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Monday, July 13, 2020

Sweetness of Mangoes

Our Mango tree
The whiff of mangoes is in the air. A dig into the sweetness of the fruit is akin to an unparalleled heavenly experience. There are so many memories around this lovely fruit that I do not really know from where to begin.
The earliest memories of childhood come floating like the monsoon clouds before my eyes. As kids, we would settle down around a big tub of water in which the succulent fruit was left immersed for a few hours before the attack began. No knives were used and all that was needed was to remove the top stem and squeeze the pulp directly into the mouth. We never actually counted how many each of us ate till the tub was empty and the hands, mouth and the clothes were sticky requiring urgent cleaning.
Mango phirni( dessert ) from homegrown mangoes
As time flew, I was in the Navy and was going for sailing from Mumbai to Goa in mid-January on board my ship INS Vikrant.  Next morning once the ship was berthed alongside, I rushed to the town to see the unbelievable sight of raw mangoes being sold in heaps. I had seen the fruit only in summer when I was in Delhi. So I bought a bagful of these and carried them back. Next morning the ship developed a snag around Mumbai and I was asked to take the report by hand to the headquarters on board a helicopter flying from the deck. I quietly slipped the bag of mangoes with me as additional baggage. In the next couple of hours, my wife looked at the astonishing sight of my unexpected presence with mangoes!

That was the beginning of my quasi-permanent love relationship with Goa where I got my next posting. I explored the length and breadth of the state and every season of mangoes would draw the immense pleasure of seeing my little two-year-old daughter digging into the washed mangoes till she was covered in the golden fruit from head to toe. I also learnt that there was a variety of mango from which a live insect would fly out when opening the fruit. It was quite a sight! The belt around Maharashtra- Raigad and Konkan produces mangoes of the best variety.

Several years later we were travelling back to Delhi from Ranikhet via Moradabad in the month of June. The sight of lovely Dussehari mangoes stopped me on the track and soon I bought a bagful. My happiness was short-lived as I walked a few steps, I felt like an electric current going through my hand and in a state of stupor I realized that a huge monkey had snatched the bag and was heading ahead of me. I almost instantly ran after him and before it could realize I snatched the bag from his hands. This time it was the monkey who got a shock of his life. I soon realized that a huge crowd was cheering me for accomplishing the feat. When I returned back to my wife and daughter they narrated the incident little realizing that man involved was me.

 Several years later I was working with an Israeli telecom company and had landed in Seychelles for some work. It was the rainy season and when I went for a jog in the morning I was aghast at the sight of hundreds of mangoes littered on the roads and even the drains were overflowing with ripe mangoes. It was difficult to walk leave aside run without stepping on a ripe mango.

In Singapore, finding mangoes is easy. One can get the best Alfonso mangoes almost everywhere and in the Indian stores and in the giant departmental store Mustafa one is spoilt for choices for selection. Across the street in the South Indian restaurant MTR, one can get the most delicious mango lassi

On a recent trip to The Netherlands, I was pleasantly surprised to find huge mangoes being sold on a weekend market. I learnt that these were from Madagascar and were cheaper than what was the going price in India. They were so fleshy juicy that I never realized could be so good
Mangoes from the home tree
The sweetness of mangoes is more dominant than the fear of pandemic now. The positivity of it is much stronger than anything despite all the negative news of gangsters, killings, rising numbers of victims of the pandemic, the economy plummeting et al. Every morning I step out of the house to be greeted by the sight of ripe mangoes that have fallen from the tree in my backyard. Homemade mango pickles and desserts are the best use of mangoes. The god's bounties are immense and there is so much to thank for even in these difficult times.

PS All pics are mine

10 comments:

  1. This fruit is such a symbol of our summers, aren't they? :)
    And Indian Mangoes are a class apart. We don't get lucky every time we go mango shopping. :(
    And what joy it is to find those mangoes that taste like home!! :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Dee for your kind comment! Certainly mangoes from the subcontinent are a treat beyond words. You are welocome for the treat whever you are here:)

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  2. That mango dessert looks delicious!

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  3. Oh this post made me miss mangoes so much. Don't know when we can get to taste such a delight again :/

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  4. Oh! This is my favourite fruit and I still keep them immersed in a bucket of ice-cold water for at least an hour :-D

    BTW, if you ever get a chance, try the "Himsagar" mangoes of Bengal. You'll remember the taste for ever... :-)

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    1. The joy of enjoying mangoes is unparalleled. I have tasted Himsagar on several visits to Kolkata. They are lovely!

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  5. When I was a kid we used to have a mango tree in our compund...We never plucked any as the house owner used to sell the mangoes and it was not correct plucking them ....every time we visited Chennai for the summer holidays my grandparents used to pamper us with the banganapalli ... And my dad used to order a box of imaam Pasand every summer ....that one is usually as big as a papaya .... And I love mangoes

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    1. That is such a sweet recollection. Baiganpalli of Hyderabad is really a class apart:)

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