India Summer ’22: Mango Season

Mangoes are like cricket: a national obsession, but with a very short season. And that season is now.

I thought I’d start by describing the experience of walking into a room full of ripening mangoes, but I’m lost for words. Because it’s not just a smell, it’s a full-body experience: the aroma thwacks you, it physically throws you back. But “hot, sweet, and engulfing” is the best I could come up with and it doesn’t start to conjure up the experience.

So here are sketches from our little family farm, in mango season, sans that aroma.

When it’s mango season, every day is harvest day. With nets attached to bamboo sticks, a group of 5 to 7 pickers approaches a tree. All the mangoes look green to me, but an expert eye can spot the start of a blush, however faint, and a slight dip in the flesh where stem meets fruit. And that means the fruit is ready to be picked. A tree takes only a few minutes, but I follow this group around from tree to tree and sketch. The mangoes are neatly arranged in plastic bins and the tempo in the background takes them back to the farmhouse to be sorted and graded.

It was hot. So hot, that I felt I would melt. The mangoes love this heat.
As I spent time following the pickers around and sketching, the whole scene felt so pattern-like: a hatching of dried brown leaves on the ground, and green leaves above, the pickers moving between the trees and the dappled light overlaying it all. That feeling inspired this sketch.

Once picked, crates of mangoes make their way back to the farm house where they are graded, sorted, and packed.

Mangoes come in all shapes and forms. Look at this collection of different varieties of them from nearby farms. (The orange one at the very bottom is an Alphonso, for comparison). And that very colorful meal is my breakfast, of chapatti, dal, yogurt, and mango, eaten under the trees.

Here are previous posts in this series of sketches. Next up are sketches from the village market.

Post #1: Back After a Three year Break

Post #2: Panjim Market

Post #3: Fontainhas

Post #4: More From Goa

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in India, people, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to India Summer ’22: Mango Season

  1. Judith M Plummer says:

    Dear Suhita,
    You are definitely in your element when you return to your first home. It is very obvious where you get your love for vivid color and action.
    Best Wishes
    Judith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Skumar says:

    It will be more tasty after rainfall.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always love your sketches, but your “home” sketches are filled with the delightful unknown for me!!! Such colour… and I wish I had your breakfast!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane Winters says:

    I get hungrier and hungrier as I follow your India trip sketches, and I want to eat that breakfast. Of course where I live I can get the chapati, dal and yogurt, but not freshly tree-picked mangos – my little growing space isn’t nearly big or hot enough. Isn’t the Alphonso the queen of mangos in terms of flavor and super-smooth texture?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The alphonso is an extraordinary mango. But I’m biased, it’s the local favorite in the parts I grew up in ( well, the favorite for eating. The favorite to drink as a thick pulp is another mango called payree) but every region has it’s local favorite that they swear is the best.

      Like

  5. Very nice sketches.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting sketches of people picking fruit!!

    Like

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