It’s mango season! Mother Nature’s favorite child has arrived, and it’s time to celebrate.
Rich, deep yellow skins glint under the loving sun, ripened to perfection under its indulgent watch. They sit in carefully formed heaps, releasing their distinctive sweet aroma to draw men, women, children alike. The urge to pick them up is irresistible, and the mango lets itself be fondled lovingly, taken to the nose for a surreptitious sniff, which is actually a soul-shuddering inhale of its essence.
The mango overtakes one’s senses, leaving space for nothing else. It is jealous that way, demanding all attention on itself. As if indulging a child, fruit carts won’t carry any other fruits, loading themselves with bountiful piles of different types of mangoes. Hosts don’t offer anything else but Aam panna, a cooling drink made from spiced, stewed mangoes. Dessert is, what else, fresh mangoes; often, the main course too, consisting of mango pulp, laced with fine nutmeg, and chapatis. Everyone is in the grip of mango fever, thinking of nothing else, desirous of only more. Belly sated, eyelids become heavy, and a sweet, incomparable stupor descends to embrace all.
A mango isn’t just a mango in India. It’s a fruit that transcends its fruitness. It is royalty, commanding a season all unto itself, spreading divine, ambrosial joy among the people it brings together.