Every year as the rains arrive the wonderful season of Mangoes begins to fade away. As of now with just two rains in the last few days Mangoes are still available in plenty. But in another ten days we would be missing our national fruit known all over the world as the King of fruits and the food of Gods. Few weeks later if the desire to taste Mangoes arises we will have to satisfy our selves with off-the-shelf Mango juices, Mango Jelly and Mango bite peppermints.
This Mango season has been good, contrary to the forecast that the availability of the fruits in local markets would be less due to low yield and boost in exports. All along the city’s outer roads and colonies Banaganapalli (Baneshan) Mangoes are being sold in huge quantities, on Pushcarts and Tempos, as usual. In competition to the larger roadside fruit stalls selling a variety of Mangoes the departmental stores specially SPAR near Somajiguda Cross roads is continuously displaying many varieties of Mangoes since the commencement of Mango season. Only the prices are higher; than last year.
Our family favourite is Himayath Mangoes though we taste many varieties every season. This variety is to be cut and eaten and tastes much better if chilled. So is the case with the more popular Banganapalli which is cheaper by half compared to Himayath. Both these varieties of fruits are of normally large size, weighing 3 to 5 fruits per Kg. Banaganapalli is mostly yellow in color and Himayath is dark yellow with tiny dark dots all over the fruit. Alphonso is just like Banaganapalli in shape and colour but is a smaller fruit. The price of Alphonso and Himayath are same. According to me Himayath tastes better than Alphonso and Banaganapalli. For juice we buy a variety of fruits the common one being Pedda Rasalu. Pedda Rasalu is a big long Mango with a thin skin. Good to hold the fruit and suck the juice and good for making Panakam - juice of several fruits collected and sugar and a pinch of cardamom powder added as essence.
For almost 30 years in 50’s 60’s and 70’s we did not have to buy Mangoes. There were 5 Mango trees in our house and we had a 5-acre Mango grove with 116 Mango trees, about 5 Kms. from Kothagudem along the road to Paloncha. Every season as the trees begin to flower, the garden used to be handed over to a fruit contractor to take care of the garden and collect the fruits. As per the agreement he will have to pay us an amount for the yield and he has to give us two Bullock-cart loads of all varieties of Mangoes from our garden.
Every Mango season is not complete without having some traditional ways of having the fruit, Puri with Panakam and Dosas with Panakam. We will be truly missing Mangoes in the days to come.