Mangoes-The twist of summer!!!
By: Hamza Asad
“Ufff… Ye garmi marwaaegi!”, “Oh no... I hate summer. I hate it like anything. My God, when will the sign of winters appear?” Every exhausted person has the same excuse! I mean, I don’t find a single person having a fine approach about this season. Have you ever seen somebody saying “Yaar, I hate winter, I just love summer. When will it come? I am impatient for the summer to arrive!” He would be indeed a crazy person according to you. So if you think I am crazy! Think again because I am the craziest entertainer for you this summer. My exhausted friends, let me take you for a drive to the land of mango-lovers and let me give you a fine treat of mangoes there because I am sure after having this treat you are just going to go higher than ever to say “Hello… I love summers because I love mangoes".
Every body seems to be lethargic with the approaching summer season. After all day's work/study, everyone feels tired when returning back home around afternoon. It’s very true that in summer the hot and yellow sun eats you away and when you come home, you are just angry for no reason. But every problem has a solution. Same stands true for this 'summer anger'. Instead of getting angry on someone younger than you, open your fridge, take out the juicy, green and yellow mangoes and eat them as much as you can. I am sure after having the mangoes you will definitely regain your energy and would be equally recreated. In fact, when I come from my school, I just scream and shout “Mamaaa …. Cut a mango for me!!!” and she does it. Many people like to have cold drinks and other gaseous juices in summer season when they are exhausted but I always prefer mangoes because it really overpowers me when I am dead tired and equally angry in the hot summer!
ETYMOLOGY AND DESCRIPTION:
The word mango is derived either from the language Kodagu, Mange, the Malayalam, Manga, or the Tamil, Mangai. It was loaned into Portuguese when they settled in western India in the early 16th century, From Portuguese, it passed on to English. Mango is a tropical fruit of the mango tree. Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera consisting of about 35 species of tropical fruiting trees. Native to India, the mango trees have been cultivated in many tropical regions of the world. Having special significance in the culture of South Asia, mango is considered to be the national fruit of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Philippines. Especially in Pakistan, as we have an ideal climate, mangoes are grown here in a large quantity but the only problem here is that they are expensive.
Mango tree reaches 35-40 meters in height. Its leaves are evergreen. When its leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark glossy red and then dark green as they mature with the passage of time. Its flowers are small and white with almost five petals. After the flowers finish, the fruit takes from three to six months to ripen.
Of those great personalities whom we don’t get tired praising, some are very fond of mangoes as well. “Hazaaro khaawishien aisi kay har khwaahish pe dam niklae”. I hope you know whom I am talking about. Yes, it’s our very own Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, the biggest lover of mangoes. Who could love mangoes more than him? There are a lot of examples that relate to his love for mangoes and prove that he was extremely fond of mangoes.
One day Ghalib told his slave to press his legs as he was tired. The slave put a condition in front of him that he would only do it if he gives him a penny after pressing his legs. Ghalib agreed. After pressing his legs, the slave asked for his penny. Ghalib gave him a mango. The slave did not agree to take the mango. Ghalib ate the mango himself saying “Tum nae meray paau dabaa diye, mae ne tumhaara rupiaa daba diya”.
On another occasion, one of Ghalib’s friends came to his house. Ghalib was eating mangoes. His friend asked what is so special in mangoes that you like it so much? Ghalib replied in his refreshing style, 'Bas, Aam(mango) hon aur aam (in abundance) hon'.
Allama Iqbal, the poet of East too was very fond of mangoes. He praised langra (a variety of the fruit) in one of his verse when he received a parcel of mangoes from Akbar Allahbadi.
PART OF DIFFERENT CULTURES:
When the moral and status of the Muslims was on the top in sub-continent, various mughal Emperors used to order their servants to bring a large number of juicy mangoes for them and thus it made mangoes call “The fruit of kings”. The Mughal emperor Akbar was also very fond of mangoes. He would eat so many mangoes at a single sitting. This really proves that mangoes got distinction over other fruits from the very beginning.
Mangoes hold significance in Buddhism and Hinduism in a highly acclaimed style. Especially Hindus have a very cavalier approach about mangoes. The leaves of mango tree are ritually used for floral decorations at Hindu marriages and religious ceremonies. They believe that mango is a sign of love and beauty. As you know that music is a part of their religion, many of the classical Hindi songs based on rainy season (Barsaat) and romance definitely mention the mango tree! In fact, there is a large number of barsaat songs sung by famous Indian singers giving reference to mangoes due to which their songs gained popularity. The Buddhists too consider the mango tree sacred. Buddha used to retire and pray under the shade of mango-like trees around him. Mangoes from very beginning gave birth to various festivals and traditions. One of these festivals was Naurauz in which people would eat and throw mangoes over each other in a hyper excited manner, in olden days.
In Pakistan, mangoes are presented to guests as a gesture of hospitality and are sent and received as a gift. In short, it is an aggressive source of recreation and formality here. This makes mango the part of Pakistani culture too!
VARIETIES AND ITS NUTRIENT PROPERTIES:
In Pakistan, different varieties of mangoes are produced. However, the most popular among them are Chaunsa, Langra, and Dasehri. The Chaunsa is considered as the best variety of mangoes in Pakistan. Langra is a green coloured sweet mango mostly used in the making of mango shakes, ice creams and fruit chats. Other varieties of mangoes found in our country include Sindhri, Neelum, Alfanso and Safeda etc. Mangoes are used to prepare mango jams and pickles as well.
Mango is rich in dietary fiber and carbohydrates. They contain essential nutrients like copper and potassium, minerals, sugar, iron and vitamins as well. It has vitamin A, B, C and K including some of the amino acids at a good level. Moreover, mangoes help in clotting of blood and keep your mind fresh all the time!
I agree “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and “Lassi jaisi koi nahi” but when it comes to coolness, no fruit or juice can be compared with mangoes as they play a fine role in thrilling your minds during summer. In fact, my brother and I compete with each other while the eating process that whoever finishes the mangoes first would be considered the winner. So if you want to become cool, just swimming in the summer would not do it for you. You need to become a mango-lover and I am sure you will no more be exhausted but a tension free person flowing in the twist of summer. Happy mango season!
The writer is a student of 10 th standard and a resident of Peshawar.