Reading Short Story 6

Frangipani : 1  






English Translation:

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ONCE there was a sweet tamarind tree in my front yard. Its branches stretched out far and wide, creating a cool shade on hot days. I myself had planted it many years ago. Originally, it was inside the fence, but later on, when the municipality’s Construction Department expanded the roadway, I moved the fence in a few feet, which left the tamarind tree out by the sidewalk.  I was very pleased with this tamarind tree because its pods were so sweet and its leaves so green. It was a decorative tree that brought life to my front yard. When the monsoon season approached, its red blooms covered the ground. Then tiny pods appeared on its crown and over all its branches. Everybody who walked beneath it looked up in awe.

Besides the passersby who paused to enjoy its shade, a number of schoolchildren waited underneath for their parents or guardians after the nearby school let out. These young people were in uniform.

They were bright-eyed and lovely. Some stood. Some sat and some of them chased one another around. The sight of these children--their happiness, smiles, and jokes--is something I’ll always remember. Some days I spent a few minutes, even as much as half an hour, looking at them, at their black hair and red, sometimes chubby, cheeks. I found happiness in their innocence. There is a saying that no sight is more pleasing and precious than that of children playing carefree. I agree wholeheartedly and if I owned a camera, I probably would have wasted more time trying to take some candid snapshots.  Their songs, their laughter, their jokes, and even their cursing and sneering at one another as they squabbled over tamarind pods reminded me of my own past, when I was ...........


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