In the last week of February, my husband and I were driving in the streets of Ironshore. Ironshore is an upscale community in the outskirts of Montego Bay, Jamaica. There are some beautiful houses in this neighbourhood. Anyway! As we drove towards the A1 highway, my husband suddenly exclaimed, “Seema chintha gubbalu!”. I had no clue what he was referring to.
He stopped the car by the sidewalk and asked if I saw them on the tree nearby. I explained to him that I am hearing that word for the first time. He pointed to a tall tree in a piece of wasteland by the road. Before I could get a good glimpse of the tree, he got out of the car and walked towards the tree.
He picked a delicate, pink and white pod that was curled up and appeared to have burst open. He showed it to me and said that these trees were commonly found in and around his village in India. He ate them a lot as a child.
The scientific name of this fruit is Pithecellobium dulce. I did a little research to know that these trees a commonly found in Asia, Central America, Mexico and South America. It is called by different names in different regions. The bark, fruit, seeds of this tree are used to treat various ailmentsKaushik V. Kulkarni and Varsha R. Jamakhandi from the College of Pharmacy in India have explained a few interesting facts about the tree. The uses of Pithecellobium dulce are described in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. It can be accessed at this website:
The pods of Seema Chintha burst open on the tree when they become ripe and ready for eating. They taste sweet when ripe yet have a mild sour taste at the same time. The best way to describe the flavour is like chewing on fresh rose petals that were sweet. After eating the first one, I couldn’t stop. I ate them all, one after another.
After picking a bunch of pods from the tree, we separated the delicate white fruit from the pod, removed the black seeds and washed them thoroughly before devouring them. I couldn’t help notice the delicate white flowers hanging down. They were so beautiful and feathery that I decided not to touch them. Bees and wasps were hovering around too. For now, I am going to leave you with this last picture of this Seema Chintakaya. For my husband, this was a wonderful memory brought back from his childhood.
We recently celebrated Mothers Day on May 9th. I wanted to do something special for my mother on that day. Since we could not take her out for dinner or get her any gifts due to the Covid 19 situation, I thought I will give her a break and handle her workload for the day. I thought that was equivalent to a day off at a resort if she does not have to cook and clean all day. I was in for a surprise.
All through the day, my mother kept interfering with my work. She was not able to relax and enjoy her holiday. My mom was constantly following me around the house as I worked. She was not relaxing in front of the TV or pursuing any of her hobbies. I thought that she might be worried that I am not doing a good job.
When I asked her what she would like to eat, my mom listed stuff that dad or I enjoy eating. She would insist on cooking it herself as a thank you for doing the housework. I was confused and told her that this was her mothers day gift. She should not thank me for it. My mother and I ended up arguing about her reason for not relaxing and enjoying the holiday.
By the end of the day, I realized that the whole idea was causing damage rather than being a gift. I sat her down and asked her what her problem was. I see that she could not relax even for a day and would interfere at every step. I gently prodded to see if she did not appreciate the gift. The answer she gave me was an insight into how a mother thinks.
She said she did not want a holiday from the housework though she appears to complain about it. She said that she complains so that we would work along with her. She felt she has a connection and communication line with us while we do the work. She was following me around the house and interfering in the work, only to start a conversation with me. She had no particular favourites in her mind because all the foods that we, her children, love bring back memories of us as kids. Every time she cooked my favourite dish, she reminisced on an incident where I was happy. That made her happy.
A mother doesn’t want a holiday from her responsibilities. She just wants her children to connect back with her in a way we did when we were young. She wants to feel relevant in our lives, especially now that we have become independent. Knowing this, I asked her for a redo of the gift. I promised to help her in the kitchen whenever I can. That way, she can teach me recipes I already know. I would help her clean the house, and she can teach me the importance of cleanliness all over again. This would be the best gift I could think of.
As a part of his vast repertoire of music, Frank Sinatra sang the song My Way. It was written by Paul Anka. I love this song of his. Though I love the song, I never really paid attention to the lyrics until the other day. Earlier I always felt the song was about a person celebrating his successful life and the journey. As I listened to it, I recognised something about it. The person is not only celebrating his success, but he is also taking full responsibility for all his decisions and actions. That part struck a chord with me. How many of us can truly take responsibility for our choices?
It is a common complaint we hear among youth that they have no control over their life. They say that all decisions are made for them, either by others or by situations. I agree that in many of the cases, it is true. We are often under obligation to choose a path, or we are forced by societal norms to be a certain way or coerced by family emotionally to adhere to rules. It would seem that we hardly had a say in the decision.
An old saying comes to mind when I think of such situations, ‘We can take a horse to the water, but we cannot make it drink the water’. Same way as we can be forced to choose a particular path, but no one can make us walk it unless we want to. So, when we walk down a road in life, we have to remember that at some point, we consciously choose this path too. We have decided on this course of action, either due to lack of a better choice or lack of will to resist. We realised the benefits of this decision. We may disagree with the decision, but we have accepted the decision.
I would like to add a disclaimer here that I am not blaming anyone here. I do not intend to put the guilt on your shoulder and absolve everyone else. My intension is to remind us that we decided to follow the path based on logic and reasoning. We have chosen to sacrifice something to gain something else. There was a rationale behind our choice. We made that choice because this option outweighed the others. As long as we remember this rationale and reasoning, we should not doubt our decisions. We should take responsibility for it.
Whether our decisions lead to failure or success or took us on an uncharted path, we can only find peace and happiness when we remember our reasoning and rationale behind that decision. As long as we blame others for influencing us and forcing their decisions on us, we can never see the beauty and adventure in our journey of life. More importantly, as long as we remember the reason for a decision, we can be proud of what we stood up for and what we sacrificed to get to this position in life.
As I was cleaning up my folder of photos, I stumbled upon a set of photographs from a few years back. They brought back fond memories of 2 pups in my neighbourhood. They were the most mischievous pups but had the most adorable face, as is the case with all puppies.
The pups were barely a few months old at the time when my aunt had to step out on some urgent work. These two pups had been veritable angels until then, so my aunt left them out in the yard to play while she finished her work. This decision proved to be her mistake.
My aunt took two hours to finish her work and return home. The pups utilised this window of opportunity to explore the lotus pond and redecorate the yard. This is what greeted her when she returned; two energetic pups who proudly displayed their creativity.
My aunt was shocked beyond words that her angels could come up with such mischief. She had to tie them up to the gate and use the water hose to wash away all the mud and dirt. While my aunt was fussing over how to clean them and the yard, we kids had a laugh taking pictures of the dogs and their antics.
It is a memory of a fun day that brings a smile to us all.