What makes a mango special?
I have thought about this quite a bit, and I realise there is no one single reason for it.
Take the fruit itself, for example. Fleshy, curved, juicy – something that makes you want to hold it in your hands and bite into it. Keeping my creepy analogies aside, there are a few more points that make the mango special among other fruits.
The joy of biting into a fruit is enjoyable in itself – apples, watermelons, and bananas – but the thing about a mango that I appreciate is its democratizing nature. Whether you’re a rich man or a beggar – there’s no clean, posh way to eat a mango. You have to dip your hands into the pulp, put it into your mouth, scrape out the pulp while pulling the peel out of your mouth. You will have to lick the juice flowing down your mouth, wipe it with the back of your hand. There’s simply no other way.
Then there is the fact that is available only in the summers. Unlike its ubiquitous brethren, the mango is among the few respites in a season that has nothing else going for it. When the only stroke of luck is in the form of a bad luck resulting in a sunstroke. Amidst such gloom, like Preity Zinta, the Mango floats into our lives for two months in a year and leaves us with terrible tasting soft drinks for the rest of the year. And after spending ten months of the year trying to make do with those soft drinks, when it is time for the Mango to come into our lives again, we celebrate.
And also, to an extent, that it is found in areas with tropical climate. Like God took pity on us and said, ‘You people are toiling under the sun every year. Here, take some mangoes.’ The mango is a giant orange lining in this grueling weather without any clouds.
It is surprising that with all these qualities of the mango – its saffron colour, the promises it holds, the joy it brings – the BJP has made no references to it at all. The only party with any semblance of aam in it, is the one that the party is at loggerheads with.
I have never liked giving titles to fruits and vegetables. I could never make peace with the idea of the Brinjal being the King of Vegetables, for example. The Brinjal always appeared to be a shady person with many names (Egg plant, aubergine, brinjal). Someone with an evil scheme up his evil mind.
But when someone says that the mango is the king of fruits, I can accept it.
The first signs of the coming summer are the mango drink ads.
When the stale ads that have been running through the year are replaced by ones that will run for another year, you know that summer is knocking on the door.
And yet, in spite of three major mango drink companies in the market, not one of them has managed to capture the imagination of the nation.
Frooti had the first mover advantage, thanks to the nostalgia associated with the Mango Frooti – Fresh and Juicy campaigns. And yet, none of their recent campaigns have registered a strong recall value.
There is Maaza, which ran a half decent campaign with Satish Shah. It helped that the man looked like he could devour a dozen mangoes just for the fun of it. He had the expressions, and the belly for it.
And finally, there is Slice. The worst of the lot. Firstly, there is the taste – synthetic, unnatural. Then there is the colour, a bright shiny orange that no mango in the world actually has. And then there is Katrina Kaif, sipping on mango juice in a series of ads that are neither creative nor titillating.
If Freud were alive, he’d sit up and take notice of the ads. Of images of a pretty woman holding a mango in her hands, closing her eyes, whispering, and licking her lips. He’d no doubt notice the fruit in her hand and leave no stone unturned as to which body part the makers of the ad are alluding to.
But since Freud is no more, there is nothing in the ad to interest me.
And yet, I think the greatest campaign for a mango drink company would be to stop this facade of pretending to make their shit from real mangoes. By now, even kids are aware of processed food and packaging, so who are we kidding?
Even if the love affair with mangoes began in childhood, quite recently, me and Mango went to a nearby temple and had a second marriage of sorts. We strengthened our bond, took a new set of vows.
And all this through a random discussion online about eating mangoes after smoking pot. The benefits of mango as a push-upper were being debated, and me and Sarthak, my friend in boredom, decided to test it on ourselves.
It helped that the weed we were smoking was called Mango Weed. And so a joint was smoked, a mango was cut, and eaten. And it was in that moment, when I fell in love with mangoes all over again. The sweet, sticky taste of mango, combined with the pristine, clear feeling of having no thoughts scrambling about in your head.
I cannot scientifically assure you that it gets you higher – I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a blog if I had those capabilities. But I can assure you that it is a blissful feeling.
And this year, the European Union banned the import of mangoes to Europe. The British are still debating about the impact of the ban, and it might just be revoked.
But until then, it is good news for us. The ban might cause a surplus in mangoes in India, resulting in more mangoes at lower prices.
So go ahead, buy a few mangoes. You can spend the winter looking at Katrina Kaif’s videos in 1080p HD.