War over best Indian mango is a no-contest

Different types of mangoes have diehard votaries from different parts of the country.
Foremost among the boons of summer is that it is the season for mangoes.(HT File)
Foremost among the boons of summer is that it is the season for mangoes.(HT File)
Updated on May 11, 2018 09:57 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByAyaz Memon

We may sweat, groan, curse about the weather, but the sweltering summer has undeniable attractions too. The colours of India in this season are always glorious: flaming red, yellow, orange flowers on trees and fruits of many hues in your fridge, apart of course from people wearing bright clothes!

And the hotter it gets, nature provides more than adequate reprieves like rich red watermelons and golden sugarcane, which help make splendid coolants that help cope with the heat and humidity hammering down on us as we wait for the dazzling monsoon to arrive.

All very romantic and it’s not restricted to just nature. Even newspapers usually drop their normal doom and gloom at this time of the year to do photo features on flowering trees of Mumbai. Or at least they used to till not long back. But how the media’s changed is a story for another day.

However foremost among the boons of summer is that it is the season for mangoes. Though this has admittedly not been a particularly gratifying summer for me as yet, what joy it usually brings!

My supply of mangoes generally comes from Murud Janjira and Ratnagiri, which had unseasonal rain a couple of months back. This unfortunately destroyed the produce of several orchards or has had them delayed, with hugely reduced produce.

Of course, if you are a dyed in the wool Mumbaiite then you own mango wadis or you know people who won mango wadis in Raigad District and petis of mangoes get sent to you while others are still crying and craving!

I am not easily seduced into buying mangoes from the city’s markets essentially for lack of faith in how they’ve been ripened. Earlier, just eating a mango – any mango – was a treat.

Now the taste buds are more discerning, as also the understanding of quality. In my younger days, we would buy mangoes from Crawford Market, mother smelling each piece to determine which was good or not. It’s a knack that I’ve found impossible to understand, forget learn, but it seemed to work every time where quality of fruit was concerned.

In those days (late 1960s and 1970s) mangoes cost less than a rupee each. Nowadays, they can cost 300 a piece when supply is plentiful in the city. And that too is no guarantee for quality.

Given the high demand in metros, surreptitious methods are used to season mangoes artificially using calcium carbide to hasten the process, or by artificial colouring of the skin.

Both are to defraud the buyer, sadly, but few people can know the difference whether the fruit is bought at Crawford Market, at Breach Candy opposite the hospital, in the posh areas of Bandra, or wherever else in the city.

My Man Friday, who seems to know everything about everything, was chief advisor in us purchasing mangoes, regularly rejecting the `powderwala’ mangoes till one day he said why waste time and money when you know people who actually grow the fruit, even if it is expensive. That has more or less settled it for me since. Yet one major issue remains. The battle over the best Indian mango. This is renewed every year as the heat kicks in, and consumes all lovers of the fruit. It’s all in fun, but can also get also deadly serious.

Different types of mangoes have diehard votaries from different parts of the country. The chaunsa from Himachal, badami from Karnataka, langda and dasehri from Uttar Pradesh, hapoos from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra – to name a few – feature prominently when merits of mangoes are discussed.This debate can happen in drawing rooms or conference halls and can often be bitter.

Last year I remember a twitter war over mangoes that raged for days, till a truce was called with every diehard refusing to budge from his/her preference.

For any proud Mumbaiite, however, the public declaration has to be for the majestic, golden “hapoos” also popularly known as Alphonso. If the mango is the king of fruits, the “hapoos” is king of mangoes.Not everybody will agree. But even if one’s refrigerator may be full of Banganpalli or Badami – because hapoos is so deliciously unaffordable – the fight must go on!

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Till date, around 212 pillars have been carved at Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Karyashala (workshop) in Ayodhya. The VHP is operating this workshop since the Ram Mandir movement began in the late 1990s. (File Photo of construction site)

    Pillars carved in Ayodhya to be used first in Ram temple construction

    LUCKNOW Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust will first use carved pillars and stone slabs from the VHP's workshop in Ayodhya for the construction of the main structure of Ram temple in the first phase starting from June 1. The temple construction committee said that June 1 is an auspicious date according to the Hindu religious calendar. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had relocated Ram Lalla from the tent in Ram Janmabhoomi to the makeshift temple on March 25, 2020.

  • Ajay Kothiyal joins the BJP in the presence of CM Pushkar Singh Dhami in Dehradun on Tuesday. (ANI Twitter)

    Ajay Kothiyal, AAP's Uttarakhand CM candidate, joins BJP in Dehradun 

    The Aam Aadmi Party's chief ministerial candidate for the recently concluded Assembly election in Uttarakhand, retired colonel Ajay Kothiyal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of CM Pushkar Singh Dhami in Dehradun. Kothiyal had resigned from the Arvind Kejriwal-led party last week. In March this year, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party returned to power in Uttarakhand as it bagged 47 seats, 11 more than the required majority in the 70-seat assembly.

  • HT Image

    Haryana municipal polls on June 19

    Election to the state's 28 municipal committees and 18 municipal councils will be held on June 19 and the results will be declared on June 22, Haryana's State Election Commissioner Dhanpat Singh announced on Monday. Candidates can withdraw their candidature until June 7 from 11am to 3pm. Election symbols will be allotted to the candidates on the same day.

  • HT Image

    Gurugram cops implement new plan to tackle traffic amid heavy rain

    The traffic police on Monday devised a new plan to manage congestion across the city during the monsoon and to ensure timely action by deploying teams at all key points with motors to pump out water before commuters could get stuck, unlike previous years when they would reach these spots after receiving reports of congestion. Police said that on Monday they had to remove accumulated water from major traffic intersections to allow commuters to pass.

  • HT Image

    Gurugram receives 73.4mm rainfall in 24 hours, breaks 25-year-old record

    Heavy showers, accompanied by hail storms and strong winds, brought much-needed relief to the residents of Gurugram from sweltering heat and hot winds on Monday morning, with the city recording its highest rainfall at 73.4mm in the month of May in the past 25 years. Gurugram on Monday (around 5 30pm) recorded a maximum temperature of 39.3C and a minimum of 16.5C — around five and eight degrees below normal, respectively.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 24, 2022