on Friday, May 18, 2012
My earliest memories are that of Thatha buying kilos of it during our summer vacation as my sister and I stood and watching as he bargained almost every day in the morning at about eleven-ish with the dusky , betel nut chewing woman who sat our spacious verandah in Salem, with its classic black and white mosaic asking one of us to get water to quench her thirst.

The mangoes were mostly consumed post dinner, with my Ajji insisting that we had huge glasses of milk after the mango. My aunt would cut huge pieces and pass it on and ceremoniously ask which one of us wanted to eat the fruit stuck on the seed.

The seed was sucked, until it had little juice left, till it was pale yellow and there were mango stains on our dresses and little pieces of straw stuck in my teeth.

Bck home in Bangalore,Appa of course bought boxes of mangoes as summer arrived– Alphonsas and Malgova from the Malleswaram market and each mango was cut with utmost care ,sometimes it made me wonder if the mangoes really tasted that good only because Appa is so perfect with the knife. He cut the mango into perfect little pieces ,the taste of mangoes cut by Appa still tastes very distinct to me. It would of course be too cheesy to say it was flavored with his infinite patience.

This summer most of the mango I have eaten is with friends, not surrounded by family and after a sumptuous dinner like it has been all these years . The Mambalam market of course is flooded with mangoes, but I tread cautiously, buying half a kilo of Banganapalli , making two blunt cuts on the cheeks of the mango and eat with friends. The taste of course reminds of all those endless summers, with cousins, thatha and I wonder what happened to the betel nut chewing lady who gave us mangoes all those summers ago.

Read more mango stories here

My Aunt Agatha

on Sunday, February 26, 2012
Last weekend was spent in the typical Bangalore "function" way. Except the Bangalore is very new now, and we were at the Raghavendra Swamy Matha in Indiranagar and the metro was flying past us in all its glory.
I was smiling in a " I have come from Chennai in a Airavat bus,with very disturbed sleep" fashion,eating Uppitu and gulping down coffee on a pleasantly cold Friday morning greeting tonnes of my mother's clan with eerily similar faces,familiar old Bangalore/family snootiness apparating mostly from Malleswaram , Sheshadripuram and one part of the clan were from Bannerghata.

My mom made it a point to glare at me every time she realized I was not being the ideal niece to any of the three hundred aunts from Sheshadripuram.
So she beckoned me and asked me to take one of them , a retired teacher from Poorna Prajna, I was always scared of this one and apparently she taught maths,gulp,before she retired.
She told me how she had taken the metro to Indiranagar, after taking an auto to M.G road station from malleswaram. She spoke of her morning jaunt with a childish glee and we had a very nice conversation ,as she ate her way through uppitu and kesari bath, she spoke of her kids, I had known them,older cousins with a good collection of Tinkle at their place ,now away , and I suddenly felt a sudden sense of loss, she taking the metro all alone on a sunday morning seemed to have a sad ring to it.
I was of course broken out of this reverie when Aunt V ,came to greet me, it was her son's munji and I thought I had escaped her wrath about I had dressed for the occasion,forgive me if you think I have exaggerated, Aunt V had called me called me at 9 on a monday morning at asked me to take friday off for deversamardhane and was yelling into the phone so much that I suspect that my boss heard it and nope, I didnt hear a whimper from him when I asked for leave later in the evening. She is of course my Aunt Agatha.
Very fond of me, but thinks I'm not capable of handling the ways of the world on my own.
She told me my blue churidhar was too simple and gave a stamp of approval for my sister's red-polka-dot churidhar.
I was of course furious,both of had put it in great effort,gone to chikpete and bought dresses -our only criterion being will Aunt V like it? And of course little sis A got the "stamp of approval" as she calls it.
Amma was horrified when she spotted two children reading during the proceedings of the munji and called their mother,(turns out childhood friend of Aunt V) and told her that she was happy she was not the only mother who was scarred by the shame of having children who "read " at functions.
In my defense I only read post-lunch and hiding in the room, ante to the proceedings.

It was a delightful weekend with many "coolpix" moments ,and on the way back home ,Appa asking me to talk to a boy whom he thought was suitable for me. I smiled thinking how it would be just an other function in my beautiful city,exasperating,slow,homa smoke ,Aunt V who I doubt will approve my saree, to be on the safer side I have decided to take her with me then.