By Mona Babajee
Lately the talk of the town has been about the investments of millions of rupees and the embezzlement of millions also. Investors expected huge dividends but some didn’t even get to see the shadow of those dividends, for most of their investments just disappeared into thin air or went down the drain. No wonder, most of our ‘drains fine bouché’. It’s become a funny habit in this country for money to just disappear and nobody seems to know anything about their whereabouts.
There must be loads of magicians around, I dare say. Those people have certainly been taken to the cleaners and now all they can do is sit back and lick their wounds, but poor me was only able to invest the grand sum of two rupees, many years ago.
In 1982, I was working in the prison services at Beau Bassin and one day I noticed a mandarin tree in the front yard of a residence. It was laden with ripe juicy fruits and I wished so much I had a tree like that. As Barkly Nursery was nearby, I bought a seedling for Rs 2 (it was clearly marked mandarin) and planted it in my yard. When this tree will bear fruit, I’m going to stuff my face silly with loads of them, I thought.
Twelve years on, the tree was still growing but there was no sign of any fruit, so my mother said – get rid of it as it is barren. I wailed just leave my tree alone, as it’s not getting in anybody’s way, besides it’s providing shade for the birds. ‘You don’t really believe it’s going to bear fruit after all these years, do you?’, she asked me. ‘Of course it will,’ I replied, ‘why else do you think I invested my Rs 2 for, certainly not to incur losses. Go on, you can laugh.’
That same week, there was an eclipse of the sun, so my mum said, ‘I reckon your tree could do with some treatment…’ What! Radioactive treatment, I wondered. Anyway, she brought out a huge knife and made some incisions on the trunk, believing those rituals would make it bear fruit.
Two years later, blossoms appeared and then tiny fruits. At long last, I was going to taste those mandarin and nearly got my salt and chili out. But then gradually, they were past the size of mandarins, maybe it’s bergamot then. They got bigger and bigger, and it finally dawned upon me that they were Pamplemousses. Pamplemousses in my area, unbelievable! We got a few with nice pink flesh, were quite sweet and seedless. That tree has given us hundreds of fruits since and it’s been a pleasure to share with neighbours, friends and relatives. As for the thieves, well they help themselves, as some branches fall on the roadside.
Lord Ram went for ‘banwas’ to the forests for 14 years and came back victorious. I planted a mandarin seedling, which after 14 years turned into a grapefruit tree. Those Rs 2 were a real investment and I feel it’s something to write home about. Still, I would have preferred my mandarins. Patience certainly does bear fruit, doesn’t it?
* Published in print edition on 3 May 2013