This is the first time I spent all the summer months in Hyderabad and what an experience it has been. For a person who has lived in Bangalore for 35 years where the maximum temperature never exceeded 34 deg C, the day temperatures of 45 deg C for a continuous period of almost 3 months is an experience. We just got roasted. Not used to this high temperature and losing essential minerals and salts by perspiration one always felt exhausted and tired with muscle cramps and summer boils. However, I learnt to beat the heat by drinking juices with added salt, and having kanji with added salt for dinner. At last the monsoon rain reached Hyderabad yesterday evening. We had a heavy down pour for about 20 minutes yesterday and we have been having sustained showers since the afternoon. I hope the temperatures come down.
The best thing about summer is the surfeit of mangoes. We had plenty of mangoes this year and we really enjoyed them. For a true Keralite no amount of mangoes is too much. There is a saying in malayalam, “Aaru maasam chakkayum mangayum, Aaru maasam anganeyum inganeyum,” which means Keralites live by jackfruits and mangoes for 6 months in a year and somehow manage the remaining 6 months. The saying was of course true only in the olden days when, as I have always said, people lived by the seasonal fruits and vegetables of that particular region. Especially in remote places like my maternal grandparents’ home, where we used to spend all our summer holidays during our childhood, we actually had only mangoes and jackfruits curries and preparations on all days. It was either manga koottan or chakka kari or chakka kootan and manga pachadi. Did we ever get tired of eating so many mangoes and jackfruits? Never. These days with all types of vegetables and fruits available all through the year, people don’t have to depend on chakkayum, mangayum. And yet, give me a manga pulissery or chakka kari any day and I would enjoy it immensely. Even the younger kids of our family, though they don’t like most of the traditional dishes prepared at home, devour manga kootans.
When we were growing up we had large mango orchards both at our paternal and maternal grandparents’ homes. In our maternal grandparents’ home where the house stood amidst acres and acres of greenery, wherever you turned you could see mango trees and jack fruits trees laden with fruit. Just one breeze and the court yard would be full of mangoes. When you stepped out of the house you could collect any number of mangoes. Any one who came home, from guests to beggars would be sent back with a big bag of mangoes. In our paternal grandparents’ home where we grew up, the orchards were far from home and only baskets and baskets of mangoes arrived as headloads. The mangoes were spread on hay in a room upstairs and we ate mangoes as and when we pleased. That was also the time all the cousins who were living outside the state would come home for summer holidays and our Kalathappa (our grandfather was called Kalathappa by all) was beside himself with joy seeing all his grandchildren enjoying the fruits of his labour. “Thinuungo, Thinnungo, Thinnin, Thinnin” (eat as much as you want), he would say.
Mangoes and Jackfruits in all forms are used by Keralites . From this size for kadugumanga
to this size for manga koottans, pachadis, aavakaya, manga curry, manga chammandi, pachakadugumanga.
And fruits as well. We also make special dishes with the mango fruit.
Similarly with jackfruit.