being able to eat your mangoes after five years.

You did not show any inclination to produce flowers let alone fruit and I was disappointed. However I had hopes that the sixth year would see at least one teeny-weeny mango from you. No chance – that year was a dud too.

I was rather irritated. I yelled at you mercilessly. I asked you how you could possibly hang around in such a shameless fashion when trees barely two years old were producing huge mangoes.

Of course I knew you were a local variety and not a made-up grafted one. I was willing to wait for a while but six years seemed too much.

I threatened you with dire consequences. I compared you to the banana plants that gifted not only us but the entire neighbourhood with the sweetest fruit.

This year I spied amidst your branches three tiny sprays of flowers and one bunch of the tiniest mangoes anyone has ever seen. I was so excited I cannot possibly describe it. I took snaps.

I looked at you and your little fruit while standing in the balcony every morning. I called out encouragement. I kept my fingers crossed. But of course there’s no knowing what might happen to the bits of green — they might shrivel and fall off.

They might also not be sweet should they grow to full size either. Bats may eat them. Squirrels may have a go at them. There is simply no guarantee.

I know none of this is your fault and yet I continue to hold you responsible. I compare you unnecessarily with plants that are completely unlike you. I do not remember to tell you how much I value you. I don’t take time to just sit and talk.

I don’t realise that you need your own time to grow in your own way. It is not something even God would rush. And yet I expect you to bloom without any of this. I need you only to meet my expectations. I want you to make me look good.

I want others to tell me I am lucky to be able to have great mangoes.

Like everything else in my life, I realise that I need to simply have more patience with you too and so I apologise. I am sorry for not being more understanding.

I am sorry for wanting you to be like my neighbour’s tree. I am sorry for not seeing you as you are. I know that from now on you will bloom more and more every year. I know that you will be joyous and spread that joy through your fruit.

I will water you and feed you and simply take a step back to watch you stand tall and proud. Most importantly I will let you be you.
Your gardener,

Me.

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