There was a post recently on a Social Media group that I am part of which spoke of the Mango season coming to an end with the arrival of ‘Neelam’ mangoes in the market.
For most Indians, summer equates to mangoes. I was one of the fortunate ones growing up in that we used to travel to our ‘native place’ in the summer to spend time with grand parents, uncles and aunts and cousins. This, for us, was Kerala. And one of the fond memories of that time was spending time outdoors, playing under and on mango trees, and, goes without saying, plucking and eating fresh mangoes.
As I recollect, there were a couple of mangoes that we used to eat. One was juicy and fibrous that just had to be eaten by hand. And the other was green and tangy which was best cut open with a knife and eaten with salt and chilly powder. Yum!
As I grew older and trips to Kerala reduced, the raw earthy delights of childhood were replaced by city experiences. We used to wait for the price of ‘Hapus’ or Alphonso mangoes to come down to a more acceptable level before buying a box or two. And staying in Mumbai meant that ‘Aamras’ was never very far away!
This annual ritual came to an end when we moved abroad for a few years. While mangoes were regularly available and consumed, it was just not the same experience (and taste).
We moved back to India 3 years ago and it’s only now, in what is the third summer since we came back, that I feel that I am back into the annual rhythm of life here. This summer, I took a train journey to my ‘home town’, which is now Mumbai. Enjoyed delicious mangoes and mango foods (Aamras, mango ice cream, mango milk shake, mango pickle). Started to understand and appreciate the different varieties of this glorious fruit – Badami, Bainganapalli, Mallika, Sindoori being just a few of the ones consumed this season!
So as the season comes to a close, it’s time to say good-bye and thank you to this most delicious of fruits and wait patiently for the season to come around again in nine months’ time!