|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 24, Tuesday, June 14, 2011|
For the past few years summer has been a very unpleasant guest to us all given the killer heat accompanied by power outages that give us a hands-on experience of how it used to feel before electricity was invented. Long gone are the times when people used to look forward to the pleasant summer months. In spite of this, there are still a few things about summer that have remained unchanged one of which is the anticipation with which we await the time when we can finally get our hands on bounties of summer fruits.
It has almost become a seasonal culture for people, especially girls, to rush to the streets, at the first sign of mangoes on the trees, searching for vendors selling those delectable unripe mango strips mixed with kashundi that tingle the taste buds and make them crinkle up their faces from the tangy kick. While some vendors choose to cater to the mango lovers others mash chilies and jaam or kamranga together which tangos with the taste buds. Unripe mangoes are just the teasers to the arrival of the king of summer fruits, sweet mangoes, which fill all the racks of the refrigerator leaving little space for other food.
“Come summer I would climb the jaam trees and pick the fruits, but I never braved climbing the high lychee trees that we had in our backyard. We used to get a lot of parrots visiting our kamranga trees which was a delightful sight!” says Nasreen Ameen. These are stories that we hear from our parents, but, only a few from our generation have experiences like this. The extent of summer fruit adventures for most of us is picking humongous jackfruits which do a pretty good job of making the refrigerator smell.
Summer brings with it pineapples and palms, nature's gifts that momentarily transport those of us living in our concrete jungle to fantasy beaches and relaxing vacations. Given the long hours that have to be spent in traffic jams there is nothing better to quench one's thirst on returning home than a big chunk of cooled water melon; and tagged along with that are its various health benefits. Speaking of traffic jams, other fruits that can be seen in a lot of people's hands, while stuck at jams, are amra and bel; these are quite effective in keeping us from swearing at the state of the country for as long as we are licking mashed bel from a stick or biting on an amra. Jamrul and latkan are also part of the package of summer fruits with their unique watery flavours.
Summer fruits in Bangladesh are gifts of Mother Nature that are perhaps one of those only things that make this season bearable. However, fruits are being increasingly dosed with harmful chemicals in order to ripen them faster. So, before stocking up on fruits this summer make sure you pick fresh, unadulterated ones. Happy eating!
By Karishma Ameen
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