I love durian, the king of fruits in Southeast Asia. I love its soft and creamy texture, rich and fragrant scent, sweet and sometimes bitter, almost alcoholic taste. Yummy, that's always my reactions when I put durian flesh into my mouth.
But have you ever waited under a durian tree, waiting for its fruits to drop down? Oh, you should. It is a fantastic experience.
We have tall durian trees in our village. Come durian season, and many of us will be carrying big baskets, rushing and running towards the durian trees. More will join in when the strong winds blow.
Some even make sheds under the durian tree. They stay here from early morning till late afternoon, and they do their cooking here. And they build big, smokey fires to chase away mosquitoes.
Many have a lot of stories to tell while waiting for the durian fruits to drop down. Many childhood memories, many recent happenings, many folk tales and sometimes many scary ghost stories to drive away competitors. There are always laughter and joy. Sitting around these people are pure fun and always take all your troubles away.
Some wear thick clothing and safety huts just in case some durian fruits decide to drop on them. But they always become laughing stalks among their friends. But the seasoned durian pickers just know what to wear, and where to wait and stand.
When the tree belongs to no one, chasing after durian fruits can be challenging and fun. Many get dirty and wet, many fall and injure themselves, and some get frustrated when most part of the fruit they pick is rotten or eaten by the squirrels.
But when the tree belongs to a group of relatives, picking durian fruits is more organized. They take turns to pick. Sometimes they pick a rotten fruit and they start to curse their luck, while others are laughing and jeering away.
Mind you, picking durian fruits can be dangerous. Some lost their eyes and hurt their back and their limbs. I remembered seeing a talkative school boy went to school the next day with a thick bandaged head and everyone passing by him just couldn't stop laughing.
Sometimes many fruits drop at the same time. Picking durians during this time can be real fun though dangerous.
May be you should try waiting under the durian tree.