Someone once told me “You could gift someone something expensive and they might not remember it after a few years, but if you gift someone a box of mangoes, they’d remember you for a lifetime”.
It’s April and it’s that time of the year again when the fruit markets start getting flooded with mangoes of all shapes, sizes and shades of green, orange and yellow. It’s also the time when harvesting at orchards across the Konkan region is in full flow. With the onset of peak summer, the entire region is under the magical spell of the intoxicating aroma of mangoes that hit you the moment you step into an orchard.
My earliest memories of visits to our orchards from December all the way through the month of May were of the transition in weather and the size and color of mangoes. From the flowering phase in December to the early glimpses of tiny seed like fruits in January, gradually increasing in size as the months progressed into summer. I even made up my own ‘Newton’s Law of Mangoes’ which stated that, ‘the size of mangoes is directly proportional to the rise in temperature’, and was pretty proud of it.
Back in the city, I’ve seen men heading back home, with the brightest of smiles despite a hard day’s work, that only possessing a few mangoes can bring. At home, the daily anticipation of checking on which raw mangoes in a box have turned ripe is an experience by itself. The act of taking a peek under the grass to check for a change in color and hoping to find a mango that is completely ripe and then triumphantly lifting it to get a whiff of the intoxicating sweet aroma is no less than joy of watching the best mystery’s unfold.
Though small, it’s one of the greatest joys in life, to hold up a ripe mango … the greatest of all fruits, one which can melt, the harshest of men.