My grandmother buried a seed into the ground about fifteen years ago.
She told me to watch the Indian mango tree grow. She said it would grow like the Gumamela on the side of the road.
But it took long.
So long that Inay never got to see the mango tree grow at all.
For many summers we were happy that the tree was alive.
I remember once, seeing a ball- formed by many leaves combined, hanging from the tree. I was afraid because I knew, inside the ball was a country of red ants, that was likely to fall when a gust of wind, strong enough to cut the ball loose, passes by.
It was Inay’s tree.
Over time, we forgot about the tree.
It was just there. Growing, allowing storms to pass and watching summer suns glow.
A few summers ago, Ate Asel hauled a bucket of mangoes to the kitchen.
“Marami pa yan!” (There is more!) she said.
We were very happy.
It was Inay’s tree! We almost forgot that it was an Indian Mango tree but there it was!“Masisira na yung manga!” (The mangoes will start to go bad!)
For so long we waited for the tree to grow, and to bear fruit so much so that we forgot we were waiting. Now, here they are. Years of waiting, bearing fruit, certain that the time has come. But what do we do with the mangoes? Certainly we could not eat them all!
The last bucket of mangoes left were cut.
“Gawin nating chutney!” (Let’s make them into chutney!) my mother said.
“Paano? Marunong ba tayong gumawa ng chutney?” (How? Do we know how to make chutney?) I asked.But my mother, the woman that she is, made chutney out of the remaining mangoes.
And for a few weeks after the last mango fell from the tree for that summer, I ate chutney, with every single dish I ate.
That was the only time we made chutney out of the mangoes.
I wonder if the tree bore tons of mangoes this summer, if they made chutney this year, I wonder — along with all the other things I wonder about, when I wonder about home.