It’s mango season and any Indian worth their salt knows it. Did you know there’s over a 1000 varieties grown in India alone ?And that my favourite variety happens to be the ‘alfonso’ or alternatively named ‘the king of mangoes’
Growing up in Bradford, as soon as the first shipments of the season landed in the shops, my Grandad would come running back with a box. It wouldn’t be any old randomly selected box it would be the right box. Each mango had undergone a close inspection, and any that were inferior were swapped with perfect ones from other boxes. They got smelt, and squeezed to test for ripeness. As soon as that box came through the door, we’d lift off the lid slowly and there they were, yellow orbs of juicey honeyed sunshine nestled in straw. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
We’d sit on the floor on newspaper, and squeeze and squash the pulp out of a little hole at the top. If you’ve not eaten a mango in that way, I can tell you it’s messy.
There’d be mess everywhere. Fruit in the hair, across faces, in eyes, down the stomach, the clothes, feet, all over the floor. And there’d usually have to be a whole bath afterwards.
So we just happened to be in the Asian quarter of Leicester a couple of weeks ago & mango season is in full swing. I found myself rifling through the boxes, and running through the exact same ritual as my Grandpa used to. Checking, smelling,squeezing, sorting. Perhaps its part of my genetic make up.
I got myself the right box.
As we drove out of Leicester later that day, I couldn’t help but notice how every single shop along the strip was cashing in on the mango madness. Whether you specialize in DIY, mobile phones, bridal gowns, foreign currency exchange or waxing, absolutely every shop door was stacked high with pallets of the things and hordes of people running through ‘the ritual’
We got home and I got the kids in the garden and opened the box. Like I said. There was mess everywhere.