(This post is from my former blogs at blogs.uk and blogger.com But now with summer coming up I thought it only makes sense to evoke a long lost post. Hope you enjoy it all over again!)
This is one of the best seasons in Indian costal region with mangoes ripe and filling the air with their toxic scent. The Deccan ghats are home of the best alphansos in the world. My father and uncles have kept some sweet gifts alive for the coming generations! Our ancestral farmland holds about hundred and fifty mango trees planted neatly on a stretch of few acres.
The mango tree is not just for pleasure of taste buds but their lush greenness gives visual serenity when the whole of the subcontinent is burning under heavy heat waves of summer.
Nothing can touch the green of a mango tree except yellow dots of ripe fruit!
The whole mango thing is a big celebration that starts in late winter when mango trees flaunt blossom of amazing scent and flocks of bees bustle around them. The scent is so characteristically enticing that it has given birth to a good amount of local literature!!
Later as the crisp winters start getting warmer, blossoms are replaced by little fruits green and easily hidden behind green foliage. Its sticky sap is a treacherous weapon! It burns and rashes skin for a good amount of time that you will hardly forget in a lifetime!!
As the fruits grow the real mango smell starts sending note with the wind…..it is the mango celebration at its height!
We all cousins and uncles take the cars out and from city people we become farmer kids! We climb the trees, and neatly take the fruit down….each fruit heavy with its juice and flesh!
The fruits loaded on cars and our cloths worst smeared with sap we come home with broad toothy smiles! The fruit is yet to be cuddled and loved before it is ready for slurping! Each fruit is safely covered in rice bran for few more days. It is a kind of incubator for the mangoes to finish its process of ripening. You just have to sniff the huge mass of dry grass that smells of mangoes inside…
Then the experienced mango people can prod the incubator mass and declare if the mangoes are ready….Then is another surge of celebration! We cut mangoes; eat mangoes, drink mangoes, talk mangoes and dream mangoes!
Mangoes are sent to relatives, friends and neighbours. Mangoes are preserved into jams; mangoes are served to every guest that comes to our house! Every meal has mangoes cut or juiced.
We live the summers dipped in mangoes….their soft yellow orange beauty is inviting! And the sugary taste that makes you break every diet regime! For this one season my diabetic father too gives up his sugar free life!
But the old people say that the mango is reducing. The old trees have been cut to great extent. There was a time when these beauties were naturally growing along the dusty village roads. But these days you can see good mango only in farms if the owner has love for the fruit and will to tend to the trees.
A mango tree requires attention when it is young. I have seen my uncle water these plants in scathing hot afternoons, just like tending to own kids… It is their hard work that yields this sweet fruit today.
These days nobody has time to smear their hands in soil. Everybody wants to run to the mall and buy mangoes in discount rates….why plant a tree!
But many mango farmers also make great money by selling the fruit to the malls and exporting abroad. There is hard work involved no doubt. The fruit is like a god who grants every wish if you worship him the right way!
My grand parents don’t support selling the fruit. It is for their children! Old people are crazy but there is love and great experience…that has made them believe that it is only love that can yield a sweet fruit.