Mirza Ghalib’s views on those who do not relish mangoes are so well known that there is not much to be gained from reproducing them here, except perhaps the annoyance of that miniscule minority that is not afflicted by Mango Mania. Suffice it to say that come summer, most of us are compelled by a strong urge to dig into basket loads of the delicacy at every possible opportunity. This universal craze for the king of fruits has translated into a variety of incidents that I have been witness to over the years.
My mother would regale family and friends with tales of how I as a toddler who could barely walk often used to be found under the dining table having finished off an entire Dusshehri with the ‘guthli’ quite miraculously still inside the peel. Not much has changed today, and I still love Dusshehris, but I’m even crazier about Chausas and I simply go mad when I spot a Langra, especially if it is just the right colour.
Having thus devoured thousands of mangoes over the years I have always professed myself to be a blue-blooded expert on the subject. It is not often that I can be outsmarted when it comes to recognizing the correct breed or selecting just the right piece from the fruit seller’s pile. Perhaps part of my training came from hearing endless debates between my late parents on their favourite variety. My mother was always a Langra fan but my father always insisted that the Dusshehri was not at all an ‘aam’ it was ‘khaas’! My father also used to speak of the time when as a University student he and his friends would consume five kilos of mangoes, each!
Then there are those who have no idea about the intricacies of the subject and simply concentrate on polishing off as many pieces as possible as soon as they are unveiled. My wife is one of them. She used to insist before we got married, that the best mangoes are the little ones which have no name but which simply are termed as “Chupne Vaale Aam’. Once she became a part of our family her general awareness on the subject increased rapidly and today she is almost as clued up about these divine delights as I am.
Some mango lovers complain that the fruit makes them put on weight, that it soils their clothes and that it causes pimples and stomach upsets and thus they end up actually denying themselves. Others simply swoop upon pile after pile during the season and worry about cosmetic matters and fitness issues after it is over. Somehow a carefree attitude becomes a true mango fan. What after all is the point of living a life if it is to be lived sans mangoes?