The Grim Reaper
Lunch is disturbed by the sound of thuds and crashes.
The staff have kindly closed my front door but palm fronds and coconuts falling to the ground are not easily muted.
I put down my sandwich to take a look.
The toddy harvester is perched high in our coconut palm, perhaps thirty feet above the ground. He uses a single tree-branch as a ladder, to climb the first ten feet. Then, having looped a rope sling around his ankles, scampers up the rest of the trunk with kangaroo-like strides.
The coconuts are falling quickly. With them come the lower palm fronds, which had begun to droop down on to the house and garden wall.
In the past I have tried not to witness this harvest. Watching impotently, as coconuts smash violently into the shrubs, walls and gate lights, can feel as if you are trapped in some fun-fair nightmare.
He slithers effortlessly down the palm tree and chops the tops from five coconuts. We all drink the tender coconut water.
Shaji and Anu start to tidy the harvest rampage.
Harmony is restored.