Summer's tangy mangoes

What happened to the summer holidays? They have changed.

Eyeing up the mango tree that spread its shoots over the garden, we all wondered how to pluck the green mangoes. One among us would hold the stem of the tree for the climber, while others would help in making a safe landing. And when the plucking would begin, we would all circle around the tree, chins up, mouths wide open, and our hands waiting to feel the first mango of the season.

We would return home with a handful of mangoes and put them all on grandma’s kitchen slab — to us, it was the ceremonial beginning of the holidays. Grandma would slice the mangoes with her chopper and then sprinkle salt and red chilli powder on them. Tangy mango munchies were ready to be savoured.

But, forget about climbing mango trees, most children today don’t even want to step out of their cozy playstations. Then there is the summer camp fad. It’s certainly a great learning platform for kids, but they are not holidays. If you’re a working parent then yes, getting you children admitted to a summer camp is the best option. May be this is fun too, but it does not come close to knocking at your grandma’s door as soon as your exams are over.

What happened to the summer holidays that we experienced? They changed, because we changed. We cut all the mango trees. We stopped taking our kids to their grandma’s place. Instead, we switched to watching TV, buying expensive video games, and making travel plans overseas.

Here are some of the lessons that i learnt from my grandma: Want a mango? Prepare a team and motivate each other constantly to climb the tree. However small and simple your games, play like it’s the Wimbledon. Learn to live independently without your parents. In their absence, learn to value and respect them even more. Once in a while, enjoy the pleasure of eating together, despite the hunger pangs. And most importantly, learn to play and be happy with whatever you have.

Not all the grandmas will bring the green mango slices to the dining table. But if you need those tangy mango munchies, I would like you to answer this — have you climbed the mango tree yet?

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