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# 16: Mangoes
'It is summer. It is hot. I need mangoes.'
I’ve been slow with newsletter posts, I realise, and so to tide you through this arid time, here’s a short story I wrote in 2005 that seems apt right now.
Harish’s wife, Reena, was fond of mangoes.
“It is summer,” she told her husband. “It is hot. I need mangoes.”
So as soon as the mango season began, she went to Santa Cruz and bought a crate of mangoes.
At first, she put them in the fridge. Her first evening after getting the mangoes, she ate two. Harish ate one. After dinner she ate two more. Harish ate one. He didn’t mind mangoes.
Soon, she was eating eight mangoes a day. And more. She would buy mangoes every two days, and come back with the crate of mangoes tired and sweating. “I need mangoes,” she would say. Then she would eat four, or five, or six mangoes.
She started missing her breakfast – normally an omelette with toast – and eating mangoes instead. Her mid-morning snack was mangoes. Soon, her lunch was mangoes. “It is summer,” she would tell her husband. “It is hot. I need mangoes.”
Everywhere he went in the house, Harish found mangoes. One night, he woke up wanting to hug her, and reached across. His palm grasped a mango. There were mangoes on the bed. Seven or eight of them, in different parts of the bed.
Another morning, he woke up with a heavy head. There was a mango on his ear.
He went for his bath once, and in his soapcase there was a slice of fresh mango.
Once while wearing his shoes in the morning he found a mango in his left shoe.
He had to walk carefully around the house, else he might step on a mango and trip. Or worse, spoil it.
“What is going on,” Harish asked Reena one day, exasperated. “What is it with these mangoes?”
“It is summer,” she replied. “It is hot. I need mangoes.”
Then, one day, Reena’s mother came to visit. “How are you, Reena,” she said, hugging her daughter. “My god, you’ve lost so much weight.”
“And you Harish,” she said, half-hugging him, “you’ve put on quite a bit of weight. Soon you’ll look just like a mango, ha ha. And what’s with the dark circles under your eyes?”
But soon Reena’s mother, Mrs Grover, saw the problem. The problem of mangoes.
“This is ridiculous,” she told Reena. “I know you like mangoes, I like mangoes too, but this is becoming an obsession.”
“What to do, ma?” said Reena. “It is summer. It is hot. I need mangoes.”
Later Mrs Grover took Harish aside and said, “Don’t worry, beta, I know what to do about this mango thing. I will take her out this afternoon to my guruji. He will advise us.”
After Mrs Grover and Reena left, Harish cleaned up the mangoes lying around the house. Bathroom free of mangoes? Check. Bedroom free of mangoes? Check. Living room, kitchen, shoe rack? Check, check, check.
Mrs Grover and Reena came back in the evening, and Harish was relieved to find that his wife had no mangoes with her. “Actually,” said Reena, “to tell you the truth, I’m getting rather tired of mangoes.”
Harish heaved a sigh of relief. Then the bell rang. He got up and opened the door.
A young man in red overalls stood in front of him. “Sir,” he said, “I’ve come to deliver the watermelons Mrs Grover ordered. Forty watermelons, right?”
Harish, astounded, looked at his mother-in-law, who had come to the door by now. She smiled a matronly smile at Harish.
“It is summer,” she said. “It is hot. We need watermelons.”