When obsession bore fruit

When obsession bore fruit

I was blessed to have a doting grandfather. His over-indulgent fondness for me had endeared him to me so much that I would remain clung to him all day long after coming back from school.

They say over-indulgence spoils children. So yes, I was a spoilt child although I never behaved like an insufferable brat. Most times, I would just make small demands to buy me seasonal fruits which my grandfather would fulfill in no time.

Ours were not the days of Maggie, Lays any Kurkure. Therefore, in the absence of an assortment of edibles, I would only long to savour fruit delicacies. While my grandfather was quite prompt in fetching me any seasonal fruit I longed to taste, even he would be in a fix when I would demand the summer bounty of mangoes in the bone-quivering months of December and January. His line of reasoning, about the cycle of nature’s offerings, cut no ice with me and I would keep pestering him to procure the mangoes by any means.

Perhaps, mango-based beverages like Maaza and Frooti, too, had not registered their presence during my childhood days. So my perennial mango obsession would raise the heckles of my grandfather.

One summer morning, grandpa came home with a sackful of unripe mangoes. The very sight of green mangoes held my fancy. But while sucking the pulp, I found the fruit too sour to be eaten. Though grandfather instantly stopped me from nibbling on the fruit, just that one helping was enough to make me fall ill with severe sore throat the next morning.

I learnt later that my farsighted grandfather had brought the unripe mangoes with a different plan in mind. When I enquired about his latent design, he informed me that he wanted to make ‘aam ki chutney’ with these mangoes. The best part of the plan was that I would be able to savour mangoes even during the off season.

Very meticulously he peeled off the skin of every piece of mango and mashed the pulp. A number of spices were thereon mixed with the pulp to lend them a distinctive taste. After a hard day’s labour, our jarful of chutney was ready to satiate my mango cravings.

The chutney became a regular accompaniment to my three meals of the day. Not only this, while gambolling here and there, I would randomly gulp down a spoon or so. But by the time mangoes went off the menu in the winter months, I had fully exhausted the carefully preserved stock of mango chutney.

My loving grandpa’s idea of making me savour the pungent mango flavour during winters really did not last long. The next winter, he had to deal with my mango woes again in a similar manner.