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True Story - The School Bus And Java Plum Fruit Trees

The Java Plum trees had a true story in our school days. The moment our army truck school bus turns onto this road lined up with dozens of Jamun trees also known as Java Plum trees on both sides, there is a commotion in the bus. All the children in the school bus want to pluck and eat the Java Plum fruit. The fruit of these trees makes the mouth and tongue completely violet in color after eating the Java Plum furits which are small dark violet in color and often I used to get a little perturbed in the toilet when I see the same violet color the next morning.

So strong is the smell and taste of the Jamun or Java Plum that the driver would stop our school bus right under the lowest hanging Jamun tree branch along the road. The school bus driver and conductor knew that the school bus kids are waiting for it. Once the school bus stops under one of the Java Plum tree chosen by the driver of our school bus, all the big boys would climb on to the tarpaulin top of the school bus and the driver cabin top of the school bus plucking the Java Plum and filling our bags and pockets. In the bargain we would also spoil our white shirt of School Uniform too.

In five minutes everything is over and all the boys are back inside the school bus. The next task was to eat all the two tons of Java Plum fruits plucked by the big school boys. As the big boys come down everyone would share the java plums with the smaller school kids too. By the time the school bus reaches the school in the next ten minutes, all the Java fruits are down the throat and the tell tale signs are there on almost every white shirt of the school uniform. A part of the loot is given to the school bus driver also because there used to be so much of Java Plum fruit with us that we could never finish it in one go.

The stopping of the school bus under the Java Plum trees, climbing on top of the school bus top to pluck the Java Plum fruit and eating the bounty by sharing it inside the bus became a ritual which lasted as long as the Java Plum trees keep producing fruits. Even the bus conductor and the driver of our school bus and many other vehicles are seen doing this ritual in the morning.

The reason for this morning ritual was that the Java Plum fruits would be gone before 8:00 am when all the big vehicles have finished their rituals. The best Java Plum fruits come to those who come by that road early. It was not possible to cross over the palace compound wall to climb the Java Plum trees. So no one could climb the Java Plum trees to pluck the fruits in the taller branches and inside the palace compound.

The best thing which most drivers and passengers of most bus and trucks plying on the palace road was to carry some long sticks to beat the tree branches to make the Java Plum fall down. We used to see tons of Java Plum fruits on the grassy ground inside the palace compound which no one needed because there was so much on the Java Plum trees still fresh and ripe.

On reaching back home it was another ritual for the mothers of almost all the kids to get angry because it was now for them to ensure that the white shirts are washed off the Java Plum violet color and press the white uniform shirts by the next morning to wear for school. There were so many Java Plum trees that we never fell short of the Java Plums any day to school. Mondays were the best because there were more and ripe fruits thanks to Sunday being a holiday and the Java Plum trees were spared till Monday attack by us.

The Java Plum fruits were also one reason why all of us were happy gong to school early in the morning and almost everyone used to be in the school bus stop at least twenty minutes before the school bus arrived at each bus stop. Any delay in the army check post before leaving the army cantonment for the school was a big concern for us because the Java Plum trees would be attacked by some other school bus that may have come there before us if we get late and our chance of getting the best Java Plum fruits goes. We were all happy on our way from home to school in that army school bus throughout the Java Plum fruit bearing season.

This is a true story, I will never forget and makes me nostalgic whenever I remember it. Today, I can see that the palace compound has become a park. But the google map still shows the Java Plum trees lined up along the palace road.

A True Life Story


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