I'd much prefer them to appear later. There is a time and place for everything.
Memories associated with the fruit have stayed - as a kid when the fruit would be bought, not in crates off a store, but when the lady from Surat descended with a huge basket. I still remember her dimpled smile and the peculiar Gujarati lingo she spoke in. She would sit in the living room on the floor, wipe her sweaty face with the end of her saree and force us to buy dozens of the fruit.
She would smartly place the large luscious ones at the top and then challenge us to cut open and see how sweet they were. After the mandatory haggling, she would leave. This charade went on for years.
Everyday, the quota would be put in a big vessel of cold water as there would not be enough room in the fridge. Of course, Mumbai snobbery has always maintained that alphonso mangoes are the best.
They would be cut into slices. For some reason, I would want the gutli (seed), and due to the messiness involved with its eatingI would end up with quite a few from other plates.
It is still the first thing I eat. There is something fascinating as one bites into soft flesh and touches the hard seed inside; then, the sides are polished off and finally you see the bare bones with orange 'threads' sticking out.
No doubt the colour and the fragrance of mangoes is a visual delight, but for one who is more a chikkoo and fig person it is the seed that enamours.
Remember that saying, "Aam khaaney se matlab, gutli se kya lena"?
For me the seed is the key. It is what produces more of the fruit after that one fruit or hundreds of them are eaten and disappear from the face of the earth.
It is good to cherish what we get, but even more important it is to value what we have and to take it further.
Another old saying talks about how no one throws stones at barren trees. It has got to be laden with fruit for it to be enticing and interesting enough for anyone to trouble themselves with pelting it. The irony is that what they bring down is what they wish to partake of, for only fools would merely hurl stones.
The fruit may end up muddied, it will be sliced, it will add to someone's table...but its seed will only result in growth.
Besides, who can tamper with roots?
- - -
"himmat buland hai apni
patthar si jaan rakhte hain
qadmon tale zameen to kya
hum aasmaan rakhte hain
girate huon ko uthaane ke liye
tu ji ai dil, zamaane ke liye
apne liye jiye to kya jiye"
This post appeared two years ago...