09 May 2008

bathing in mango juice.

not yet. but they promised me it will soon be true. a few notes on the mango reality:

the word mango comes like from the malayam manga from the tamil 'mangay'. in north indian it is known from some derivation of the sanskrit 'am', curiously similar to the primeval 'ma' of mother. the mango is indeed deeply embedded in our consciousness.

there are 40 species in the mangifera genus besides our favorite mangifera indica. they grow wild in the jungles of assam, through bangladesh and burma, and into malaysia and indochina. some of the fruits are edible, some are not. none is the king of fruits. that is for the mango alone.

yesterday morning i woke up and did my daily walk of the 6 acres of mango trees. there are perhaps three or four hundred trees, some branded varities (grafted) and some from seed (desi, or native varieties). mangos cross pollinate so if you wanted a fruit like the father, you have to do a graft. so all these alfonso and kesar and whatnot mangos you get in the market (after they have been chemically insta-ripened for your tasting enjoyment) are actually from the same genetic stock. with all the weakness that implies.

after picking up the fallen green mangos and nosing around for any ripe mangos or half-eaten fruits (which indicate the tree is ready for the picking; the birds and monkeys always know before we do), i walked a little with Karunaji (the mother of the family, her name, Karuna, means compassion) to pick 10 kilos of special kesar mangos for sale and storage. she walks here and there in the orchard, picking a few fruits from each of the 10 Kesar trees. each mango is personally selected, checked, and caressed before being plucked. Its quite amazing. she then told me which trees were ripe enough to pick all the fruit and i got to work.

first picking all the mangos i could reach, then climbing the tree to get all the interior mangos, then using the mango-picker-tool to get the high mangos. there is of course the set intersection of too-high interior mangos or too-too-high exterior mangos that remain for a better picker or, equally like, the birds.

by 10 it's hot enough to get ill and i stumble home with 40-50 kilos of mangos on my back. it's a good load to hoe.

get home from breakfast (always accompained by some form of mango chutney) to sort the mangos into:

ripe to be eaten now
mature to be ripened
green to be pickled
green to be made into mango powder
green to be made into drink
damaged or small to feed the cows

worth noting is that india loves cows and cows love mangos. they love small green mangos they can get a good crunch on. and we love giving them the small green mangos and hearing them crunch. its so good.

after sorting i can help make peel mangos to make pickles or just sit around eating mangos. we have a grandmother here, she is old and dying and confined to her bed, so i try to paint and play music in her room and hold her hand. she calls me 'maharaj' (which means priest or holy man or servant) even though nobody told her that everyone calls me swamiji (holy man, renunciant) here. it's a funny subconscious world. all one. doctor bronner style.

the point is that between 10 and 5 you should be in the grasp of the sun. so i run outside after lunch to practice flute under the shade of the mango tree, a good 10 degrees colder than the house. the sun is by the by, a good 45 degrees strong. its really dangerous. i have to think of it like acid rain, that acid rain is falling on my head and killing me, everytime i step into that midday jaguar sun, in order to take it seriously.

those are some mangoed notes. i should break to, yes, eat another mango.



1 comment:

- v - said...

ank! me estuve acordando de ti y pase a dar una vuelta por tu blog...qué lindo que estés en mangolandia! queremos saber más cosas! queremos más mango crunching cows! te puse linkeado en mi blog, asi que pasare a verte más seguido...
muchos besos desde pizzalandia...