Its customary in this part of the world to bring along a bag of fruits when you are visiting someone. The contents of the bag determine the relationship one shares with the household and also the months of the year.
'Rasthali' a banana variety is an all year around 'aabhatbhandhavan' (A Bay watch kind of life saver). Green seedless grapes and apples make a brief winter consultant like stop over. But the king of the fruits arrive during the 2 month period of May and June and boy do they arrive in style !!!
My nephew stood around the table eyeing the yellow Banganapalli's in delight. A gift from chitappa when he came down for his weekly visit. Amma removed them from the table.
" Still a little time before they ripen".And in they went to hibernate in the confines of the Rice drum.
Mangoes or Mangifera indica are classified into varieties based on their features , benefits and target segment catered to.
At the top of the pyramid rule the Alphonsoes from the konkan belt, then come the salem Malguavas, Banganapalli - catering to the great Indian Middle class, Kilimuku, Nilambari .. The list would warrant a Maeneka Gandhi writing on - 'A book of Mango names'.
Mango preparations range from juices and jams to spicy gravies and rasams. Every cook worth his salt will elucidate his prowess in dishing out Mango delicacies on Sunday channels and papers. But the true taste of a mango lies in its true form, with the skin.
It was a little before 2:00 pm in the afternoon , when after quality inspection the fruits were declared ripe enough to be savoured. Once cut into 3 portions , kids scrambled for the 'Kottai' or the portion with the seed. 'Kadhuppu' was left for the more civilised elders.
It was still early May, the variety was still a little sour , and a little sweet. My nephew ran around with the kottai dripping and an old tamil rhyme.
'Mambhayam ma Mabhayam, Sale(m) thu Mambhayam
Thitthikkum mambhayam.... '