Mango tales

When I was a little girl I stayed very far from my grandma. She is a short and plump woman wearing just a blouse and a mundu. If she has to step out, she would wrap a towel around and she is dressed. She is very huggable and cute, so motherly that I smothered her with hugs and kisses every time I met her.
I used to visit her once a year during my vacations. Once I am with her, my mother becomes free as she is available for granting all my whims and wishes. She oils my hair, she bathes me and pats me dry. She makes a special shampoo from hibiscus leaves, which is very cooling to the head. She cooks every food item that I mention and showers me with love to last till I visit again.
One other thing she does is cut mangoes for all the children mid morning. But the process for this begins soon after we wake up.
We get up around 6 and even before we brush our teeth, we take our small empty buckets and roam around the house picking mangoes, which had fallen the last day. Each one of the kids gets atleast 8 to 10 mangoes. After breakfast, once grandma is free she washes them,cuts and distributes among all the kids equally. This was a tradition that repeated every summer.
After a few years, I got busy and visited at all random times, not necessarily during the mango season, sometimes not even once a year. I was studying, I changed cities several times, I started working, got married, etc. Not just me, all the cousins were now scattered around the globe. My grandma started distributing the mangoes outside the house. She got older but she was the one who had to pick mangoes as well. The demand for this yellow fruit subsided in the house and on many days she ate them alone.
Three years back, I finally found time to visit her during summer. I was bringing my husband. She was excited for getting the chance to serve mangoes to a new member of the family. She plucked mangoes and kept it ready for us. As soon as we finished breakfast, she enthusiastically cut and gave us different sorts of mangoes, explaining about each while she did it. She told us old mango stories and about mangoes in our different farms as I licked my hands dripping with mango juice. It felt warm to see her happiness in doing this for us.
From last three years, me and my husband make sure we visit her, even if for a day during the mango season, relish the mangoes and her stories. The mangoes tasted sweeter each year because it was added with her love and affection for us.
I will be back in Bangalore soon and will be eating mangoes in all shapes and forms for next couple of months, but I know none will taste better than the ones cut by my grandma. And yes, I am here today, as I write this, watching her cut another set for us. :)

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