Tamarind (002)

Bangalore lost homes with gardens

A nostalgic take on Bangalore’s houses with gardens and fruit trees

Today with Bangalore’s bungalows going skywards and turning into high rise apartments, there are very few homes with gardens left. However to keep some colour in their gardens many are growing flowering creepers on their property walls or have flowering trees on the periphery of the buildings.

That can be lucky for the neighbour sometimes who gains from the bulk of the flowers or fruit overhanging into their garden.

As kids the neighbours had a Jackfruit tree along the wall of their compound. Jackfruits grow along the trunk and the branches and it was fortunate for us that there were so many of the fruit, the neighbours did not mind if we helped ourselves to the fruit on our side of the wall. We did have our own tree, but for some reason the fruit from their tree tasted sweeter and was preferred.

Over the years they planted a number of trees on the periphery one of which is an Australian Bottle Brush. The tree is presently in bloom with just the bare trunk on their side of the wall and the beautiful sheath of flowers overhanging into our compound. (see picture) Tiny sunbirds and Ashy Prinias in the early morning, flitting around the scarlet bottle brush complete the picture.

On my way to college one of the buildings has grown the Snow Princess, which is a white bougainvillea along its peripheral wall. The maali ensures that the plant is neat and tidy on the buildings side of the wall but the overhang on the other side is breath taking. The pure white blooms tumble over in a riot into the next compound ( see picture)  No one really notices the blooms sadly as the building looks derelict, but I am sure the building owners must feel sad to see the beauty of the shrub is not on their side, but over the wall in the neighbours.

The reason probably is with space being a constraint and hi-rise buildings cutting out the light, trees and shrubs move towards the sun which could be on the other side of the wall. To avoid that we grew our Queen’s Wreath or Sandpaper vine  which is native plant to Mexico and  America at first on the wall. This vine was introduced to Sri Lanka and India for ornamentation. The leaves of the plant are rough as sandpaper  and the flowers are  blue to purple in colour.

Even after three years it did not flower till we lifted it on a stand which got the direct sun. Immediately it has begun to bloom and looks stunning on the stand, like a flower decoration. If we had left it on the wall we probably would not have enjoyed the flowers.

And the massive Salem tamarind tree of the back neighbour. The trunk of the tree is in their compound while the bulk of the branches loaded with wonderful, fleshy tamarind hang in our compound. Every single day we can collect bowls full of wonderful fruit which are organic and clean unlike the shop bought variety which is often full of mud and sand. Throughout the day Suresh the maali enjoys eating the fallen fruit like a snack and the maintenance staff collect some to use at home in their curries. I make a wonderful sauce to eat with my pakoras and samosas as the sauce given in restaurants is not the original tamarind.

The only sad point is when the mango tree fruits in our garden and the fruit hangs over on the neighbours side. That can be a sad paradox as the fruit are the delectable malgoba where each fruit can grow upto half a kg and taste wonderful. But with our building cutting its sunlight the branches are growing more into the neighbours and lucky for him, he gets most of our mangoes!