Mangoes are one of the best delights of Indian summers. Fruit vendors’ stalls line up the dusted streets of North India, beckoning people, who live in concrete jungles, to make their daily purchases. After each meal, freshly washed mangoes are sliced and eaten with much fan fare over who got the best deal in terms of the fruit’s taste, texture and pulp. Sounds greasy to think like this, but it is actually quite an activity in most households. Discussions happen over these mangoes, regarding politics, society’s normative functions, the neighbour’s grandkids, the nuisance of trucks, the pile of waste getting accumulated and debates over who has to clean the kitchen for the night. Assuming these are the most obvious discussions in most homes, I am placing my write up on one of such incidents, which I believe also happen — heated conversations. Haven’t we all witnessed episodes of anger which erupt out of nowhere like uninvited house elves and stubbornly do not want to leave the dining table. Sometimes, they die a natural death, sometimes you need a distraction. And what better distraction than mangoes in summers?
I realised this over my summer stay at home this year, that no matter how sticky a situation, like arguments gone sour, or debates blown out of proportion; mangoes somehow manage to diffuse them. You get tired of talking, you run out of rebuttals, you forget the reason for the fight, sometimes, you even diminish the original debate to another unnecessary one, only to be saved by the announcement of mangoes as the dessert. These are so intricate in their existence, that they define an entire set of discussions, something that cannot run parallel with another one. For example — which one out of the pile is ready to be eaten, and which one’s not. Is the ‘langra’ or ‘chausa’ (both types of mangoes, amongst several others) in the market yet? Maybe this one is good enough for a mango shake for tomorrow morning, and above all, who gets the best lot?
I am fascinated by the interest these fruits can be bring to a table. They might not have answers to the day’s pathos, but they can make you feel better than bitter after a meal. Who has answers to life’s all problems anyway, might as well have a few mangoes.