All about mangoes

These mangoes are distributed to friends and neighbours for free.

The vendor sold me three-and-a-half kilograms of the fruit for just Rs 100.  It was a throw away price and yet the fruits were as sweet as if I had brought them at a premium. I am not always this lucky. One time I was royally coned.  On my drive from Yercaud after a holiday in the early summer month of April, I stopped at Salem for refreshments. The fruit vendor in the vicinity, seeing that I was a passing tourist, made a windfall by combining his sales-skills and my weakness at impulsive buyin

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My boot was heavier by 5 kilograms and my wallet lighter by Rs 500.  Yet, I never felt a pang of remorse. In fact, I gloated on the awareness that the poor hawker made an extra buck from the trade of the king of fruits. For some inexplicable reason, the mango season, I believe does wonders to us, Indians, in bringing out the spirit of giving and sharing. If this sounds far-fetched I have some interesting tales to support my theory.

A shrewd businessman I know, notorious for his miserly ways, makes an exception every year when it comes to buying mangoes. Throughout the season, he indulges in some of the most expensive, export quality varieties at almost three times the prevailing price.  He prides himself in making that extra expenditure as long as he can get just those mangoes that look a wee bit rounder, a shade yellower and a tad more luscious than the ones currently available in the local market.

Another friend of mine, who is the proud owner of a farm house on the outskirts of the garden city, spends all year tending to her mini mango-orchard for the bumper harvest she makes in the summer.  “This is good side-business for you,” I commented one day as she gave me the details of her harvest. “What business are you talking about?  I do not make a single penny out of it.  Every one of these mangoes is distributed to friends, neighbours, orphanages and old-aged homes for free. I have a packet for you as well,” she answered with a touch of grace and the spirit of philanthropy resonated in her voice.
The mango season also comes in handy for the less subtle philanthropists, the humble homemakers, who take joy in using their hands to do something for the sheer pleasure that giving brings.  Mango pickles and preserves are done whole-sale not for trade but for distributing to friends, neighbours, relatives and well-wishers. It is not a wonder then that from formal trade to its delightful consumption these days of summer in India is truly all about mangoes!       

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