So, after exhibiting the wrath for three months, deity Sun is finally showing some signs of cooling down. Summer this year is said to have broken heat records of the century. It went beyond unbearable 47 degree Celsius in central India, surpassing the average of 38 – 40 degree Celsius. But the weather is expected to turn soon and climatologists believe that the showers of monsoon will greet us before long. Fingers crossed!
Quite everyone longs the departure of summer. Whether animal or human, rich or poor, all awaits the petrichor with bated breath. When the first drizzle of monsoon greets the thirsty earth, the fragrance which accompanies puts you off the scent of all the expensive perfumes you have collected in your wardrobe. The arrival of the monsoon brings an inexplicable joy along. Doesn’t it?
But to some, this parting summer is not that euphoric. The reason behind this might sound as silly as a goose, but is indisputable. That’s because the end of summer is marked by the stoppage of Mango season! (Sobbing)
Mangoes, yes mangoes. It is indeed the first love of every little kid (apart from the mother and that super cute primary school teacher of course). Actually, not just kids, quite everyone has a crush over Mangoes. It stands proudly crowned as “the King of the fruits” and there is all the more reason for it. It is actually the most consumed fruit all over the world. And do you know a really amazing fact? Mango was discovered in India, and its cultivation started around five thousand years back (i.e, with the beginning of civilization!), and also, we are the largest producer in the world. But our share in terms of Mango exports accounts only by one percent, that’s because we consume most of the production ourselves. In other words, we don’t share our Mangoes! (Did you hear that mom? I’m not selfish with Mangoes; instead, I’m holding our national dignity high) This concludes our love for the fruit.
How many of you have heard of Mirza Asadullah Baig khan? Yes, I am talking about the same renowned Urdu poet – Mirza Ghalib, whose sadistic compositions are well-versed to every heartbroken lover and roadside Romeo. Well, he wasn’t passionate only about rhymes, but also had a well-deserved reputation as a mango-lover extraordinaire. Did you know he proclaimed himself as mango-connoisseur?
His obsession for the fruit can be learned by following episode, which was recorded by one of his student and biographer, Altaf Hussain Hali: Once Ghalib’s friend and fellow poet, who did not share his passion for the fruit, watched a donkey approach a heap of mango skins, turn up its nose and walk away. “See, even donkeys don’t eat mangoes”, he remarked. To which Ghalib retorted, “Of course it’s only donkeys’ that don’t eat mangoes.”
Not only that; if you look back to history, many tales & poesies have been composed singing praises of the fruit. From the Sufi poet Amir Khusro’s Fakar-e-Gulshan to Rabindranath Tagore’s Aamer Manjari, the fame of this fruit conveys the impression of adoration ever since it was discovered. And this glory didn’t just disagree to fade away but harmonized with time. Every year, our government and associate bodies hold a two-day International Mango Festival in New Delhi showcasing over five hundred varieties of Mangoes cultivated in our country. Can you believe that – the ilk has 500+ variations in just India?! That candidly means even if you try savouring each type every single day, it’s still going to take around a year and a half to taste all of them! But has anyone tried them all? Personally, till date, I would have tasted not more than 12 kinds. Out of them, I relish Badami, Kesar and Desi-chasua most.
Summers are supposed to be the period of the year when one loses weight easily. I, however, gained it because the Mangoes came along. Apart from the joy of devouring juicy plain-mangoes, my self-proclaimed Masterchef mother knows over a dozen of appetizing recipes that didn’t just add to its savoury; but also amplify my intemperance. Tell me if you get tangy chutney of freshly plucked raw-mangoes, wouldn’t you yearn to chow down few more bites? Even if you are full, how can one say no to mango clad delicious desserts? And what about those yummy mango-shakes, mango-lassi, and aam-ras which always tastes like more? Won’t you be voracious?
But it’s about the time when we should bid farewell to the Mangoes, with a hope to savour this lusciously soothing drupe again, next year. So before I end this eulogy; dear aam aadmi, let’s entice & take my advice – keep calm & eat aam before the season bids you a parting salaam…
Ps: I never appreciate, nor encourage packaged drinks which hold “har mausam aam” pseudonymity. Even though they can taste alike, the joy of eating real fruit can never be replicated.