When Coconuts Attack
UPDATE: this essay now appears in the travel anthology The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35.
My grandparents in India live on a tidy little estate called Palm Grove. It’s a whitewashed house with a red Spanish-style tiled roof, a marble courtyard with a swing, a pint-size pond and rose garden, and, of course, the soaring trees that give it its name. It was my second home, and I spent many a leisurely summer challenging Raju, the caretaker’s son, to never-ending cricket, badminton, and hopscotch matches on the circular driveway; playing cards and sipping fresh mango juice in the veranda; and reading Nancy Drew books on the seating area shaded by guava trees. It’s where some of my most idyllic childhood memories are from.
It’s also where I developed one of my greatest fears.