Monday, May 25, 2009

the omnipresent mango

this is the season of mangoes.whether you are in mumbai or kolkata or even titilagarh in orissa, the versatile mango appears to be omnipresent. the king of fruits is dominating the fruits markets with its handsome appearance,delectable aroma and warm feel. when i was in kolkata last month there was a full blown campaign on the new pepsico mango drink called 'slice' with their brand ambassador,the lovely katrina kaif making you drop everything and go for the mango drink.

how blessed we are that we get so many varieties of mangoes in our country. maharashtra,goa,bihar,gujerat,karnataka,madhyapradesh,kerala,orissa,tamilnadu, west bengal,andhra pradesh are all mango producing states.alphonso grown in maharashtra and goa of course is the king of kings.but then there are so many other varieties too which unfortunately get overshadowed by the mighty aapus.i just got a list made of thirty-five varieties of mangoes that we grow. i am sure that there are many more.

banglora,baiganpalli,dasahari,gulab khaas,jardaalu,roomani,samar bahisht,vanraaj,fazli,safeda
lucknow,neelam,imam pasand,malgoa,chousa,cherukuraasam,himayuddin,himsaagar,kishan
bhog,sukul,bathua,totapari,kesar sirki,aamrapaali,mallika.etc. frankly,i have lost count.they are
all different but great in wonder mango is so extensively used in chutney,papad,pickles,
daal,biryaani,icecream,kulfi etc.

of all the varieties above my favourites are alphonso,dasheri,imam pasand and beganpalli.interestingly,imam pasand comes from a very close relation's family stable.the tatachari's of cousin's father,a great horticulturist, had won a gold medal from the president of india in the early seventies for having developed such a tasty variety in his mango orchards at srirangam near trichy.thanks to them we used to get a regular quota of this delicious imam pasand.

the mutipurpose mango(all the parts of the tree are used for various health and medicinal requirements) is also used in pakistan by enemies when they want to make peace with each other.but then the mangoes have to be from your own farm if you are sending it to your enemy.only then the gesture gets accepted as a genuine attempt to break the ice.recently after the general election results were out,the pmk party which was routed were at the receiving end from their dmk brothers who squeezed mangoes and beat these mangoes with chappals to vent their anger at the pmk traitors who deserted them before the elections and joined the aiadmk. and in far off peru in latin america peasants refused to give up their mango farms even under intense pressure from powerful vested interests who wanted to mine for gold in the same for mangoes know no barriers.

the great poet kalidas,the urdu poet amir khusro and mirza ghalib have all heaped praise over the mango fruit in their compositions. mango finds a place in indian culture and history from time immmemorial. even in the aapastamba sutra,valmiki ramayana and tulsidas's ramcharitmaanas and mahabharata mango has received unequivocal praise.

there is an hindi saying that there are two things that can never be replaced.the mango of hindustan and the taj mahal.
"do woh cheejain hain,jinka nahin hain badal
hind ka aam aur tajmahal."


K said...

Uncle..I went to college in Trichy and Imampasand from Thathachariar Gardens are the best..Whenever we used to visit Srirangam from Thuvakudi..we made it a point to stop at Mambazhasalai and get a Imampasand

I personally think alphonso mangoes are overrated. Nothing can come near Imampasand :)



gs said...

hello kavya
you have a the economic times supplement of 22nd may foodie vikram doctor has written a full article titled 'summer surprise'in which he says that ip is the only mango that "comes close to threatening the superiority of alphonso."

Vivek said...

Some of the other little known varities from the thathachariar thoppu worth a try: khudadaad and padiri jilebi

gs said...

hello vivek
what a shame that i have not heard of these varieties! i didn't realise my cousins are so secular!

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