Yesterday while coming for work, I saw a mango tree with the fruits on it, for the first time in this season.(In the north the season hasn’t arrived yet but here one can see the mangoes already).
That brought back a lot of memories of yesteryears mango seasons.
Though mango is liked universally but the charm for the king of fruits can be seen in its most vibrant form in the northern states of India.
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, there is a place called Malihabaad ( the famous poet Josh Malihabaadi’s city), which is partcularly famous for its mangoes.
During the mango season, there are mango parties in the orchards of Malihabad.
People simply enjoy eating it without observing any proprieties of a party, eating it in whichever way they want.Some people are careful in eating it by getting it cut properly and eating it with cutlery so as not to get their hands and clothes messy and there are others who simply enjoy it as the first person who would have tasted the mangoes, on this earth 🙂 which is the best way to eat it according to me :-).
In the days that I used to get a summer vacation, (sigh…..Those were the days), many a times we would pack and leave off for my granny’s place which was in a village.
My grandfather and uncles owned mango orchards. So every evening they would bring freshly plucked mangoes from the orchards and they were washed and soaked in water.
Then from morning we would start with the mango party.
We loved to have it in all possible forms :
Raw mangoes were used to make drinks called Jaljira or pana and were also pickled.
Ripe ones were eaten either like that or their juice was squeezed out to be had with chapati or the juice/pulp was dried in the sun to be eaten later, after the season was over.
There was this tradition of sending some of the produce to the in-laws of the married daughters ( even if the daughters were not living with the in-laws, due to the son in law working somewhere else )!!
We used to return home with as many cartons of mangoes, jars of mango pickles,and other mango goodies made by granny, as we could carry with us, to be eaten later !!!
Sometimes when we were not able to visit them , then some uncle or the other would come to our homes with the mangoes , so that we didn’t miss out on that year’s crop!!!!
Then slowly the things changed and everyone got busy in their works,and our visits reduced and finally stopped altogether ( i.e.the leisurely visits).
Now looking back, I feel like going back to the village to enjoy the leisure of the old days but alas!!!
Now I am in a place where I can’t get the mango varieties that I used to get in the North and so I have lost all charm for the ripe mangoes, but the raw ones are still a pleasure :-).Old habits die hard !!
Before I end, I’d like to share a piece of trivia.
Mirza Galib, the renowned Urdu poet is famed to be a big admirer of mangoes.
Once while he was enjoying the mangoes, some rais came and upon seeing the messy spectacle ( Galib was eating it naturally with his hands and mouth covered with the mango juice) commented,”Aaam to gadhe bhi nahin khaate”( Even the donkeys don’t eat mangoes).
Pat came the reply from Galib, “Jo gadhe hain wahi nahin khaate” ( Only those who are donkeys, do not eat mangoes)!!!