Monday, April 20, 2009

Sincere apologies....with the 'King of all fruits'.

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.

I know I am very late in posting this, but trust me when I say that I have been extremely tied down with home-shifting, either family and friends visiting over or we making courtesy calls. (Infact as I write this post my hub's busy booking tickets for another trip in May.)
There have been festivities but not without certain mishappenings innundating all this time. In the past month I have seen the frolic of a 'mundan' (a hindu ritual where the kids head is clean shaved) of my nephew, starkly contrasting the deep anguish followed by nervous calm when my maternal uncle lived through a major cardiac arrest.

In all this flurry I admit to have ignored my 'virtual' home and friends. All the wonderful endearing comments and concern as to how I am and whether I am doing fine makes me guilt ridden. For all those who showed concern and who remembered me in my absence, who support me always....I seriously love you guys! You all rock!!
Please accept my apologies though.
Quite true that friendship is a million little things.....a million kind words/thoughts lighting up my day!

It was a love affair long before we knew what love was. They were golden, dripping with a heavenly juice, fleshy and aromatic. As kids we didn't understand why we could gorge on them just once a year, but were happy just to be able to dig into them. The perfumed 'Alphonsos', the green 'Dasheharis', the succulent 'Chausas' and the golden skinned 'Langdas' (I am still intrigued why its called a 'langda' which means crippled), gleaming in their jewel tones - red, yellow and dark green.Decades later, the mango still has such a magnetic hold on my generation. Is it because it is so much more than a mere fruit? It represents a rite of passage, a time of giddy childhood, of endless summer days and life stretched into infinity - an unending field of gold, an abundant orchard of luscious mangoes dangling from countless shady trees....

Mangoes are ephemeral - here today, gone tomorrow - so many Indians hoard them and have found ways to keep the gem-like fruits with them as long as they can. Green unripe mangoes are pickled in so many different ways, to be drawn out in the cold of winter, to be relished - summer relived. Another delicious pickled treat is mango murba - mangoes marinated in a sweet sugar sauce, with garlic and black onion seeds. It's a real comfort food when eaten with a bowl of kichdi (rice gruel) or a chappati - you can feel all's right with the world. For a full-blooded Indian, any time is mango pickle time, and a dollop of ambh achaar enhances any meal.

Where did this wondrous fruit come from and why does it have such a hold on the Indian psyche?

The earliest mention of mango, Mangifera Indica, that means "the great fruit bearer," is in the Hindu scripture dating back to 4000 BC. The wild mango originated in the foothills of the Himalayas of India and Burma, and about 40 to 60 of these trees still grow in India and Southeast Asia.

The mango is a member of the Anachardiaceae family which includes poison ivy, cashews, and pistachios.

So passionate are modern day Asian Indians about their most adored fruit, the cultivated mango, that during mango season in India, families actually argue heatedly about which of the many varieties is best for their favorite mango dishes. For the rest of us, we're just delighted to welcome mango season ( the only good thing about the otherwise sweltering heat), enjoy the luscious tangy fruit that dribbles down our chins, and leave the fistcuffs out of it!

According to M. Varadrajan, author of The History of Tamil Literature, the eye of a woman is compared to a tender mango cut in half, with the stone being the pupil of the eye. Alexander the Great was a big fan of Indian mangoes and The Mughal Emperor Babur called it "O Fairest Fruit of Hindustan."

Alphonso Milk Shake
1 medium sized alphonso or any mango of your choice
1/2 litre of skimmed milk
2 tbsp sugar (adjust according to sweetness of mangoes)
a pinch of ground cardamom

Blend all the ingredients together in a juicer/blender.
Serve chilled with cubes of golden ripe mangoes.


India is a country rich with folklore that sometimes becomes woven into cultural rituals as well as religious ceremonies, and it's little surprise that it's India's national fruit.
It is said that the Buddha was given the gift of a whole grove of mango trees where he could rest whenever he wished. From that time on the mango tree was held in awe as capable of granting wishes.
So revered is the mango tree in its home country that it has become a symbol of love.

(A symbol of the love and adoration I have for my readers/friends and well wishers. I thus offer this exotic fruit as apology.)

Offerings of mango leaves are presented at wedding ceremonies, a ritual that guarantees the couple will bear many children.
In the villages there is a powerful belief that the mango trees grow new leaves each time a son is born. To herald the new birth to their neighbors, doorways are decorated with mango leaves.

Old Sanskrit writings reveal a legend of deep love and beauty that sprang from the mango tree. It was the daughter of the sun, Surya Bai, who transformed herself into a golden lotus to evade persecution of an evil sorceress. The sorceress became angry when the King of the land fell in love with the beautiful lotus, and she burnt it to ashes. Good overcame evil when a magnificent mango tree sprang from the ashes and Surya Bai stepped out from a ripe mango that had fallen to the ground. The King instantly recognized her as his long lost wife, and the two rejoiced.

Health Benefits

Revered not only for their exotic sweetness and juicy quality, mangoes are known for their many health blessings. They contain an enzyme similar to papain in papayas, a soothing digestive aid.

In India mangoes are used as blood builders. Because of their high iron content they are suggested for treatment of anemia and are beneficial to women during pregnancy and menstruation. People who suffer from muscle cramps, stress, and heart problems can benefit from the high potassium and magnesium content that also helps those with acidosis.
One lab test turned up rather startling results that raised mangoes to the "highest perch." Mango juice was poured into a test tube that contained viruses. Shortly, the viruses were destroyed.


  1. You don't have to apologize to anyone for being busy Navita! Blogging is a fun thing to do, only when we are free! :)

    Glad you had a wonderful time, we all need it sometimes. Mango drink, give it to me anytime, looks yum.

  2. Wow awesome....happy to know that you ahd safe shifting..... Shake looks yum

  3. I have been your 'silent follower' for quite some time now... ;)
    My favourite drink is something I it ripe mango shake or Raw mango Drink...anytime anywhere!!

  4. Hey,Navita,so,enjoying every second..? go on and love to hear from you once in a while.
    Mango is my anytime fav..looks great there !!

  5. Mangoes are our family's favorite fruit! And what a healthy way to enjoy this fruit! :)

  6. I'm glad to see your post! Love mangoes!

  7. Never mind dear,we all get busy at times.The classic mango lassi looks so inviting:)

  8. What a delicious milkshake! So creamy and refreshing. I'm glad all is well with you!!

  9. Never mind Navita, its happens when we are hooked with our family and other stuffs...Milk shake with mango tempts me a lot..looks gorgeous..

  10. I'm so happy to see you back! I knew you were busy with moving but didn't realize you had those other things going on in your life too. I'm glad to hear that your uncle is all right now! How stressful that must have been.

    Thank you for the lovely post on mangoes. It, along with coconuts and pomeloes, is my favorite fruit. I wish we could grow it here; it makes me sad that we can't.

    We always let the kids order mango lassi whenever we eat at an Indian restaurant. Your recipe looks wonderful; I'd love to try it once mango season is here and we can buy it where we are.

  11. hey no need for apologies..great to have you back though :)

    and the mango milk shake looks delicious. This is one thing i love about summer!!

  12. Glad to see u back again, with a lovely drink!

  13. Woo Hoo, so glad to see you back again!!!! YIPEEE..

  14. Hi Navita,
    Its great to see you back, and the alphonso has added the flavour to it. Just one simple suggestion, hope you don't mind, it takes a long time for your blog to open in any window, I think its possibly because of the size of the photos in the posts. It will be better if you compress the pics and then upload them.


  15. mmm, Mango Milkshake looks great and a comfort drink for spring... Many a times we hardly ahve time for our virtual house and all the real frenz out here... But your come back is all that matters... My first time here... Nice space... Shall come back for more...

  16. Welcome back! Mango milk shake looks delicious! I would be glad if u could send me this for my event "Refreshing drinks for summer" going on in my blog.

  17. So good pictures... Feel like drinking ...

  18. Welcome backkk..Thats a fab Lassi..I love to have it all the time..:)

  19. don't apologize for living your life Navita:-)

    Can't agree more on mangoes. Every summer we have a day when we have mangoes all day:-) nothing else..what a celebration.. but so worth it.

  20. Good to see you back Navita! and with a great fruit too. :-)
    Have been reading a lot of your posts. :-)

  21. I am glad that you are back.......Love mangoes in any form

  22. I love mango! Sometimes I add it to my smoothies and it makes them so creamy.

  23. I love mangoes. I can eat it every day!

    I make mango smoothie with almond milk or soy milk.

  24. I adore mangoes and one of the things I love about visiting the tropics is that there is the possibility of getting really fresh, ripe mango. Needless to remark, we don't have the climate for mangoes here in Ireland :)

  25. Hello Navita,great post!Mangoes bring back a lot of happy childhood memories.They are great with peaches too! Yum, I should go and find me some mangoes now....

  26. Hi Navita!

    Happy to see you back and well too:)
    A lavish mango creamy milk shake, healthy and delicious, what more??

    Have a great weekend!


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