The fruits of labour

There is something about whats available by the street, that excites the taste buds. Lets leave alone the samosas, jalebis and such else. Those deep fried grenades. That will sit two minutes on the lips, and blast into fragments that etch a permanent place on the hips.
This blog advocates healthy living and healthier eating !

So, Lets stick to, good for the body stuff : Fruits ! The varieties of fruits that are available for a roadside snack, is not only mind boggling but also, mouth wateringly awing.

For you could choose from Apples to Oranges. From Jack fruits to Mangoes. And from sweet ripe mangoes to unripe sour ones. And many more.

The mind wonders how it is with you. If you lay all these fruits side by side, and you were to pick one, which one would you choose ?

Ask that question in a MBA class and in nine cases out of ten, the answer begins with a ‘it depends’. And dependencies will stretch from global warning to Bernanke to Osama Bin Laden !

Lets leave that aside. And think, which one would you choose ?

Well, actually…. hmm…it depends. On the weather. On the mood. On what was had before. On what is to be had just after. And so on. Hmm. The MBA types with their ‘it depends’ seem to have a point. After all !

My all time favourite though is this. Cut (artistically so). Salted. A little bit of chilly powder. Throw in some winter chill. Ooh my mouth is watering already.

In my ‘wonder years’, three slices of unripe mangoes came for a rupee. Of course salted with garnished with a dash of chilly powder. Of course, it was forbidden. By ‘authorities’ at home. And at school.

Of course, it was mentioned that it was unhealthy. Flies and ‘exposed’ food were topics discussed. In all classes. Including moral science ! (yes, we had a class called ‘Moral Science!’).

Of course, the security guards at school, would whack your behind if they spotted you any close to the mango vendor.

But then, that was the most delicious of fruits. For it came by saving up those small five paisa, ten paisa and 25 paisa coins. With a sprinkling of labour !

Of distracting the attention of security guards enough to sneak out and buy. Through pacts with others for a share of the bounty.

Some of it was redistributed. Never for money. But for the odd favour, like a deal with the boy who sat in the first row to carry an extra pencil for me. Always! And of course, there were girls. I leave it there.

After a while it all became boring. For, whats to be done exactly to distract the security guards was known. The negotiation with the vendor was fairly straight. So, pronto, the only thing that needed to be done, was to induct others into doing it.

The other day, a slice of cut mangoes caught the attention of the camera. A flood of thought came rushing back. It was sweet. And sour !

For along with the lip smacking taste, came the lessons: Maths. Thrift. Saving. Marketing. Distribution. Positioning. Induction. Team Working. Oh boy. That sounds like one heck of a MBA curriculum.

It disturbs me. To think, that i went through two years of studying a formal MBA after having gone some distance with it in class three!

Common Mango !

Its the season for Mangoes ! And the lovely sweet Alphonso variety is doing the rounds. And of course, the one who can stop at just eating one, is inhuman, supernatural or plain stupid. It depends on which side you look at it from !!

Pooris and Aam Ras are the seasons favourite in many restaurants like this one

And as usual, whats in season is in season. Like here. And so, she makes a dish which is called ‘Aam Ras’. ‘Aam = Mango. Ras = Juice’ she painstakingly explains. He tilts his head and tries to remember. This hindi word ‘Aam’ seems to be familiar.

This ‘Aam Ras’ puts him in a rush. He dips into the luxurious ‘Mango pulp – mixed with milk – served chilled’ (And so he thinks. And that’s the closest this blog has ever got to a recipe). And says, ‘Its addictive’. And means every intonation. Very much so.

And mangoes, this season seem to be everywhere. Or so it seems to him. Newspaper reports are much to the contrary. Some mangoes are pricey. Some cheap. But all, worth a little haranguing and a bargain.

And as he ploughs into one more scoop, there is a flash of recollection. With a flash of the Hindi education that’s in progress, he asks her.. ” ‘Aam’ also means ‘common’ right ? ”

She arches her eyebrows. Sensing that the devils company is set to show some results. ‘Aam Aadmi’ as in the political campaign means “Common Man”, right ?’ She nods her head. Half in disinterest. Half in irritation.

And then, the words escape his lips. “Or is it possible, that they really want to call the commoner a proper ‘Mango’ ?!? ” She face palms. ‘Incorrigible’. She says. And asks him if he wants some more. The head nods vigorously. ‘Upon one condition’. She says.

The second helping is had.

In total silence.