My uncles and aunts were discussing about the durian trees that decided to bear numerous, bountiful fruits this year. How do we finish ALL those durians and I’m telling you, it’s A LOT! Really.
Thence came out this issue. The durian issue.

According to my uncle Wak Halim, durian is a fruit which, surrounding it, there’s so much controversy. So much fuss and stories behind it’s consumption. Family issues mainly. No wonder it’s called the king of fruits.

We were counting the kariah people, our relatives (close and distant), our friends. No, even these people can’t finish that much durian. Then there’s the issue of selling the fruit. My grandpa planted all those trees so that his ‘anak cucu’ (children and grandchildren) could enjoy the fruit. Not for sale, unless someone comes and offers to buy them. He did sell some of the fruits but not by loading a lorry full of them and selling in the market.

Many of us who’re experienced planting, taking care of, or living in between the durian trees know that the trees themselves are quite fussy. If you pluck an unripe fruit, it won’t bear fruit at least for another year or two. A change of weather would change its pattern of fruit-bearing altogether. Any family events, fights over land etc etc may or may not influence its produce. And if you sell those durians that were initially not meant to be sold, maybe you won’t get to taste the fruit next year. Or it may not be as good. Hence my concern on selling the fruits. “Takut merajuk durian tu nanti.”

And that’s why I won’t tell you how much durians my uncle counted on the trees in Ramadhan. I’m scared it’s jinxed.

Anyway, the issues?

1. If we invite our relatives to eat, and out of their own rezeki/luck, they might get the less tasty ones. Or not ripe enough. Some might lash out a comment like this, “Yeah, they are saving the good ones for sale. They’d only give us the non-tasty durians.”

2. Sometimes our relatives only visit us once a year, or some rarely. For us it’s ok. We all have our own things to do, our own excuses. However when we invite them for a durian treat, some might not want to come because, “Oh no, we never visited their places, but we’re all so eager to come when they invite us for durians. As if we’re so desperate for their fruits. This is embarassing. I’m not coming.”

3. Some people who have more than a farm of durians back in their kampung sometimes DO say, “Yeah, so and so and so relative of mine only shows up when the fruits are ripe. When I was huffing and puffing in the farm, cleaning the yard and taking care of the land, nobody ever bothered.”

4. And many friends would ask, “Hey, I heard you have a durian farm. When are you inviting us for a treat?” We’d say, “Come this weekend. It’s dropping like the rain.” But they NEVER show up!! Why? Because my farm is, for them, soooo far away from their homes. Do I have to pack the durians and bring the fruits to them? My uncle said, “dahla kita punya durian, kita tolong kutip, bukak lagi, masuk dalam bekas, bawa hidang depan mata dia.” (It’s our durian, we picked them up, opened it, put it in containers and drive these durians, serve them under their nose?). Excuse me, if you really love the durians so much, and you are, indeed, my friend, why can’t you just drive up to my farm? Seriously..and you know what, 3 years ago a group of people asked me the same thing and nobody bloody came (with a long list of excuses), except for one. And I waited the whole night. So I never asked them to come anymore. Go buy your own RM10 per kg bloody durian for all you want. Haha.

5. This one huuuuge issue. When we invite someone, we’d invite batch by batch. Some people can handle many people at a time. But we, as a family, know what bonding is about and would like to spend time with you, not only to serve the durians without meeting each of you. The same thing as raya open house.
Anyway, we’re very sorry if somehow your turn comes towards the end of the durian season. Sometimes that’s the only time we could invite you. But nooo, some families won’t forgive us for inviting them on the eleventh hour. They think they’re the most important family to be invited. They don’t appreciate taking the last few fruits home (after having a feast). And they don’t appreciate eating out in the open air in the gazebo. They want to be in the house on the sofa with the aircond on (sorry there’s no aircond in our living room). And they want a full meal before feasting on the durians.
Oh, and they bring out the issue over and over and over again.

Annoying isn’t it?

I didn’t mean to brag that we have what the world wants. I’m just saying that, if people invite you for a durian, come with an open mind, open heart, positive thinking and a friendly smile. We sincerely, honestly, from the bottom of our hearts, want to share the joy of durians with you.

We don’t have control over the taste and size of the fruit. We don’t plan to sell unless it’s going to be wasted. It’s your luck whether you’d get the nice one or not. But rest assured we’re not going to serve the rotten ones.

Of, no, I’m not going to bring the durians for you anymore. If you really really want it, you have to come and get it. And my house is not that far.

* * *

I told Wak Halim, this is just like the story from Luqman al-Hakim, where a father and son had to take a donkey across the town to the market. When the son rides the donkey, people say the son doesn’t respect the father.
But when the father rides the donkey, they say pity the young boy he has to walk when the father gets a ride.
When they both don’t ride the donkey, people say they’re stupid because “what else is the donkey for than to ride it?”
And when they BOTH ride the donkey, they say pity the donkey having to take both of them for a ride.

Ah, well…..we’re never going to be able to make everyone happy, are we?

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