Goodbye My Darling Mangoes

Aditi Raychoudhury. Goodbye my dear mangoes. 2020. Watercolor and Gouache.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Goodbye my dear mangoes. 2020. Watercolor and Gouache.

It’s May! School is out. It stays closed through the end of June. It’s too hot. We don’t have air-conditioning either at school nor at home, and our teachers don’t want to risk kids falling like flies to heatstrokes. As the temperature rises to 40oC (over 100oF) , we stay indoors with our windows shut and curtains drawn to keep the house cool. Everyone is napping. Well, we are all supposed to have a siesta to rest up before the cooler hours of the evenings to make whatever we all have to do a little easier. The heat is killing, but with this tremendous heat comes the most delicious fruit – fragrant, sweet and a little tart, and hundreds of species that are native to India – mangoes! Just like the cherry season here, the mango season, too, is very short and is about to reach it’s peak in June. But, so much has changed since I was that little girl sneaking out in the hottest hour of the day when I was supposed to nap to get some mangoes from the tree in our yard instead.

This year, I have to let go of that memory, because I am sure that the tree that gave me so many years of joy and deliciousness has been uprooted like so many others due to hurricane Amphan. This will be a bleak summer, as people shelter in place due to COVID19 and can’t even find solace in the deliciousness of that amazing fruit – that we eat, suck on, pickle, preserve and make innumerable things out of.

My heart is broken – just like those majestic tropical trees that are now strewn all over the ground.

Mangoes, Mangoes Everywhere, Yet Not One For Me to Eat

Aditi Raychoudhury. Snagging a Mango. Watercolors and Gouche on BFK Rives. 2017.

Aditi Raychoudhury. Snagging a Mango. Watercolors and Gouche on BFK Rives. 2017.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Snagging a Mango. Watercolors and Gouche on BFK Rives. 2017.

Summer is almost over, as are the monsoons. The mangoes are most definitely gone, but here I am, still trying to snag one from the tree in the backyard of my childhood. There is nothing more delicious than a mango in the middle of the blistering heat of an Indian June.┬áIf this national fruit of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can’t bring us together, I don’t know what can. Happy 70th birthday to India.

Aditi Raychoudhury. Prep sketch for Snagging a Mango. Pencil on Paper. 2017.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Prep sketch for Snagging a Mango. Pencil on Paper. 2017.

Aditi Raychoudhury. Prep sketch with color for Snagging a Mango. Pencil, colored pencils on Tracing Paper. 2017.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Prep sketch with color for Snagging a Mango. Pencil, colored pencils on Tracing Paper. 2017.