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Yellow Moods

Come summer and each one of us looks forward to the day when it will get over. To a little extent, I await the bright sunny days for one reason. It is the season of India's favourite fruit and this post is inspired by this article (aptly titled 'The Mango Fool') on the Sunday Express. This year, a few weeks back, when we were at our favourite juice shop in Mhow, I noticed the menu showing mango. I inquired eagerly despite the fact that we could not see any mangoes displayed and I was disappointed to hear him saying "the menu is a fixed one".

Mango is of course India's national fruit and the most popular by a big margin. One curious fact about it is that the etymology of the word reveals that its origin is the Tamil "maangaai". There are so many varieties of mango and the very word mango makes my mouth water. I have a fascination for raw mango that goes back to my school days in Thoothukudi when the mandatory nextdoor shop to our school stocked pieces of raw mango. I prefer eating it plain, rather than mix it with salt or masala, as is eaten in true Indian style. At home, we would await our Appa's shopping trip eagerly for the mangoes he gets for us. At lunch and supper, mangoes used to go well with the food.

I like the 'Kilimooku' variety better than the Malgoa. I also like to eat it without peeling the skin, after reading that fibres are good for health 😉 There were plenty of mango trees in our vicinity. Sadly they were all forbidden areas and kids liks us were not allowed to pluck them. Who cared? I can vouch for the statement 'stolen mangoes are the tastiest ones'. Talk about ethics. We used to jump into a particular house whose inmates would be sleeping in the afternoon and pluck those ripe and raw 'kilimooku' mangoes silently. The share would be done equitably and we would taste the mangoes as a bunch with borrowed salt and knives. Frooti was one early mango drink and what a hit it was. It is almost synonymous to the mango juice carton category. Maaza and Slice followed.

My schoolmates in Class 11/12 always teased me with "Masakkai" as I was the single largest consumer of raw mango pieces. We used to sit at the Keezhur railway station, observing the girls of the adjacent school, till the station master complained about us to our headmaster. In any case, there are hardly any trains that come to Thoothukudi. It was around that time when Sharon juice shop opened near the Thoothukudi Municipal office, very near to the 'Pazharasam (a Thoothukudi specialty) Paulraj' shop and our schoolmates were early patrons of the shop. The shop introduced a whole new range of shakes like the Sharjah shake (my friend here tells me it's the Kozhikode guys who invented all these shakes) and got us hooked. In spite of such shakes, nothing comes closer to home-made mango juice made by Amma's hands.

In Guindy, we had the Classic or some such name Mallu juice shop just next to the IIT which was our haunt for juices and omelettes late in the night.Why am I saying all this? In Indore last week, I discovered the mango shake when we were out on our survey. Now it is there in Mhow too. A few days back, I had the mango shrikhand, another North Indian dish – very very tasty and aam pak – a mix of mango and rabdi (the milk-based sweet). I cannot now think of anything except mango when I will reach Madras by this Monday. Mangoes for lunch, mangoes for dinner and mango shakes to quench my thirst this summer – I gonna have a great time. I will be double glad if you provide me new recipes that I can ask Abi to prepare.

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Categories: Food
  1. sk
    30 March 2006 at 7:46 am

    Ahh! I want to eat a mango now!!! :((
    Darn you for teasing my taste buds now!!

    Say hi to Abhi on my behalf and also to little Madhu.

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