Cheat Sheet Fact of Life: Summer is bearable because of mangoes, watermelon and ice-apples, otherwise our brains would have been fried long back.
What does summer remind you of? There is of course the scorching heat, the constant thirst and the unstoppable sweat, but there are also a few things we relish in. For me, summer is bearable because of mangoes, watermelons and ice-apple. Imagine the sweet and tangy taste that remains in your mouth after you sink your teeth into a ripe, fleshy mango. When you eat a watermelon, it goes straight to your heated brain and cools it. Do you remember the way we suck out the juices from translucent and soft ice-apple before eating it whole? These are the things that I love about summer.
I don’t remember my first mango memory. My mother told me about it. I was a little less than two years old. She prepared a glass full of mango juice. I never tasted mango until then. She wanted me to taste a sip or two of the mango juice, so she gave the glass to me. I did have a sip or two, but when she wanted to take away the glass, I wouldn’t leave it. I clenched it with my teeth when she tried to pull it out. I did not take out the glass from my mouth until I drank it clean. Well, that is the power of mango.
I do remember my first watermelon memory. It is one of my fondest memories. One of my uncles’ from mom’s side came to our home to visit us. It was a hot day. My mother was not at home. It was just me and my uncle. We sat at the table, cut the watermelon open. I ate one piece, my uncle ate another. This way, we ate the whole watermelon for brunch. I remember it to be a big watermelon, with a deep red color. My love for watermelon started that day. My uncle let me eat the whole watermelon. My mother would have stopped me after a few bites, she would say, ‘Keep some watermelon for me and your father’. My uncle allowed me to be greedy and messy. My hands, my mouth and dress got dirty with the pulp and the juice from the watermelon.
I loved eating the ice-apple but I hated it when I had to eat the curry of the ice-apples’ skin. My mother and grandmother do not waste anything that tastes close to edible. After enjoying the ice-apple, I also had to go through the pain of eating the skin curry.
I had thati kallu (made from juice of ice-apple) only once until now. When I was a teenager, I went to Nellore along with my cousins to spend some time with family friends. They had a fresh water prawn farm. The farm was lined with palm trees. When we were there, my aunt gave us thati kallu. I had one glass of it. As soon as I had it, I asked her, ‘Am I going to become unconscious now?’ My aunt laughed a lot. After we went home, she told to everybody else in the family and they laughed too. Next time, when I have thati kallu, I will not stop at one glass. I want to know how many glasses of thati kallu does it take, for me to become unconscious.
Mangoes, watermelons and ice-apples are the gifts of summer. Without them, the summer would be tough to survive.
Image of ice-apple from google images