A couple of years ago, I did touch upon the subject in these very pages. Very briefly, unfortunately, and only as part of a triumvirate.
But today, dear reader, is the day that I spend an entire column rhapsodizing about the fruit that reigns supreme.
Now, there are those among you who will rush to agree with me in two parts. “Yes, yes, indeed” you might eagerly nod your assent. Only to follow it up with something along the lines of “Yes, but only if you are talking about <insert favorite type of mango here>”.
Some of you might prefer the langda, while others might prefer the dussehra. Payri, in some cases – or any other variety of mango that catches your fancy. Doesn’t matter really, for the argument of who comes second is, to me, a most un-moot one.
When the undersigned says “mango”, he means – can only mean – the haapus.
Or the alphonso, as it is known to some. Call if what you will – the haapus is a mango without the need for a qualifier.
And it’s not just me who says this, by the way. Tap the next Puneri you meet, and ask if they think the haapus is the best of all the mango varieties. If the person in question happens to be an almost-Puneri, they’ll look bemused and nod in assent. A true blue Puneri will in turn ask you if you think politicians are corrupt.
But to return to the topic at hand: the haapus. Nothing in god’s creation comes close to the utter exquisiteness that is a haapus.
The intoxicating aroma, the rich golden red color,the luscious, silky texture and the warm, all-enveloping sweetness is god’s way of balancing out the pure evilness of summer. Crack open a peti, sift through the hay, breathe in that impossibly heavenly smell, and pick one that looks just about right, and watch all the heat melt away.
For no matter how hot the afternoon, if you can sit in your living room – preferably cross legged on the floor – and devour a mango, well, life can’t be all that bad, right?
Or, if you like, have multiple bowls of aamras with many multiples of puris. Some of us prefer the aamras with a dollop of ghee in it, but that may well be a personal thing.
Or late in the evening, just before bed, pair chilled slices of mangoes with a large helping of vanilla ice-cream. (Impossibly large bowl, ridiculously large scoop of ice-cream, and as many mangoes as you can fit on it, in case you were looking for the recipe for this dessert).
Or, if the day is just too hot for humanity, make it a little more bearable by doing all three in the same day. Your dietician and doctor may well look askance at you, but what do they know who only logic know? Pah. Ignore them, dear reader.
Go on, go and have a couple of mangoes.
Oh all right, make it three.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime