Mango Season

I was slicing up the season's first mango a week ago and remembered I'd written this for a friend's blog years ago. It still holds true today:

Mango Season

When I was studying in Kollam, the Easter holidays were the ones we (who had no time to go home as the distances to be crossed were too much for the four days we got) would spend time under the mango trees. We would find stones, long sticks and bougainvillea stems long and strong enough to bring down even the most reluctant mango. It was an exercise in fun, an attempt to exorcise the loneliness each one of us felt.

The mango trees were so many on campus- there were three within our hostel periphery, a very benevolent one in the Chemical Engineering department's courtyard and of course, the parrot-nosed mangoes outside the Electrical Engineering department.

The latter was the most difficult to pluck from since the hawk nosed Head of the Electrical Engineering department used to regularly prowl around the tree and the corridor that ran next to it even on Easter Sunday.

The mangoes were raw and sour. They had to be. The ripe ones were inevitably infested with worms and pests. We couldn't possibly eat them, but Tashi, the enterprising Bhutanese would skin those too, chucking out the offending worm and sprinkling them with red chilli powder and salt before scarfing them down.

Simmy, a friend and room-mate would sigh and insist she wanted to be a worm in her next life so she could nestle in a mango. I am sure that if she does become a worm, she will be the worm with the widest smile.

We became sick after eating too many of the fruit. But the sickness would pass and we would be back under the trees, plucking the mangoes and storing them in plastic bags to ripen.

Now we have scattered into four corners of the country and abroad, it seems strange that this Easter, here in Powai Bangalore, there will be no  mango trees to stand under as Simmy the brave pulls down those mangoes and at the same time brushes off the red ants that have crawled up her legs.

I confess to never having loved that college much. Time and distance haven't made me more affectionate towards it, but there is a lot of love for the fruits that were eaten, the friends I made and the places I've walked with those friends.

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