Thursday, 4 June 2009


I recently read that instead of moaning about the heat of summer, we should watch out for its delights and pleasures.
Though one may question this apparent oxymoron, when we look around there certainly are pleasing sights. The shade giving trees on the streets of Chennai are blooming, and are a visual treat.
The golden acacia has bloomed and now its brown pods stand silhouetted against the sky. And countless other trees, like the laburnum, with mauve and lavender flowers have bloomed and subsided. The Mayflower, or the flame of the forest, (gul mohur), true to its name sent out its first buds in May.

But mangoes are the taste of summer.

We have a few trees in our compound, all of which grew from the seeds thrown out after the children ate the juicy flesh. Each tree bears a different type of mango, and over the years we have learnt to distinguish their tastes and their varying uses. One of the trees, the oldest, has fruits which are not at all sour when green, and so can be eaten like a salad vegetable. We thought the fruit may not taste very sweet when ripe. But it turned out to be as sweet as it is pretty with its rosy tinge as it ripened.

The parrots love them, and get to them before we do. The appearance of this fruit is really a visual pleasure - a text book pictorial representation of a mango.

This is one of the oldest. Another old tree bears fruit that is dreadfully sour when green, and so is used for pickling, as it is not at all tasty when it ripens.

A latecomer tree was a surprise. Its green fruit is very sour, but turned out to be very delicious when ripened. Folks in the know say that the more sour it is when it is green, the sweeter it is when it is ripe. We plucked the mangoes and ripened them, and shared them with friends. They don’t look as big or attractive as the big ones in the market, but were definitely as tasty and sweet.

The mango season is almost over, but one tree is confused, pushing forth new blooms , even while there are biggish mangoes on its branches. This is the tree, whose branch collapsed and down it fell with a whole lot of unripe mangoes, unfortunately too young to be ripened. Surely it was not due to the weight of the young mangoes! We salvaged what we could and distributed them.

The ripening fruits on the trees are pounced on by the squirrels and birds alike, and knock them down. Some of them fall on our neighbour’s asbestos sheet covered shed, with big plonks. We have now got used to this thwack/squelch sound. Our neighpour’s tree, in return, sheds its fruit into our compound, but without any sound effects. Unfortunately the fruits crack when they fall, and cannot really be used.

The markets are flooded by ripe mangoes. I saw them being transported on our busy road on a bullock cart, and and a fish cart.

I loved the woman hitching a ride while her husband called out!


Devika Jyothi said...

Oh, mangoes....i love those orange shaded ones we get in south :)

lovely pictures of trees...and i LOVE that last photo, too :)

and here I see women labourers sitting in carts pulled by men....and they cooly sit and smoke! the first time I saw it I couldn't help myself but laugh :)


Rinkly Rimes said...

I have only just taken the trouble to read a bit about Chennai! I had no idea it was formerly Madras!!!! I must apologise to Kit, who writes so regularly!

Unknown said...

Those mangoes look delicious Raji, you should send some to Bangalore as well...Just joking.

Dinakar KR said...

Amazing. We too had one tree that grew out of a seed thrown into the yard more than 50 years ago. The fruits were very delicious and non-fibrous thus making a good pickle and when ripe, was very juicy and tasty. Situations saw that we moved out of this house last year and the neighbours observe that this beloved tree had no flowering at all! Can they 'feel' our absence?

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Lovely pictures of the trees and mango. We get ones from Thailand here in Singapore and they are quite good too. However, the ones back home are sweeter and juicier for sure!The variety one gets in India, I am sure, one cannot get anywhere else.

Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Raji

How about sending a parcel of delicious mangoes to Coimbatore? Or maybe I shall pick up a few when we meet in Chennai later this month ie.if the mangoes last that long !

Meera's World said...

wow,the pictures are mouth is one fruit i can never ever get tired of eating.the last picture is funny:),and so is the comment by devika about seeing such a scene for the first time:)
right now my son is in chennai enjoying vacation with his cousins. we will be going tomorrow to pick him up.

Rajesh said...

I too love mangoes. For some reason here they are not abundant this year. The snaps of trees blooming with flowers are excellent.

Prema said...

Enjoyed reading your blog...and your mother's. Marvel at the energy and discipline both of you muster up...Prema

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Raji:)


Summer season is always associated with fruits like mangoes, water melon, jack fruit etc. Of course, mangoes are the best.

While you are having summer, here in Kerala rains have started lashing and roads are getting flooded. We have many varieties of mangoes in the market which comes not only from Kerala but other states as well.

Good you don't have to depend on any one for mangoes. Lucky you have enough and more to distribute to your neighbors.

The photo of the lady traveling the cart was very interesting.

Have a nice day Raji:)

kallu said...

Sweet post!

delhidreams said...

"acchi sangat baithkar, sangi badle roop//jaise milkar aam se, meethi ho gayi dhoop"

in good company, how one is changed//like on meeting the mango, sunlight turned sweet"

Suchitra said...

Lovely post ! and the pics are absolutely mouth watering :)

Indrani said...

Time is flying fast, the mango season too is getting over. Lovely shots, Raji, particularly the last one. Such an open display of affection by the husband for his wife.

Kat said...

In a half filled glass, you've chosen to look at the part that's half full.

Cool blog for a hot summer.

delhidreams said...

that 'doha' was by nida fazli, renowned hindi-urdu poet. you'll definitely love his works.

Anonymous said...

interesting photos

Mangos shine in pair too!

Two Mango vendors

The first, single man with large load of mangos drawn by a healthy Bull enjoying the ride.

The second, hitched man struggling to push the cart with small load of mangoes and a Women equal in weight
enjoying the ride.

The things you do for Lady Love!

Antigonum Cajan said...

People moaning about heat, in the tropics or tropical heat, also moan
about the cold in template climates.

I find it irritating. Get your mind
ready to deal with it, dress adequately, and avoid the common place subject while chit chatting.

In New England, it was a constant, as
if ones views, comments would make
the living easier....
In my humble opinion.

Antigonum Cajan said...

On the mango scene, what can I say?
IN the south of Puerto Rico there are couple of companies with huge
orchards to export.
In Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, agronomists are always experimenting
to find the best species. Some of the scientists working in such projects come from your country.

At 57 I have rediscovered the pleasure of the fragrance, texture and colors of that fruit growing
everywhere in our American tropics,
thanks to India.

Maddy said...

that cartwallah and his wife was a classic/..

just returned after purchasing two boxes of mangaa's..only they are Mexican origin kilimookans . Indian kesar is $2.50 each = Rs 120 each


Devika, thanks for the nice comment.
Rinkly Rimes - hope you like Chennai that is Madras.
T and S - mangoes are .....mangoes.
Dinakar KR - Trees and plants have feelings, I feel.
Capt. Anup Murthy - I have to agree with you. The mangoes in India taste sweeter.
R. Ramakrishnan - you got it.
Meera'sworld, Rajesh, Joseph, Suchitra - mangoes are, as I said, mangoes.
Kallu - :)
adee - such a sweet couplet
Thanks, Indrani, Kat and Anonymous.
Antigonum Cajan, thanks for stopping by , and the comments.
Maddy - do they taste as sweet as the Indian ones?

Maddy said...

most definitely not!!!

Unknown said...

Talking about the HEAT of summer across India - if you did not have this kind of summer, you would not get to enjoy such lovely mangoes. The arid heat of Betamcherla or Cuddapah, the sultry heat of Assam. Enjoy your blessings. Be happy.

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