Mango, the ‘king of fruits’ has always ruled our hearts. The love for mango is as old as the fruit itself. During summers, every Indian household keeps a basket full of mangoes. No other summer fruit can match the taste and aroma of mangoes. Families bond over juicy slices of this often eaten as a 'dessert' fruit. Identifying ripe and juicy mangoes and their several varieties is an art.
As a kid I loved the fruit so much that my mother had to hide them from me. Born in a village, I was raised in a town in my maternal uncle's home. Summer holidays were incomplete without a trip to my hometown and mango orchards with my cousin.
Recipes from my mother's kitchen of 'aam panna', 'aam ka achaar', and mango milkshake were like family tradition. For a mango lover like me, it literally hurts when the season comes to an end.
My father introduced me to the combination of mango and chapati. If you haven't tried this yet, you're missing out on the best fusion in the world, at least in my opinion. For me, mango milkshake with paranthas is the 'breakfast of the champions'.
Momita Banerjee, a close friend once told me, “Collecting storm-felled fruit beneath the giant and sprawling mango tree which stood beside the monsoon river in my father’s ancestral village in Shantiniketan in West Bengal is a trailer of my ‘mango memory’.”
Another mango lover like me, Richa Sharma, said “Mangoes have always been a matter of excitement in summers. They made, and still make, the summers bearable. My cousins and I would be at our ‘nani ka ghar’ during summer vacations and choose mangoes for ourselves. One would pick the biggest in size and the other would pick the one with a yellow hue thinking that it’s going to be sweet as honey. My grandmother would make aam panna, aam khatai and aam ka achaar, something we always eagerly waited for.”
Avinash Pandey, another friend, said, “Who doesn't love mangoes? I was raised in a place where mangoes are grown in abundance. Every other village has 'aam ke bagaan'. Most of my childhood was spent in these bagaans."
He added, “My friends, cousins and I would fill our buckets with mangoes and eat them all in one go. Back then, I ate one mango with every meal. This feast
continued till the end of the season.”
With that said, I'm going to eat a bowl full of mangoes while you read these experiences with a nostalgic hit.