We had a very lucky childhood. Our grandparents had a beautiful bungalow in the shape of a Swastik surrounded by a large garden which my grandmother lovingly tended right up to her 80's. She had grown many trees of chickoo, jackfruit, tamarind, pomegranate, papaya, amla, guava, jamun, and of course the king of them all - the Mango.
Not one or two mango trees, no Sir, we had a dozen. Beautiful big trees with a huge canopy, each one towering in its own majestic style, branches going over the terrace, giving us bountiful fruit every summer.
We grew up watching the whole mango process which is quite elaborate! First, the "ambe-mohar" or the flowers that come with spring- and looking at that itself my grandmother would know what sort of crop they would yield. Then came the mischievous little ‘kairis’, and us kids climbing the trees to get our first bite into that tart, astringent, sweet sour delight that we had waited for all year! Then the slow ripening of this long awaited fruit. Aji would know exactly which ones to pluck when, with specially designed mango catching nets-on-sticks. Then store them on newspaper among dry hay, in a cold dark room, checking on them daily. She would remove the ripened ones- pickle some, pulp some, and allow us to eat some. Batches of "aam papad" were made and laid out on the terrace dry in the sun. Hand made ice cream was churned with everyone having a go!
Our summer vacations were most certainly a blast with sucking mangoes right off the trees.
At Arbor Road Estate, we have planted several of these familiar varieties of mangoes be it Banganapally, Safeda, Rasalu, Badami, Malgoa - along with the other fruits which were a big part of our childhood. And now 6 years later, we are overjoyed to see them bear fruit!
We had our first kairi on the auspicious day of Gudi Padva / Ugaadi, carefully plucked and offered as "naivedyam"(prasad), and then sliced, salted and relished by all present!
Come and visit us at Arbor Road Estate to see the mango laden trees, along with other fruits and hidden treasures. And don't miss the replica of our "Swastik" in the specially made garden, when you do make the trip.